Over in the land of crispy fried schoolgirl socks and Hello Moggy, this 2D shooter from Psikyo was bundled together with the half-decent Dragon Blaze. This isn’t yet another one of our ‘Europe gets screwed again’ rants though – it turns out we’ve done alright this time round, with various import emporiums charging over £30 for the compilation as opposed to the tenner apiece they retail for over here.
By “alright” we mean only in respect of price, however, as Sol Divide is a real black banana of a game. The problem – if you’ll excuse the bluntness – is that it’s shit. It’s not even a proper shooter, as there are no attack patterns to learn; enemies just appear on the screen seemingly at random, then hover around aimlessly until you’ve killed them. Notice that we used the word ‘kill’ instead of ‘shoot’ there? That’s because it’s far less hassle to destroy enemies using your melee sword or spear attacks than it is to use projectiles. The levels are really short too – although mercifully so in this case.
The sprites and backdrop may be rendered, but it somehow manages to look poorer than Donkey Kong Country on the SNES – the first game to feature the now rarely used graphical trickery. Some of the large bosses – which include hydras and a minotaur – impress in terms of size, but as soon as they start jerking around in their three-frame animated glory, you’ll resume shaking your head in disbelief at the shoddiness of it all.
The only thing of note is that there are a fair few magic attacks to unlock, including thunder, wind and the ability to summon other creatures. Well, that and the fact that each of the three characters have their own story and opening levels, although this is a trait of recent Psikyo shooters and shouldn’t be a bolt from the blue if you’ve played their previous efforts.