Review by KasketDarkfyre
"Just eat it..."
Sega has come up with some of the best side scrolling games on the market for the Arcade that have ranged from the realistic to the absurdly insane. Alien Storm borders on those two points by a very fine line that incorporates both side scrolling beat 'em up action along with some first person shooting mayhem. The story is set in the distant future, in which aliens have come to Earth and begun the systematic extermination of all human life. The story is essentially the same as what you would find in any other action arcade game of the time period.
With Alien Storm, you have three characters to choose from that call themselves Alien Busters that go along the line of male, female and a wild looking robot. The best thing about Alien Storm is that you can either play it with a friend, or by yourself and the only difference is, is that the game takes on a slightly heavier challenge level! With that being said, the different styles of action featured here include the basic side scrolling through various environments in which you can pound aliens into mush, and a first person shooter that you are forced to play when going through some of the buildings scattered throughout the game.
Your typical beat 'em up with three characters to choose from that all have a variety of different moves and special moves. Through this, you'll smash, punch, kick and blow up everything in your path in attempt to get through a number of stages and you'll be drawn into a first person world in which you eradicate aliens from different settings. With two players, the challenge grows a little tougher with the amount of aliens on screen increasing. Be prepared to see some pretty twisted things happen to your fellow man as they are eaten whole!
Alien Storm really doesn’t offer much more than what you would have found in the arcade machine, other than some of the same difficulty that you might find with home based versions of this game. Making the game as hard as it can be, when you play with two players, you’ll find that the enemies are slightly tougher to deal with and they can get on your nerves! With the amount of game play options that could have been available, you’ll find that the game doesn’t offer you much more than a one time through with each of the characters, and then after that, it is more or less shelf filler to collect. If you’re looking for an action game that offers you plenty of extras and more secrets to unlock, then you’re looking in the wrong direction, Alien Storm is straight up beating action to the extreme with no frills thrown in.
Smooth and precise, you'll find that the combinations are easy to learn, and the control is easy enough to maneuver around with. The first person portion of the game allows you to hold down the firing button and simply drift the cross hair around the screen in an attempt to hit and destroy everything around you! Outside of that, the control is pretty straightforward and even a novice gamer can get the hang of it in mere minutes. Some of the more difficult movements come with the different attacks that you can perform through the stages and in different situations.
While the game is precise in how it moves and operates the actual action can get a little hairy, and if you’re not prepared to whip out some combinations and keep away moves, then you’re in for a world of hurt. Something that some gamers may find is that the three button control is a little stiff to work with when trying to go from enemy to enemy. The only advice here is to try and keep moving and try to keep out of the reach of anything that looks dangerous and is willing to hurt you.
The visuals of the game are rather clean and the sprites move at a fast rate. The different stages offer environments that range from a destroyed city to the inside of a giant alien ship. Movement in the background is a nil, but the action going on in the foreground will deter you away from noticing that. Different aliens will appear on screen in a variety of gross looking forms and the body explosions are awesome to see! A couple of problems that do appear when in the later stages is that with the larger enemies, you have instances of image break up. This can something of a pain when you’re faced off against a boss and your character blinks out because there is too much on the screen all at once. Older arcade games are known to do this with action games that feature too much interaction on the screen all at once.
The audio is a techno-based soundtrack that gives plenty of fast rifts and some sense of urgency after a few stages. It really doesn't variate from the theme of action and it's pleasant to the ears if the volume is set at the right level. Sound effects range from laser blasts to explosions to people screaming when they're being eaten alive! Even though there isn’t much there in this aspect, it’ll more remind you of the early Streets of Rage games that offered just enough audio to keep your interest and keep you grooving through the game. If you’re overly critical about game music, then you’re really going to have some complaining to do, because there isn’t much here for the ears.
Alien Storm is an above average game that did well for its time. Even though it is a dated game and its appearance seems to revolve more or less for the screens of people being eaten whole by huge alien blobs, Alien Storm does offer up some pretty solid action platforms that will whet the whistle of any action game fan. Best left to those gamers who happen to like straightforward beat ‘em up games that offer just enough action to keep your interest, anyone else would probably do well to look into the Final Fight series first!
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 09/27/01, Updated 08/06/03
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