Review by so_hai
"Who's The "Boss?""
Sure, this game is a run-and-gun type affair, but it's not so much as what the game is, the originality is in how it does it. And luckily, Alien Soldier innovates on the idea of a 2D shooter by, in essence, de-constructing the usual game devices. Rather than the usual three-level chapter with a final boss confrontation, this game asks you to fight bosses one after the other.
Firstly, I've never seen a better-looking Megadrive game - this thing is polished. The art direction is consistent (and although a little dated), it remains one of it's best qualities. Facing off with the many different bosses will demonstrate the great detail and effort that was put into the characterisations. They're not cardboard cut-out bosses either. They're all quite different and stay fresh throughout the lengthy and exhausting journey.
The game mechanic is quite original too. Instead of the "one-hit-and-you're-dead" mechanism that so many of the games employ, we have a good amount of "Energy", that, when the player collects dropped items, can be re-charged. But not only is your health fractional, so is your weapons' charge. Drain your gun's ammo or meter and you'll have to switch to another, or hunt for a replacement.
Speaking of fire-power, the player can select four from a choice of six weapon styles. Essentially, your genetically engineered protagonist carries four guns. You can switch at any time (with a pretty annoying in-game real-time sub-menu system) to any of your weapons. In fact, this will become essential, as each gun has it's own supply of charge, and overcharging the gun sends Epsilon-Eagle to, well, the high-score screen really. (Yes, you've only one life!).
This title really is for the hardcore crowd. I can't imagine too many beginners getting much enjoyment out of this title - it is pretty ruthless in it's attacks on your player. That, coupled with the very well done collision-detection means that most mistakes are your own. It requires pretty quick reflexes too, with enemies not pausing to accept your fire all that often. Rather, they spawn or scroll on-screen with you already in their targets.
Anyway, this game really is a run-and-gun stand-out, and the continuity throughout the game (one long level filled with many mini-bosses) is either something to embrace or resent. It is more of an interesting game to consider than it might be to play. As I typically dislike boss-fights, I rarely stick with this game for very long. But anyone who likes being the underdog, or who likes taking down some ugly and violent aliens should a good time.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 04/17/08
Game Release: Alien Soldier (EU, 11/02/07)
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