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Solar Winds
Solar Winds.png
Developer(s) Epic Megagames
Publisher(s) Epic Megagames
Platform(s) PC MS-DOS
Release date(s) 1993
Genre(s) Action
Mode(s) Single player
Rating(s) Not ESRB rated.
Media Floppy disc
System requirements Intel 386 Processor, 4MB RAM
Input methods Keyboard, Mouse

Solar Winds I & II were top down, space-based action games released in the early-1990s.

In Solar Winds, you are Jake Stone, a bounty hunter who, through several missions, uncovers a secret coalition between the government of your home solar system and a race of unidentified aliens. Upon further investigation, you find out that, in fact, there is more than one solar system involved… And what is really happening is that three easily-provoked races are being held by a more technologically advanced race in a small cluster of solar systems, and kept there by a force field around them. Hyperdrive technology has been sabotaged, and the 'keys', jump points between solar systems, kept secret.

In the second game, Solar Winds II, you are Jake Stone, again, and now you are in a zoo. Seven systems have been set up by members of the same race that rescued you and each system contains a species. They are monitored and pushed and prodded, and through a series of jobs that take you from one system to another you are contacted by the same resistors that rescued you previously. They help smuggle you outside of the barriers where you destroy the controller and free all the captive races.

Gameplay

The focus is always on your small ship. You have a number of weapons; a laser that can fire rapid shots of 1, 2, or 3 bursts (the more bursts, the slower), and several types of missiles that can track enemy ships (or your own if you get in the way).

The story is linear, and there is little room for exploration.

You gain power to add to your shields (as well as a pool for your hyperdrive), by destroying enemy ships. The more power you put into a shield, weapon, or drive system, the more powerful or faster it will be. The only way to lose power is to be hit by weapons fire or to use your Hyperdrive, which slowly depletes your reserves. It's possible to play both games without ever once taking a hit from the enemy.

Combat is just as simple as the rest of the game; spin and evade enemy fire while letting loose in return. Enemy hull damage and shield status can both be monitored in War Mode.

You have limited conversation branches with characters in the game, but with few exceptions, all conversations must proceed in the same direction, regardless of what you say.

Criticisms

There were a number of bugs in the game, including graphical errors that prevented you from damaging certain enemy ships when in the right spot on the screen, and a bug that allowed enemy vessels to damage your hull without damaging your shields. Best practice in Solar Winds I and II was to not be hit by enemy fire at all. Another bug was a speed bug - rapidly increasing power while at Hyperwarp could cause your ship to move impossibly fast (beyond the normal max speed for a full hyperdrive), and as you ran out of power, your speed would not slow.

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