Review by askthemaster
"Classic, Treasure grit."
As far as classic Treasure games go, Alien Soldier is the one with the balls. It has to have balls, and an intent to kick yours, if it starts you out on Superhard difficulty. This game is, unlike Gunstar Heroes, not easy to pick up and play and instead takes a certain degree of know how and practice to be successful in. As a beginner, picking up this game on Supereasy mode (the only other available difficulty), results in certain death on the first boss. But after you learn what's going on, the game opens up and one can have fun pushing this game to it's limit. It's hard and it's not simple, but in many ways it is just as rewarding as Gunstar Heroes.
The game is of the kind that Treasure does best, the sidescrolling platformer shoot'em'up (wow, that's three big words in a row that spellcheck (theres another one) picks up). At the beginning of the game, you are given a choice of six weapons to fill your four available weapon slots. You can have more than one of the same kind, or you can split it evenly between different weapons however you chose. During the game, you have three meters to worry about; your health, your ammo, and your enemies health. A is change weapon, B is fire, and C is jump. This should be simple. However, just going through the first level, beginners will find they are having a very hard time. This is where the depth comes in. Pressing down and C at the same time initiates a dash move that propels you forward over half the length of the screen, avoiding damage. Doing this at full health initiates an extremely powerful dash move that drains a bit of your health. Double tapping B in front of enemy projectiles or small enemies yields health. See the cycle here? For expert play, learning to parry projectiles and use the super dash effectively is key, as is learning how to do it extremely fast and with little provocation. Also, the player can hover in mid air or walk on ceilings. This is not a button masher. Mashing buttons will screw you over even more than you were already screwed, which was pretty big even on easy. And you have to keep a watch on your ammo. Switching guns is difficult at first too. Definitely not a game for the weak hearted.
If you can't get used to the controls and simply can't win, the only remedy is practice. And even if that is frustrating, the sheer amount of action that this game exudes is worth the time it takes to get good at it. Enemies and bosses come at an even quicker rate than Gunstar Heroes, and they are tough Really tough. They require you to bust your ass and use extreme precision and care to take down. Usually the key to victory is putting that super dash to good use, and that's really hard. The graphics are top notch for their time, and they make for a pretty badass alien busting experience. There is a password system so that you can enter the game at whatever level you left off at, but without any health or weapon power ups. To beat this game truly, that is, on hard mode without continuing, you need momentum. And not only that, you need speed, skill, and precision. It's a hard, hard game. But once again, if you want it to be, it's great fun. Expect a virtual console release, definitely.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 03/24/08
Game Release: Alien Soldier (JP, 02/24/95)
Got Your Own Opinion?
You can submit your own review for this game using our Review Submission Form.