Universal Soldier is a game based on the Turrican II game developed for the Amiga and the Atari ST back in 1991. The game follows a different story though it surprise as with its similarity to the Factor 5' AAA game. The Megadrive version was released in 1992.
STORY / GAMEPLAY Universal Soldier is actually the Sega Megadrive / Genesis version of Turrican II. The story is different (while the gameplay is identical) since it's taken from the cinema movie "Universal Warrior" where Jean Claude Van Damme (featuring an android) initiates a quest to bring down the corrupted government that created him. The gameplay is identical to the Amiga's Turrican 2, offering intense, multi-scrolling run n' gun action with some additional platform pinches. The game's main levels are exactly the same as in Turrican 2 with the only difference being some extra stages. In Universal Soldier, you must gun down your foes, jump on platforms, avoid a variety of traps, collect power ups to upgrade your weapons or increase your energy levels and, most importantly, watch for the clock since each level has a time limit and if this limit ends, you're history! The hero's main weapon can be upgraded in many forms (e.g. a "Multiple" that spreads bullets diagonally or a "bouncing balls" that shoots bouncing projectiles or some more nice weapons like a flamethrower) by smashing or shooting bonus boxes and collecting the necessary coins. There is also a very powerful secondary weapon that can be activated by holding down the fire-button and can shoot in every direction you like. There is also a bomb-like blaster (a limited one) that can blast every enemy around and, finally, you can additionally transform the hero into a moving star-blade that can pass through narrow areas and simultaneously kill enemies. At the end of each level, you have to fight a big boss (and some of them are really big believe me)! So, your objective is to use your firepower and speed, shoot every moving thing down and end the level within the time limit!
GRAPHICS / SOUND Universal Soldier is an excellent piece of action shooter. It's a run n' gun game that offers great, arcade-style visuals (and sound). The game's engine is based on the excellent Amiga Turrican 2, but with some twitches in level designing. The graphics are pretty close to the Amiga but slightly inferior due to the smaller color palette used (this can be seen if, for example, you compare the skies in both versions). The intro music is much different from the original and the in-game scores are nicely converted from the original though they cannot compete with the Amiga's awesome, synthesized scores. The sound FX are identical to the Amiga, blasting the speakers of your TV or sound system!
OVERALL This is an intense and almost flawless game for the Sega Megadrive console. And I expected no less to this, since the base is the Amiga's fantastic Turrican 2. Universal Soldier is a game that will surely make you spend some good hours playing it.
In-game music sample:
Some videos belong to retroshowcase.com (indicated); others not
Amiga (original version)
Megadrive (EU) / Genesis (Jap)
CPU: Motorola 68000 at 7.16 MHz in PAL, 7.67 MHz in NTSC / Secondary Zilog Z80 at 3.55 MHz in PAL, 3.58 MHz in NTSC MEMORY: Main: 64Kb RAM + 8Kb / Video RAM: 64Kb / Audio RAM 8Kb GRAPHICS: VDP Chip: 256x224, 320x224, 256x240, 320x240 / 512 colors (1536 using shadow-highlight mode),64 x 9-bit words of color RAM, 4 lines of 15 colors plus transparent, allowing 61 on-screen colors / Sprites: Up to 64 on-screen, 16/20 per line, 256/320 pixels per line, per-sprite priority / Interlace Mode 1 (no increase in resolution and Mode 2 (2x vertical resolution) SOUND: Main: Yamaha YM2612 @ 7,16MHz with six FM channels, four operators each / Secondary: TI SN76489 with 4-channel PSG + 3 Sq Wave channels.