Star Soldier is a 1986 NES shoot 'em up from Hudson Soft that was in part inspired by Star Force, an early Arcade shoot 'em up from Tecmo that was developed for home consoles by Hudson. As such, while Star Soldier is the first official game in the series, Star Force is often considered to be the precursor.
The Star Soldier games were developed primarily for an annual competition Hudson hosted, the Hudson All-Japan Caravan Festival, in which players across Japan could compete for the highest score on a single game. The games were almost always a vertical-scrolling shooter, Star Force being the first to be used in the competition, and Hudson created new ones every year while the event ran. For this reason, Hudson created new shoot 'em up games between 1986 (the release of the original Star Soldier) to 1992 (the release of Super Star Soldier). Four of these were part of the Star Soldier series.
Games in the Series
Star Soldier was released on the NES and MSX in 1986. It was later rereleased on modern systems in retro-focused platforms like the Wii's Virtual Console and PSN.
Super Star Soldier was released exclusively on the TurboGrafx-16 in 1990. It was followed by Final Soldier in 1991 and Soldier Blade in 1992, also exclusively for the TurboGrafx-16 (though Final Soldier never left Japan) and were the last three games of the Hudson Caravan event.
Hudson revisited the Star Soldier franchise in 1995 with Star Parodier, a Parodius-like take on the franchise. Star Soldier: Vanishing Earth came out in 1998 for the N64 and adopted an angled top-down view that better accentuated the game's 3D polygons. In 2003, Hudson rebooted its more famous 16-bit franchises for the GameCube and PS2, including Star Soldier (which also saw a PSP port). Finally, Hudson (now part of Konami) resurrected Star Soldier one last time for the WiiWare Star Soldier R.
Hudson also produced Starship Hector (1987) and Blazing Lazers (1989), two shoot 'em ups heavily influenced by their Star Soldier games.