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 Post subject: GD: Soldier Force Mechanics and Secrets
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2020 5:37 am 


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Joined: 24 Sep 2008
Posts: 732
Over the past few days I have been absolutely devouring Soldier Force and managed to clear with TLB as well, I found a LOT of stuff and a good amount of it has never been talked about on this forum, for now this will be a general info dump and I will come back to tidy it up and add pictures whenever convenient, along with adding to various sections as more secrets are uncovered.

Playable Characters

CAESAR: A well rounded character with good speed and a 5-way shot at max power. Very middle of the road but could work for some as the standard Star Soldier ship.

NOAH: A little slower but has a controllable pair of side fire she can control and move in reverse to her up/down movement when fire isn't being pressed. Noah is actually kind of privileged in this game, when the other ships get hit, they weaken to forward/backwards only shots and no side firing capabilities but Noah gets to retain her side fire but at the cost of slower firing and more limited fire on screen at once. She is actually a very good character to play for survival, so if you are considering trying to get far into the Nightmare mode/loop, she is one to consider.

FINAL STAR SS: A fun ship, but also a very hard and technical ship. It has better speed capabilities than the other ships and has a detachable pod at max power it can place in a fixed location or can send it out left/right spaced from Final Star to match it's movement from a distance with a two-pronged attack. Final Star only shoots forward in a straight line unless it has it's pod attached to the ship where then it can fire in a cone, but the ship loses it's top speed in this form. Learning how to use it's pod is the life essence of succeeding with it, but this is hard because if this ship ever gets hit it has no pod to use until it is fully powered up again. This is a ship that is for masters only.

GOLDEN HUMMING: Anyone who has played this game knows how powerful this thing is. It is designed similarly to Caesar's ship and serves as the powerhouse of the game, featuring piercing lasers which gives it unique damage capabilities the other ships lack. It's a very good ship that will be the go-to for a lot of people especially those interested in score.


Controls

There are 4 buttons to use: Fire, SoldierTrip, Change, Dock/Purge.

Fire is obviously what you hold to keep firing as fast as possible.

SoldierTrip is this game's hyper/recovery tool and does one of two things:
*If you are at low power with no shields, this will bring you to full power with three stacks of shields and about a second of invincibility. Combined with strategic use of shield purging, you can use the invul between the two to get yourself out of some really sticky situations.
*If you have shields at the current moment, you will have a temporary shot powerup that turns enemies into bits of gold. It raises rank a bit when you do this, so unless you're aiming for a new record score, you might want to use SoldierTrip only as a recovery tool.

The Change button is what lets you change between equipped weapons if you have any secret weapons in stock. Dock/Purge is a 4th button only used for Final Star SS at max power for it's pod.


Game Mechanics

FIRST THINGS FIRST, it is recommend to play with Trap Zone turned off in the options when starting off. It is a weird mechanic where you can hide under parts of the background but unable to fire while hiding and something that might be undesired for brand new players. Trap Zone on and Trap Zone off runs should be in separate categories due to the differing strategies involved. Hitbox Size Small/Original is an option in the options menu, but the game defaults to Small so I would advise not switching to Original because the game is already hard enough as is.

Trap Zone: This is a mechanic borrowed from Star Soldier on NES, you can fly under some portions of stages with land to be invincible from all fire and attacks but you cannot shoot while hiding. You simply have to enter a structure from the bottom to activate this mechanic, if you enter it sideways or from behind you will never fly under any pieces of land. There are some Powerup panels that can only be uncovered with Trap Zone on, but having this on means more difficulty reaching certain secrets because of the size of some land structures. It takes a while to get a good grip on this mechanic and turning it off might be recommended until you learn the stage layouts.

Powerups: You start off very slow with limited fire and a pea shooter, earn a speed up after picking up one powerup, get a secondary fire upgrade with a 2nd powerup, and reach max power and extra spread/rate of fire/extra pod with a 3rd powerup. Picking up a 3rd powerup will also give you a stack of shields that can take three hits determinable by the circular bubbles. Their color indicates current damage, with red meaning you are 1 hit away from losing a shield. Hitting physical objects like flying enemies or the silver balls that Star Brains shoot will immediately destroy all stacks of shield you have. The odd thing about this game is that you will power down if hit and lose a shield, but you can't power back up to full power again until you pick up a powerup or use SoldierTrip after your shields are fully depleted. You have one brief moment of invincibility after your last shield is depleted. If you pick up a powerup when you have active shields, it will destroy all enemies on screen at that moment and reset your wave destruction bonus to 0. Picking these up when you have no shields up preserves the wave destruction bonus and gives a brief moment of invincibilty, so for survival it will help to get you back to full power or clear some enemies on screen. As a scoring tool however, you will need to avoid powerups except to power up to max power after all shields have been dropped.

Uncovering a powerup when there is already a powerup on screen despawns the previous powerup, so be careful when building up power after a checkpoint respawn to not gimp yourself if possible. They will float downward and left/right slowly when shot out of a container, depending on your situation it might be better to wait before shooting it so it can come lower to the screen sooner before the container is destroyed. While a powerup floats around, it will block your bullets as well as enemy bullets, so in later loops you might be able to use it as a shield against enemies such as a Jericho which is the red floating eye enemy pair that shoot a mass of bullets when on screen for long enough.

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 when it comes to destruction bonus. This will cap at 10000 points per wave. If you pick up a powerup when you have shields currently, it will destroy all enemies on screen at that moment and reset your wave destruction bonus. Picking these up when you have no shields up preserves the wave destruction bonus, so for survival it will help to clear enemies more. As a scoring tool however, you will need to avoid this except to power up to max power after all shields have been dropped.

Star Brains and Timeouts: Star brains appear at the end of each stage for a quick battle, Big Star Brains appear at the end of every 4th stage. Big Star Brains require their turrets to be destroyed before the core can be damaged. You can timeout a boss once each, if you do this permanent rank increases quite a bit and you go back to checkpoint B of the stage you are currently playing. Do this too many times, and the game could very well become a nightmare before getting to the Nightmare loop...

Extends: You can get five extends through score at 200K, 500K, 1M, 2.5M, and 5M points.


Secrets
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. A lot of this involves shooting at spots in stages that hide invisible tiles or icons until they are shot enough and then collected. This will obviously take some time to fully detail out, but for now here are many of the secrets along the way, most will be uncovered by being shot enough times.

Zeg
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These are little Z blocks that grant exponential points per number uncovered per stage, in 500, 1000, 4000, 10000, 40000, 80000 points. Some levels actually have more than 6 Zegs so you can get 80K bonuses multiple times.

Lazarus Bonus
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Every so often you will see a warning pop up for a head-shaped enemy that enters the screen through four corner pieces and them 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
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These are tiles with the letter P and 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. Very strange thing to put into the game.

Delilah Bonus
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Many times you will see a pair of eyeballs you can shoot that will close more based on their damage intake. Destroying at least two of these in a very small window of time as each another will grant a Delilah bonus worth 80000 points each time.

Secret Bonus!! Icons
Image Image Image
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, but it's too hard to say for which icons require an even or odd number as there are many in the game. They are generally easy to unlock as long as you destroy enemies while shooting at them.

Secret Weapon Laser
Image
In stage 6, there are 4 circles in a square formation center screen shortly before the end stage Delilahs. You need to hit this space several times with your shot AND MAKE SURE that you are also mashing the key/button you have assigned to Change. Change will not be doing anything if you're on defaults at the start of the game, but you need to mash Change several times while holding fire and you'll see a Laser panel appear if you did enough damage. You will get 40000 points and you will have the laser equipped for the rest of the run which you can now press 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 on stage 24 which is useful if you're starting only on the nightmare stages, it is on the right in a big mass of land shortly before the end stage Delilahs.
Code:
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)
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This is the fabled 8-way shot that was never documented for so many years when the secret was right under all of our noses the entire time. The Golden Finger(GF) is unlocked the same way you unlock the Laser: Shoot at the tile it is hidden on and hold fire, then mash the Change button. GF is different than the Laser though in that if you die, you will lose GF. To counteract this, there are several stages in the game where a GF can be picked up:
Code:
*Stage 3:  On the 2nd land structure in the background, 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 save your butt after being powered down, but don't rely on this too much.

Warp Panel
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These are W Panels that can ONLY be uncovered if you are shooting at them while the 1000s digit and the 100s digit in your score are the same number. You can warp through quite a large part of the game if you want to try your hand at the later stages more frequently. 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
Image
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
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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
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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.

Cheat Codes: Believe it or not, this game actually has cheat codes. Type these cheat codes in on your keyboard on the listed locations to unlock the listed effect. You will hear a chime or noise if you typed out the cheat correctly, don't go too fast and take your time.

Code:
SESUJIGAKOORITSUKU--> Nightmare Mode unlocked (input at title/press start screen only) - 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.

Code:
YOKUBARINAANATAHE--> Start with both special weapons (input at main menu) - This is the only way to start with GF 8-Way shot.


Both of these cheat codes do the same thing, reason being is that in 1.0, Caesar and Noah were the only two playable characters and this is how you specifically chose which one to be invincible with. In 1.20 they were tweaked due to the two newer characters added, so you still have to highlight one of the characters and input the correct code and then you can pick any character afterward to get the invincibility effect. Playing a whole run through will save any high score you make, but any replay you try to save with a run that had these cheats active will corrupt when you check it again in your replays section.

Code:
NOAHCHOUMUTEKI while highlighting Noah (highlight Noah on select screen, invincibility for whoever you pick after)

CAESARCHOUMUTEKI while highlighting Caesar (highlight Caesar on select screen, invincibility for whoever you pick after)



TO-DO
Need to add more pictures of icons and screenshots of specific locations.
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Last edited by Emuser on Sun Jul 12, 2020 2:50 am, edited 24 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: GD: Soldier Force Mechanics and Secrets
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2020 1:40 am 


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Joined: 24 Sep 2008
Posts: 732
The following table covers all secret/hidden panels in each stage, this only breaks down items you have to shoot to reveal and does not take into account bonuses like Delilahs or Treaudos. For now this is only a text table until I figure out the best way to include pictures of locations.

Order of items per stage reads top to bottom, if two items can be found at or nearly at the same time, it will look like this: 'item 1 + item 2'. Dotted lines like ---------- indicate the middle portion of the stage dividing A and B areas of each stage which is always seen through a gap of space with no land for some time in the middle of each stage. Golden Finger is written as GF to not waste space. Powerup Panels cannot be uncovered when playing with Trap Zone Off. At this point I am 100% sure that all the secrets have been found.


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