by Crystal Dynamics
The sequel to the intense polygon shooter Total Eclipse puts you in the pilot's seat of a fast-moving. 3-D alien shooter. In Solar Eclipse, you are attempting to defeat countless enemies that are trying to get a strong foothold on the territory you are sworn to protect. Using your choice of cockpit or chase plane view, you scavenge the texture-mapped landscape in search of evil forces to eliminate.
While the graphics easily put the ones seen in Total Eclipse to shame, they are still blocky and highly pixe-lated. This is the compromise for the extreme game speed that allows your ship to rocket through the stages with the throttle set at nosebleed. When moving this fast, you get a sense of tunnel vision where you only stare at an approximate four-inch circle in the center of the screen as the sides blur by. This was probably the sole reason the pro-grammers decided not to waste time and resources with astounding graphcs that would go unnoticed on the side of your ship.
The selection of weapon power-ups include heatseeking missiles and power blasts that follow the flight direction of your ship. The massive kill-all weapon is a volley of 20 missiles that evenly divide themselves among all the enemies on the screen. These tracking missiles seek out and destroy everything in their path. Along with enemies, obstacles also block your way. You have to do some sophisticated flying to keep your ship from being damaged by the moving debris. The left and right buttons control your ship's roll and are used far more often than in Total Eclipse to avoid the variety of obstacles. Break-away barriers that block your path usually conceal giant metal spikes that lunge out at your ship right before you reach them. So after shooting the barrier, quickly roll to the opening in the obstacle and squeeze your way through.
The best addition to Solar Eclipse is the availability of multiple paths where you can select where you want your ship to go. Do not misinterpret Solar Eclipse as a free-roaming 3-D shooter. It still controls the general direction of your ship's flight path. You do, however, have a decent-sized area to move around in and explore on the sides of your ship that is large enough to still let you feel unrestricted while you fly.
Solar Eclipse is a joy to watch and play. The only problem is that there is a little slowdown that hits when there is a screen full of enemies attacking your ship, but that may be cleared up before the final release. This slowdown is just another way to point out the extreme amount of enemies that flock on the screen at one time. Boredom is not a consideration when there are so many fun things that line up to be shot. There is no doubt: this game is merciless.
The stand-alone graphics in Solar Eclipse are not impressive at first look, but quickly dissipate after you jump into the cockpit and start targeting enemy spacecraft. Solar Eclipse is a prime example of your first impression not necessarily being the right one. If you are seeking a fast-moving 3-D shooter with tons of enemies and challenging levels and can overlook the graphic flaws. Solar Eclipse will give you hours of enjoyment.
The Bosses are very tough and some fancy flying is needed to avoid their powerful attacks. The best way to eliminate them is to save ail of your special weapons (nuke volleys), then fire repeated bursts until you run out This will lower their energy substantially and let you finish them by using your standard guns. Be sure not to sit in one place and hold the fire button. Their missiles and lasers will seek you there and shred your ship in no time. Stay on your toes.
PUBLISHER - Crystal Dynamics
DIFFICULTY - Moderate
THEME - Shooter
NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1
If you thought Total Eclipse was a poor game, I'd agree with you. The sequel, however, has quite a bit more going for it. First, the gameplay is actually fast-paced and exciting. There is actually technique to use when dodging enemies and obstacles. The graphics may not be the most spectacular, but they get the job done. There are a lot of nice little details. The power-ups are really intense, but they do get distracting. This ranks among the best for the Saturn.
Solar Eclipse may look like its predecessor at first glance, but after playing through the first level, you will realize that there have been numerous enhancements added to the game, making it so these two titles can't even be put in the same category. Seamlessly drawn, texture-mapped backgrounds; cleaner graphics; tighter control; improved enemy Al and a new cockpit view make Solar Eclipse well worth your time. I suggest checking this game out.
Solar Eclipse is definitely a step up from its predecessor, Total Eclipse. The graphics aren't mind-blowing, but far from being poor. Unlike Total Eclipse, there is now an actual strategy for dodging the enemies' fire. The game is not as linear either, offering the gamer freedom to choose different catacombs and tunnels to fly through (even the caverns have differing difficulty). Fans of Total Eclipse or Saturn owners looking for a good shooter should check out Solar Eclipse.
We have all watched this style of game come a long way from Total Eclipse, which was released before its time. This version has good graphics, sharp control and many action-intensive levels (including tons of secret codes and levels). The most notable feature to look out for when considering this purchase is that it is hard. Only with hours of practice (or by cheating) will anyone even have a chance to see any of the later levels. No dust gathering on this one.
If you like Solar Eclipse, try other games: Sky Target.
2016-09-20 Solar Eclipse game added.