The Psycho Soldier Page/FAQ

by Carl Chavez (
Based on information provided by Dick Millikan.
Last updated 3 March 2000.

3 March 2000: I finally got around to correcting thesong lyrics to "her crystal is the answer". I won't givecredit to any one person, since hundreds of people (including myself) have reminded me to fix it...:-) I also addedsome gameplay tips, but not much.

26 March 1999: MAME now emulates Psycho Soldier. ROMs will not be available on this site.

30 July 1998: The original game's theme music (with vocals) is now available in MP3 format. The vocals are scratchy; sorry, but that's the way they were originally recorded!

What is Psycho Soldier?
JAMMA pinout description
DIP switch settings
Sound test values



Psycho Soldier is a 1986 release by SNK. It 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.

What makes Psycho Soldier so cool?

As far as I know, Psycho Soldier was the first game to feature vocals for its in-game music. To do this, SNK put the game on one of the largest JAMMA boards I've seen for its time: three boards connected together, containing several dozen EPROMs which contain the sound data, graphics, and program.

There are also interesting powerups in the game. You can collect orbs, which can protect you from some enemies and also act as a secondary weapon. You can collect shot power-ups, which will help you destroy enemies faster. You can collect items which change your enemy's form, speed up the orbs revolving around you, drain you of energy, and more! See Gameplay.


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

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 a Phoenix
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. 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.

The various power up/down capsules and items