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Shock Troopers[a] is a run and gun arcade game developed by Saurus and published by SNK in 1997 for the Neo-Geo arcade and home platform. Gameplay involves taking command of one or three soldiers in an eight-way shooter. A second game in the series, Shock Troopers: 2nd Squad, followed up in 1998.
At the beginning of each session, players choose whether to go through the game in one of two modes, "Lonely Wolf" or "Team Battle". In "Lonely Wolf", one character is controlled throughout the game, while "Team Battle" allows selecting a band of three soldiers through their missions, switching between them on-the-fly. Choosing to go it alone gives a higher starting life total, while proceeding as a team will give a wider variety of special weapons as well as a higher starting total (ten for each of the three characters instead of twenty for one).
At the beginning of the game, there is also a choice to travel through the Mountain, Jungle, or Valley route. Halfway through the game, a different route can optionally be chosen otherwise stay on the current path. Characters and paths chosen determine how much life bonus is received at the beginning of each level. Each stage is interspersed with boss battles (both in the middle and at the end of each stage). Until the very end, battling the enemy commander atop an aircraft.
Each character has their own virtues over other selections. Some might start with higher life totals, while others could move faster. Regardless of choice, the soldiers each possess a unique special weapon or "bomb", which varies in distance and range. Controls consist of an eight-way joystick and four buttons. Players move in eight directions with the joystick and fire, do evasive maneuvers, use their special weapon, and switch characters with the A, B, C, and D buttons, respectively.
Players must progress through seven levels, each ending in a boss fight. The weapons can be fired in all eight directions, but holding down the fire button allows strafing. Attacking within close range of an enemy will yield items, including point bonuses, weapon power-ups, and life. Enemy fire can be avoided with the dodge button. In "Team Battle" mode, the three selected soldiers can be cycled to utilize the traits and special weapons of each.