Review by Genjuro Kibagami
"Past the tentacles and through the intestines."
Just when you thought it was safe to play pinball, aliens have come and warped the simple game into something far more awesome. They've wrapped their slimy tentacles around the troubling pangs of boredom to create a little more flaming excitement and passion for the game. Their hard bodies, acidic drool, and steel-ripping talons have allowed them to burrow deep into the roots of the pinball board, and a nest of gooey abominations has flourished. You'd better watch your back because you're not playing any ordinary pinball game. This is Alien Crush.
Most of the general public will brush this game to the side thinking it's nothing more than a pebble in a sea of long forgotten pinball games that just don't live up to the real arcade feel. But those who are brave enough to grab this HuCard with their oily, greasy fingers will find themselves pawing a 16-bit classic with surprisingly accurate physics. The control is just so tight and responsive for that silver ball shooting into the jaws of aliens and out the intestinal track of another. There's even a tilt command that's fairly believable and truly will bring the pinball fanatics coming. Of course, this control will also help you accomplish the ultimate task: make your score be all that it can be.
The part of Alien Crush that allows you rack up all those points is quite a hefty one. What really will cause everyone to check out Alien Crush, perhaps even enjoy it more than a real pinball machine, is the amazing two screen long, fully animated interactable board that will keep your eyes bugged right out of their sockets in sheer awe. Watch as your silver ball is grabbed by naughty red tentacles only to be pulled into the broken cranium of some dead alien. However, the snarling tentacle monster dwelling within gnaws away at your ball before shooting it out realizing that it's not its favorite snack: humans! Your ball flies across the air and hits the large brain in the corner causing it to fizzle and writhe in pain. Boost your score as you hit away at growling fiends embedded into the walls of the nest. Your score will keep inflating as you smash into two cocoons that blossom into gigantic lobster beasts that scurry about waking up your soon impending doom. A crimson red eye opens, then another, and another until all nine eyes of a humongous alien face are gaping into your very soul. The giant alien greets your company by opening his mouth wide in order to ask for a quick nibble. Use the mighty flippers to lob your ball into it's mouth and you'll find yourself in a magical place.
Before you know it, you'll be transported to one of the game's several mini-games via several hidden wormholes. They're fairly simple, but they also help you inflate your score further without having to worry about losing one of your stocked balls. Plus, these mini-games are a nice distraction from the main pinball board. You'll have to use your ball for several goals such as destroying centipede-like aliens, knocking skulls and squidoids into bottomless pits, or fighting off chubby green ghouls protected by barriers. If you drop your ball, it's back to the normal board for you. If you're going to spend all this time on the same board, you'd better have some thumpin' tunes to get you through it.
During this entire game, you can only choose one of two tracks to play in an infinite loop (except during the mini-games, where it places a real depressing song). Your first choice is Lunar Eclipse, a fast-paced techno-beat tune. The other song, Demon's Undulate, is a more mysterious, sinister and slow song. Personally I don't really like Demon's Undulate as much as Lunar Eclipse because it doesn't put you into good enough mood to go with the lightning fast pinball action. Still, it's a finely done piece of music to go with such a rare breed of pinball games.
Fans of pinball (there must be at least one out there), this is it! Your ship has arrived. Alien Crush is one sweet game with an awesome board you'll love and cool, realistic physics. This awesome package will get your hooked and coming back for more. That is, of course, until you find yourself a copy of Naxat's superior sequel Devil's Crush.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/25/04
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