Review by Riptos
A Game made of pure unadulterated WIN!
This is my first review for anything on this site to date so be gentle as I try to get my points across.
This review is obviously for the 1995 European Release of "Alien Soldier" by Treasure. The company which brought forth other gems over the mid 90's in the shape of Dynamite Headdy and of course Gunstar Heroes. I'm unsure exactly where to start with this as there is so much good stuff to cover in this game.
I proudly owned this title back on my old genesis and still have my copy in the loft somewhere but in the meantime, an emulator works for a good old ROM of the game.
I guess I should start with the Graphics then.
Graphics: 10/10: Absolutely Breathtaking in the times of the genesis, the pixelated backgrounds were immensely detailed. Weapons were very easy to distinguish upon use. Most importantly I would say that the character animation on both the player character "Epsilon" and the bosses were very smooth. With the speed at which the game moves, this couldn't have been a small feat for the graphic designers and I salute them for it.
Sound: 10/10: I dont care what other people in reviews have said about the music being nothing special, I really felt that for the type of game it is an absolutely perfect adrenaline rush of tunes to keep the pace flowing. The style of the music is certainly in Treasure's style as there are very similar tracks in both Gunstar and Dynamite Headdy stylistically. This isnt a bad thing as the soundtrack for those games was fantastic as well. Just the initial track of Runner/2025AD is enough to set the pace for the game. I mean I regularily play it at the moment and I set myself only to play a few bosses but I wind up playing through the whole game as it sucks you into the experience.
Gameplay: 10/10: Absolutely perfect, there is room for a novice player to learn what has to be one of the most fluid control systems in any game on the Genesis. Despite the fact that most players will struggle in the first hour or say and possibly (god forbid) toss it to the side, those who stick with it will be rewarded with what could be described as the closest to man and machine being in synergy that you could be on a Genesis. The weapons are individually unique and add new depth to the gameplay, despite the fact that you cant combine them together like Gunstar, they are universally destructive and have their own situations for use. The simple concept of this game was never really to be a side scroller, that's just something tacked onto the side of it's true purpose. That being to deliver astounding boss fights and this game certainly delivers in buckets in that aspect.
Longevity: 8/10: No game back in these days was perfect shy of something with a good multiplayer function which sadly this game didnt and shouldnt have had. The action is fantastic and will have you blasting through the game a few times before you really give it a rest. There is nothing quite like practicing on some bosses and trying to get them done flawlessly to wow your friends.
Challenge: 10/10: As I said before half the challenge is getting to grips with the control system, the rest is getting used to the bosses and all their different attacks. The "Second Chance" system that the game employs is a real doozy too as you can pull off miracle victories with it. What I mean by it is, you will always get put down to 1 health before you die regardless of how powerful the attack that hits you is. Also learning the fire modes in this game is half the challenge, I found the game nigh impossible until I realised that the energy consumption between the Still Fire and Free Moving Fire is alot different. Seeing as how I havent seen it any other review I feel at liberty to divuldge that if you are used to the free firing Gunstar like I was, you will run about in Free Fire alot more but your guns will run out of energy between three and four times quicker in this mode. A real kicker for boss fights.
Story: 9/10: It's a shooter so yeah. However if you read through the plot at the beginning it is actually quite in depth so If you play this I recommend you do that as you wont be disappointed and once again it sets you up to start playing the game.
Overall: 10/10: About as close to shooting perfection as you could get in '95, a game which has a firm place in my top 5 favourite games of all time in any format. It even pips Gunstar Heroes in this regard. You must own this game so it can own you.
Thanks for taking the time to read this review, I hope I've helped shed some light on a hidden diamond in the endless toybox of Genesis games out there.
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Product Release: Alien Soldier (EU, 05/31/95)
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