Psikyo’s Sol Divide is quite an unusual game, one that blends numerous genres into one. It’s mostly a horizontal shooter, although it has some elements of beat-em-ups, and some light RPG trappings too, especially if you’re playing the home ports.
Sol Divide uses three buttons – one for shooting, one for a close range attack, and one to change what spell is equipped. Each character has their own combo, which are executed by pressing the attack button three times, a direction (which direction changes with the character), and then attack for the final time. It is very important to know combos too, as shooting is relatively ineffective in short range. Enemies are very similar, as some can’t attack at close range, some can’t attack long range, and others have both types of attacks. Since most enemies are bullet sponges, the concentration of melee combat and combos drastically changes the way you’re supposed to play. In turn, your character has a fairly generous life bar, although due to their large size, the short invulnerability period, and the generally tenacious enemies, you can find yourself depleted very quickly.
Pressing both the shoot and melee buttons simultaneously will use magic. There are eleven spells in total, but each character gets a spell only they can use, so really, you only get nine. Fire will send out a burst of flame for several seconds, while Freeze will stop enemies mid-flight, allowing you to get in extra attacks. Thunder, Death, and Meteor will attack everything on the screen, while Slow and Wind can be used to slow down the action, and Heatbody will grant temporarily invincibility. There are also character specific spells: Phoenix for Kason, Nightmare for Vorg, and Summon for Tyora. Certain spells like Fire, Thunder, Slow and Freeze will drain your magic bar, but this can be refilled by hitting with close range attacks. The other spells can only be used once before they disappear and have to be collected again. In addition to spells, enemies will also drop various items to extend your life meter or increase your shot power.
The story involves Ifter, a power hungry emperor trying to take over the world, become a demon, and kill lots of people in the process. There are but three people strong enough to face Ifter and his army.
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