[Dreamcast] Pier Solar

  • Pier Solar and The Great Architects
  • Dreamcast
  • 2015
  • Traditional J-RPG

Pier Solar (sometimes referred to as Pier Solar HD) is an enhanced remake of Pier Solar for the Megadrive. The original game was a Kickstarter funded project, eventually released in 2010. The Dreamcast, Linux, Windows, Wii, PS3 and PS4 remake added high-resolution, high-colour depth graphics (640×480 in the case of the Dreamcast), expanded soundtrack, added in extra story segments that were cut from the Megadrive release, and generally polished a lot of the content.

It's a traditional J-RPG game; text-driven story sections, interspersed by top-down map/town navigation and turn-based battles.


The graphics are a mixture of styles; clearly most of the sprites have the most resemblance to their original 16bit versions on the Megadrive, but the backgrounds are much higher resolution and colour depth. The character portraits in dialogue boxes are higher resolution than the Megadrive and are also in a hand-drawn style, much like the animated sequences. It sounds as if the various styles would clash, but it meshes together nicely; especially the 16bit sprites on top of the newer, higher resolution backgrounds. In addition, you can switch back and forth to the original Megadrive artwork in its entirety via the in-game option screen (example below).


The HD remake has high quality background music playing for most sections of the game, but you can also revert to the Megadrive style FM music at any time if you wish. Some status type music (e.g. “ambushed!” or battle success fanfare) are always short FM-style tunes. Sound effects for collecting items, opening doors, casting spells etc are all as you would expect them.


It's typical top-down JRPG-fare; limited save points (ARRGH!!! There's no reason for this in a modern game!!!), sections in towns where you speak to NPC's, buy/sell items and advance the story, then sections of gameplay where you explore forests, dungeons, caves, etc, and fight in random, turn-based battles. As was common on many early RPG's, you don't get to see the enemies you are about to fight - so there's no way to avoid them. Fortunately the random encounter rate can be adjusted to more-or-less frequent via the in-game menu.

Combat has a relatively small range of options - but all of the ones you would expect; attack, magic, defend, use items. But, there is an additional option where you can opt to charge up instead of attacking or defending, leaving you more at risk, but with bonuses to attack and defence in the subsequent round(s).

Player characters get to equip armour (which provides defence boosts), a weapon (which may or may not have status effects on hit) and one accessory which can have effects ranging from negating certain types of damage to providing free counter-attacks whilst defending. All standard RPG fare. Some weapons and armour can only be equipped by certain characters.

In addition, not all weapon types can hit all enemies; flying enemies cannot be hit by a sword, for example - so it's handy that the second of your player characters is a ranged weapon/magic user.


Early game dialogue and one of the first battles in the forest area:

Comparison of the 16bit original graphics mode and the new HD remade visuals:

Battling the first encountered boss, during the Cave section:

  • blog/video_captures_dc_pier_solar.txt
  • Last modified: 2021/04/12 12:39
  • by john