Soldier Force (ソルジャーフォース) is a PC game developed and released by Studio Siesta which is a tribute to games like Star Soldier and other similar Caravan games. The game is largely structured around the mechanics of Star Soldier, even bringing back the Trap Zone mechanic which lets players fly under structures to avoid enemy fire while invincible at the cost of being unable to fire while hiding. The game features a modern re-imagining of the 16 stages of Star Soldier plus 16 additional stages inspired by other games in the franchise. It is most notable for the number of musical remixes featured from multiple games such as Star Force, Star Soldier, Super Star Soldier, Final Soldier, and Soldier Blade.
Soldier Force was released in 2006 but quickly discontinued after release due to alleged legal problems with Hudson Soft.
Soldier Force is a 4 button game, but only one of the four ships uses the 4th button.
- Fire: Button held to fire continuously with your currently selected weapon.
- SoldierTrip: Activates SoldierTrip if the SoldierTrip bar is full, the effect dependent on whether or not the player has shields in stock currently. Destroying enemies will slowly fill the SoldierTrip bar over time.
- If no shields are active, using SoldierTrip will bring your ship to maximum power and give the player a full stack of shields.
- If shields are currently surrounding the ship, this will activate a temporary hyper mode where each destroyed enemy will drop gold.
- Change: Used to switch between weapons if you have any secret weapons in your possession.
- Dock/Undock: Used only for Final Star SS. At max power you can use this to send out the extra pod or return the pod to the ship.
The Set-up Menu also contains a few gameplay options that can be adjusted:
- Trap Zone: This can be toggled on or off, if set to on the player can fly under land structures by entering them from the bottom and a flat enough opening. The player ship is invincible while covered but cannot fire. If set to off, the player cannot fly under any land structures. New players would be advised to play with Trap Zone off if they do not like this mechanic, as it will also help find secrets more easily without being restricted on firing.
- Secret Weapon Start: This option lets you start with a laser secret weapon if turned on.
- Fighter Hit: Original is the size of the ship hitbox from 1.00, while Small is the default in 1.20 and features a smaller hitbox for the player ships.
Caesar: A well rounded character with good speed and a 5-way shot at max power. Crafted around the standard Star Soldier ship.
Noah: A character built around the ship featured in Hector 87. It is slower than other ships but has a controllable pair of side shots she can control and move in reverse to her up/down movement when fire isn't being held. Noah is the only character who gets to retain side fire if she loses max power at the cost of slower firing and more limited fire on screen at once. This makes her a very good character to play for survival, so is a good consideration for anyone trying to get far into the Nightmare mode/loop.
Final Star SS: Based on the ship featured in Star Force, a very technical ship with the highest speed abilities. It has a detachable pod at max power that can be placed in a fixed location or out left/right spaced from Final Star SS to match the ship's movement from a distance with a two-pronged attack. Final Star only shoots forward in a straight line unless it has the pod attached to the ship where it then fires in a cone, but the ship loses it's top speed in this form. Learning how to use the pod is essential to victory with this ship, but is difficult due to losing the pod if it ever gets damaged. This is a ship geared for masters.
Golden Humming: This ship is crafted around the Star Soldier ship at maximum power, serving as a powerhouse with special piercing lasers none of the other ships possess. It is widely the most used ship due to it's piercing shot attributes and lack of major flaws, but can have some serious recovery issues after death due to the strict shot limit when powered down.
When starting off, the only weapon available will be the default weapon assigned to the ship chosen. If the player can uncover hidden secrets throughout the game however, they can use additional weapons.
Laser: A forward-firing thin laser which packs a good punch.
Golden Finger: An 8-Way shot with a limited fire rate. Good for saving weakened ships that are not at full power. Dying causes the player to lose the Golden Finger.
Powerups: Every ship starts off very slow with limited fire and a pea shooter, earns a speed up after picking up one powerup, gets a secondary fire upgrade with a 2nd powerup, and reaches max power and extra spread/rate of fire/extra pod with a 3rd powerup. Picking up a 3rd powerup will also give a stack of shields that can take three hits determinable by circular bubbles that surround the ship. Their color indicates current damage, with red meaning shields are 1 hit away from breaking. Hitting physical objects like flying enemies or the silver balls that Star Brains shoot will immediately destroy all stacks of shield. Powerups are uncovered by shooting containers laid across various areas of each stage and zig zag slowly to the bottom of the screen once revealed. Powerups will block both your shots and enemy bullets, so in later stages it can be used as a form of protection briefly. Similarly to Star Soldier, picking up a powerup with shields will not increase your power if you are powered down but will instead destroy all active enemies on screen and reduce your destruction bonus to 0. Only if a powerup is collected with no shields active will the ship return to full power. For this reason, powerups are good survival tools but often avoided when it comes to score chasing.
Rank exists in temporary and permanent fashions.
- Temporary Rank
- If SoldierForce is ever used with shields active, this will raise temporary rank slightly until the player powers down.
- Permanent Rank
- If a player times out a boss, permanent rank increases a bit and the player is reverted to the B checkpoint of the stage. If this is done repeatedly across multiple stages, the game will become noticeably more difficult more quickly.
Playing through Normal Mode's 16 stages(warps ok) will let the player see stage 17 which is the beginning of Nightmare loop. After this stage is reached, Nightmare Mode will unlock in the main menu. There is a True Last Boss that can only be reached by starting on Normal Mode and beating Stage 32 without using any continues.
Extends: You can get five extends through score at 200K, 500K, 1M, 2.5M, and 5M points.
Destruction Bonus: Destroying all enemies of a wave will give a 1000 point bonus followed by 2000, 3000, etc as long as an enemy does not fly away and escape in any waves. Meteors/Falling Stars are not counted towards destruction bonus. This bonus will cap at 10000 points per wave. Collecting a powerup with active shields will destroy all enemies on screen at that moment and reset the wave destruction bonus.
Secret Bonuses: There are many secret Bonuses that will contribute greatly to score. Refer to the strategy section for more information on these secret bonuses.
Soldier Force is excessively crammed with secrets to uncover in all 32 stages the game presents, as is expected from a game taking inspiration from various Star Force and Soldier games. Most hidden secrets require shooting at spots in stages that hide invisible tiles or icons until they are shot enough and then revealed.
Zeg: These are little Z blocks that grant exponential points per number uncovered each stage in 500, 1000, 4000, 10000, 40000, 80000 point amounts. Some levels actually have more than 6 Zegs so you can get 80K bonuses multiple times.
Lazarus Bonus: A warning pop up will show for a head-shaped enemy that enters the screen through four corner pieces and then combines twice to make a whole. When the upper and bottom halfs are in the process of meeting each other, you can shoot in between them and get an easy 80000 for destroying them before the halves combine.
Powerup Tiles: These are only accessible with the Trap Zone option toggled on. Flying under and completely through one of these raises you to full power regardless of your current condition including if you are powered down with shields, otherwise they do nothing if you're already at full power.
Delilah Bonus: All stages will have at least one pair of eyeballs that will close more based on their damage intake. Destroying at least two of these in a very small window of time as each other will grant a Delilah bonus worth 80000 points.
Secret Bonus!! Icons: These are each worth 40000 points and are scattered in various spots across most stages, directly referencing previous Star Force/Soldier games where the same icons would appear. They are uncovered by shooting them if the 1000's digit is even or odd depending on the icon.
Secret Weapon Laser: In stage 6 there are 4 circles in a square formation center screen shortly before the end stage Delilahs. This area needs to be shot several times with shot AND MAKE SURE that you are also mashing the key/button you have assigned to the Change button. Change will not be doing anything if playing default settings at the start of the game, but you need to mash Change several times while holding fire and the Laser panel will appear if enough damage is dealt. 40000 points are rewarded when this panel is uncovered and the laser will be equipped for the rest of the run which can be accessed by pressing Change to switch between your shot and Laser. This is a vital weapon to have as you can double tap Change to get a nice burst damage against troublesome enemies and Brains while still firing your main weapon.
- There is also a 2nd laser that can be uncovered in stage 24 which is useful if the player starts from Nightmare mode. It is on the right side of the stage in a big mass of land shortly before the end stage Delilahs.
- Finishing Nightmare mode or loop(continues allowed) will also toggle the secret weapon start option in the set-up menu.
Secret Weapon Golden Finger(8-Way Shot): The Golden Finger is unlocked the same way as Laser: Shoot at the tile it is hidden on and hold fire, then mash the Change button. Golden Finger is different than the Laser though in that if the player dies, they will lose the weapon. To counteract this, there are several stages in the game where a Golden Finger can be picked up:
- Stage 3: On the 2nd land piece of land at the stage start, focus fire on the right side of the screen
- Stage 11: Hanging mid-air on the left side of the screen after three clusters of Treaudo skulls can be seen in the second half of the stage.
- Stage 17: Piece of land on the right side of the screen about a minute into the stage, shortly before end stage Delilahs.
- Stage 25: Right side of the screen about 2/3 through stage.
- Stage 32: Center of a 6-sided star formation in the middle of the stage, it is right after a lone Delilah that is in the middle of the stage.
Despite this weapon's infamous obscurity, it can be argued that it might be a hindrance to those that don't want to juggle three weapons. It can definitely help to keep the player alive while powered down, but practice may be needed before one is used to juggling multiple weapons and the case can be made that it is not something a player always wants to pick up.
Warp Panel: These are panels that can only be uncovered by shooting at them while the 1000s digit and the 100s digit in the current score are the same number. These are all the warp paths with (W) being the stage where you can find a Warp followed by the stage it takes you to: 1(W)-->4, 5(W)-->8, 9(W)-->12(W)-->15, 18(W)-->21, 26(W)-->29
1up: Even though you can get five extends through score, there are also some 1ups scattered across several levels in the game. You have to uncover these by hitting them enough times while the 1000s digit and the 100s digit in your score add up to 10.
Treaudo Bonus: In some areas you will see small skull tiles with facial expressions as they take damage, and sometimes there will be a lot of them in a stacked line formation of sorts. You will get an 80000 point bonus for destroying all Treaudo enemies in these formations. Note that some formations can "wrap" around the screen from one side to the other and you'll need to destroy everything on both sides of the screen to get the bonus.
Cleopatra: This item only appears once in stage 16 and can be shot for 2 MILLION points. Closer to the end of the stage, you will see one stray Delilah eyeball center screen, on the following ground platform the Cleopatra is hidden in the upper left most light green box that can be hit right before the Treaudo bonus lanes at the end of the stage.
- Clearing normal mode/the first 16 stages of the game will give you access to Nightmare Mode, and finishing stage 32 in either mode will unlock the Secret Weapon Start option in set-up.
- There are also several cheat codes you can input with a keyboard to enable various unlocks and cheats. Type out these codes without holding multiple keys and you should hear a chime upon successful activation. Playing with a cheat enabled will save any scores made, but will not properly save any replays.
SESUJIGAKOORITSUKU--> Nightmare Mode unlock shortcut (input at title/press start screen or main menu)
- This is a code you can enter to unlock Nightmare Mode early without having to play through normal mode.
The following codes below will need to be re-entered each time you return to the main menu.
YOKUBARINAANATAHE--> Start with full power and both special weapons (input at main menu)
- The next run will start you off at full power and both the Laser and Golden Finger Secret Weapons. This is the only way to start with Golden Finger 8-Way shot without finding it in a stage.
Both of these cheat codes do the same thing because in 1.00 Caesar and Noah were the only two playable characters and this is how players specifically chose which one to be invincible with. In 1.20 these codes were tweaked due to the two newer characters added, so players still have to highlight one of these characters and input the correct code and then pick any character afterward to get the invincibility effect.
NOAHCHOUMUTEKI while highlighting Noah
- Invincibility for whoever you pick after.
CAESARCHOUMUTEKI while highlighting Caesar
- Invincibility for whoever you pick after.
- 1.00: Initial Release, no Caravan Mode and Caesar and Noah only as playable characters.
- 1.11: Caravan Mode added
- 1.20: Final Star SS and Golden Humming added as new playable characters.
- While Soldier Force takes heavy inspiration from Hudson Soft's Star Soldier game, Hudson Soft actually had no involvement with the creation of this game and was likely responsible for the game's mysterious disappearance shortly after launch.
- The game does not know how to properly handle boss timeouts in the Nightmare stages. The further a player gets, the more frequently B checkpoints start calling back to incorrect stage numbers. (i.e. Stage 32 boss timeout will show "Stage 16-B Start" when the checkpoint loads)
See (Template Page)/Gallery for our collection of images and scans for the game.