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3  |  Sol-DUNCE
Darryl B. , 12/8/2005 10:32:10 PM
Gads. THIS was a cd game? What Sega boasted as it's add-on system of the Sega CD (to it's Genesis console) as to having the memory capacity of over 500 Genesis cartridges? Yeah, we could really tell, Sega, especially since this was just a re-release of the Sega Genesis cartridge game that came out a few years before, entitled Sol-Deace.

Confused? Yeah, I didn't play the original until a few years later when I found and rented it at a Hollywood Video -- and here I had thought, after all that time, that the 'd' in that word was just a typo in the Funcoland catalogs -- as all Sega did to the original was improve the sound quality of the music greatly, as the fast cd music is very clear and sounds great through a stereo (with impressive bass, drumming, and cymbals, which the sound of the music on the original was pretty weak), and tacked on a re-done intro (which isn't even very impressive, due to crude and choppy animation) and changed the ending, which I thought the original's was better! I feel sorry for anyone who stood in line for their brand new Sega CD player, shelling out $300-325 for the thing, thinking that Sol-Feace was Deace's sequel when it would turn out to be the exact same game as the Genesis one.

I first encountered this craptactular game when a friend of mine bought the Sega CD when it first came out (which this was originally one of the several changing pack-ins for the console, as Sega kept on changing their mind as to what game[s] should be included with it), which, even though I had never seen anything like that system at the time with the cinematic intros of Sewer Shark and all, I could tell it wasn't that great of a game as I played and got through the first couple of levels of it that morning.

Then years later I got confirmation as to how much Sega could have done with the game, as I was trying to buy some games that I wanted for my newly purchased, used cd player from Funcoland, but they didn't have several of the ones that I wanted, and this one was available, and really cheap, so...

Well, thank GOD it was cheap, and I was able to sell the crappy thing back to them later to be rid of it (or maybe it was some other used game store that took it off my hands).

Basically all this is is it's one of the million scrolling space shooters out there. However, the graphics were pretty incredible (for the original Genesis version, anyway), with vibrant colors and all, having some killer-looking spaceships, lava-type planets, cool-looking bosses, etc. You got power-ups, of course, and all the stages were different, and that's pretty much it, except for one of the final bosses being incredibly hard, as it would, as you pounded away at it, change it's attack patterns on the fly, and since you had no visual or audio warning when it was going to do so, you'd usually end up losing several ships because of being caught off-guard...and because when you died, you would lose whatever power-up you had, and the ship was too difficult to destroy without them, so you had to restart that stage again (which was your best bet). Sheesh...

At least the graphics, controls (you could change the positions of your ships' guns, the better to suit you against bosses and all), sound, and especially re-worked music were great, and the original Genesis version might have earned as high a rating as a 6, but this one? No way in hell, especially with it only having seven levels, one player, no password or any way to skip a level (without using the secrets to do so, I mean) and only a couple of options (it's not really even worth it to continue, since you're stripped of your weapons and no reinforcements arrive until the times they're programmed in). All you've got left is just a dressed-up scrolling shooter, very much like Wings of Wor and Airbuster (especially the way your ship flies by at the end of a wave on the latter) for the Genesis, both of which were better than this game! If there wasn't an original to this game, I *MIGHT* have possibly rated this as high as a 4, but this game isn't anything you couldn't have gotten on the Genesis anyway...especially since it was already on the Genesis! Wowee/BOO!

The game can also be horribly frustrating, plus -- or minus, really -- there's a lot of major slowdowns, which is pathetic, at times portions of graphics will disappear due to onscreen crap/glitches, and not only is there no replay value, there's not much playing value PERIOD, since things are so overwhelmingly against you, and having THE worst ending I'd ever seen for a video game sinks this sucker even further and faster than turning off a bad 1950s b-rated sci-fi flick on your tv (which you're better off in watching than playing this game, since several of those that were made back then were so bad they were actually funny, not to mention actually entertaining).

In conclusion, I expressed my disgust (pretty much like in this review here ;) ) to a friend in regards to how Sega could have improved the hell out of this, like having a two player game, plus another game included that could have mixed possibly the 2D side-scrolling waves with ones that were in the cockpit-viewed way as well, etc. (makes me wish I still had this cd to pop into the computer to see how much memory it took up; with the cinematics and all, I doubt it took up even 20 megs). He said that some games were very difficult to change the code around -- I want to say the term he used for this was "hard wired" code, but being very technically inept, that's probably not right -- yet I find it hard to believe in this case, due to Sega doing new cinematics for the game, with the intro and all.

Sol-Feace marked the beginning of the unimpressive debut, with many more disappointments to follow, of the Sega CD. 3/10

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