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Psycho Soldier

Arcade Video game published 37 years ago by SNK Corp.

Listed in MAME

Psycho Soldier screenshot

Psycho Soldier © 1987 SNK.

Psycho Soldier is a side-scrolling shooter featuring two-player simultaneous play. The major character is a girl named Athena. She fires blasts of psychic energy as her main weapon. She can collect orbs which she can control telepathically. These orbs protect her from some projectiles and can also be launched at targets. The orbs will explode on impact. Her companion, a boy named Kensu, can help her with his own powers. Together they clean up a ruined city full of monsters and mutants.

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Game ID : 'PS'

This game is one of a particular line of SNK machines that operates using three Z80's at 4MHz. Most of the sound effects come from a YM3526 (OPL1) FM chip while most music and all digitized effects (including the complete vocal track) are created by a Y8950 (it is a YM3526 with a 4-channel ADPCM decoder added on). Here is the detail :

Main CPU : (2x) Zilog Z80 (@ 4 Mhz)
Sound CPU : Zilog Z80 (@ 4 Mhz)
Sound Chips : Yamaha YM3526 (@ 4 Mhz), Y8950 (@ 4 Mhz)

Because of its extensive vocal soundtrack, the board is huge. It consists of three PCBs full of ICs all sandwiched together.

Screen orientation : Horizontal
Video resolution : 384 x 224 pixels
Screen refresh : 60.00 Hz
Palette Colors : 1024

Players : 2
Control : 8-way joystick
Buttons : 2


Released in March 1987.

Psycho Soldier was the first-ever video game featuring a vocal soundtrack. The Japanese lyrics for the Psycho Soldier theme is also used as the Psycho Soldier team's team music in KOF94 and 96, as well as Athena's theme music in KOF 97 and 02.

Psycho Soldier's Soundtrack was released as a bonus with the purchase of Nintendo Famicom's Athena. It also included a vocal version of the ending theme.

The main character, Athena, appears in The King of Fighters series. Kensu, wearing a different outfit, appears in The King of Fighters series as 'Sie Kensou'. Kensu, as he appears here in Psycho Soldier, appears as a striker character in "The King of Fighters 2000" as ''Psycho Soldier Kensou''.


The Japanese and US versions have song lyrics in Japanese and English respectively.

Here is the lyrics for the Japanese version :
Psycho Ball ga hikari hanachi -
Athena no sugata terashi dasu no -
Psycho Soldier yami o saite -
Athena wa yume o suki dasu no.
Psycho Power o kokoro ni himete -
Hateshinai michi o hashiru -
Ima wa mo aozora mienai kedo...
Fire! Fire! Psycho Soldier! (x2)
Psycho Soldier ga yami o saite -
Athena wa yume o suki dasu no -
Psycho Beam no kagayaki nokoshi -
Athena wa mirai o motome tabidatsu.
Honoo no yoni moeru hitomi -
Kibo no kakaera o mitsume -
Ima wa moda namida misenai wa!
Fire! Fire! Psycho Soldier! (x2)
Psycho Beam no kagayaki nokoshi -
Athena wa mirai o motome tabidatsu.
Dare hitori shiranai ashita -
Hino tori no sugata karite -
Honoo no yoni moero hitomi -
Kibo no kakarea o mitsume -
Psycho Power o kokoro ni himete -
Hateshinai michi o hashiru -

Here's the english version :
Athena's name is magic -
mystery is what you see -
her crystal is the answer -
fighting fair -
to keep us free -
she's just a little girl with power inside -
burning bright -
you'd better hide if you are bad -
she'll get you -
she'll read your mind and find if -
you believe in right or wrong -
fire, fire psycho soldier.

Lightning flashing column Shooting power increases
Blue ball(s) flashing column provides psycho ball(s) for psycho shooting and defense shield
Red beam flashing column Increases psycho energy
Skull flashing column AVOID. drains your psycho energy (doesn't kill you) Flashing rainbow square - Better jumping response and dexterity
Red Sword break stone with one hit, allows fire through stone and walls
Large blue ball Turns all enemies in psycho balls and their projectiles into balloons
Orange ball with blue center Increases fire speed
Infinity sign Ability increase : ???
Arrow up AVOID. Upgrades enemies into more advanced enemies
Arrow down downgrades enemies
Large red skull AVOID. Takes away all extra powers and leaves you with basic powers
Large red ball with "F" Instant maximum psycho energy
Pillar formations shoot these and a floating balloon or saucer comes out. Grab for bonus points. The longer you wait before grabbing, the higher the point value (up to 8000 points).

* Movement:
Move Athena or Kensu left or right along platforms. Make them move up or down to jump to other platforms. They will not get hurt by long falls.

* Forming Pillars:
Don't walk on them. You'll trip and be vulnerable to attack!

* Attacking with Psycho Bolts:
Press the primary fire button to standard bolts of energy. These can punch through stone as well as through enemies. If you break a stone and it contains a lightning capsule, you can power up your primary attack.

* Using the Psycho Balls:
Sometimes you'll find balls floating on the screen. If you grab them, then they will circle around Athena. By pressing the secondary fire button, you can launch them at your enemies. They can destroy anything in their path short of a boss or some of the later creatures. Your ammo is listed at the bottom of the screen, above your life count. Using psycho balls does drain some energy from Athena. The more energy you have, the more powerful the ball attack is. Psycho balls also act as a limited form of defense. The more energy you have, the faster they revolve around your character. They can block small projectiles and small flying creatures.

* Using the sword:
A sword is hidden in some blocks. When you get a sword, your shots will now pass through stone. You must walk up to a stone and hit it with the sword to break it (use the fire button). The sword lasts for a while (probably a set number of strikes). The sword may also be used against enemies at very close range.

* Becoming the Psycho Creature:
If your energy bar is full and you have collected lots of psycho balls, you should break stones until a green egg pops out. When you break the egg, a special item will appear that changes Athena into a phoenix (Kensu becomes a green dragon). The phoenix has a powerful breath attack and can ram enemies to kill them. The breath attack has no penalty for use, but you use energy whenever you ram an enemy or you get hit by a projectile. If your energy bar is not full, or you don't have enough psycho balls, the egg will release a large number of maggots. Therefore, try not to be close to an egg when you break it. If you're too close, the maggots will swarm you.


1. Athena (1986)
2. Psycho Soldier (1987)
3. Athena - Full Throttle (2006, Mobile Phones)


Nintendo NES: Unreleased prototype.

Sinclair ZX Spectrum (1987)
Commodore C64 (1987)
Amstrad CPC (1988)


Game's ROMs.
Game's screenshots.
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