Review by Ofisil

Reviewed: 03/15/12

This game is out of this world

Alien Soldier is a Shooter game developed by Treasure. Think about it. Twenty-five, extremely fast paced levels where 90% of the game revolves around boss fights. If you don’t like the thought, get the hell out because this game isn’t for you. Alien Soldier will please those who love fast and challenging shooters, literally filled with boss fights. It’s surprisingly fun and even better it’s gameplay mechanics are very unique and well implemented. Read on…

Story: N/A

We only get some text in the intro, but I’ll make a brief resume of the plot since it’s quite unique. Epsilon-Eagle, once the leader of a powerful terrorist group hid inside the body of a small boy during an attack from a certain Special Forces group. Xi-Tiger, took over his position and went out to kill him. He could sense his presence in a research facility but he could not see him, so he killed a small girl to draw him out. Epsilon-Eagle, through his rage transformed into a powerful robot-eagle hybrid, which now was free from its past evil since the boy’s sense of justice merged with his soul. And the game starts… Alien Soldier despite having no actual dialogue throughout the game and while the few important scenes you’ll see don’t really make any sense, has that special old-school charm of videogames where your imagination connects the dots and creates a plot even with these few text-less cutscenes.

Gameplay: 10/10
Replay Value: 8.5/10

Alien Soldier is basically a fast paced Run & Gun game ala Contra, Metal Slug or the other gem of Treasure called Gunstar Heroes. That’s were the similarities end though because Alien Soldier is extremely innovative and introduces many new and very interesting game mechanics. You control Epsilon-Eagle, a biped animal\robot hybrid who has a lot of moves in his arsenal. He can run, jump and shoot at all directions. There are two modes of shooting which you can toggle between. In the first you stand still while you shoot and in the second one you can move while shooting at a certain direction. Additionally Epsilon can hover on air or run on ceilings! You can choose four from the six weapons available and toggle between them while playing, which is probably the only bad move in the game since it’s a bit too slow for such a fast game. Epsilon can also instantly teleport to the other side of the screen, invincible as he does so and damaging everything in his path if he has full health. Finally you can double tap the shoot button and create a small flash of energy that bounces bombs away from you and turn bullets from your enemies to health!!! These last two moves are the most important moves in the game, extremely helpful in boss fights. But wait a second… the game IS a boss fight!!! The few seconds between each boss will be used in order to improve your weaponry and fill your health and nothing else. The rest of the game is nothing more than a series of wonderfully designed battles against some very dangerous enemies who must be defeated before the merciless clock stops ticking! Now that I think about it the biggest enemy here is actually the time limit, which forces you trying to kill a boss as fast as possible making the game even more faced paced.

To say the truth not all bosses are equally fun, but that’s nitpicking and while Alien Soldier is a very hard game, it’s an example of how sometimes challenge can actually enhance the fun. First of all it’s never unfair, unlike other popular “tough” titles. The only one to blame here is your own damn self. Also the game is designed in such a way that each time you play you’ll actually get better and be able to avoid damage more easily thus managing to move further into the game. But even after you finish the game you can replay it trying to finish it as fast as possible since this game was made to be played as such. In the end, apart from the adrenaline pumping action, the boss fights and all the innovative and flawless controls Alien Soldier actually stands out because it’s a thinking man’s Shooter. Running around and mashing buttons will only get you killed… you have to get skilled in the various moves available, think before choosing your weapon and play as strategically as possible. Its very short length can make the game a bit repetitive but leaving this small flaw aside Alien Soldier is a must for all Shooter fans and not only!

Graphics: 10/10
Design: 9.5/10

The graphics here are simply stunning, easily amongst the 10 best looking Mega Drive games ever… what you would expect from the developers of Treasure after all. Epsilon, the protagonist has an almost organic quality animation and an exceptional and unique design that makes him look so strange but also so cool and “heroic” and the special effects from your guns or special moves are magnificent. The simple enemies are average, just your basic cannon fodder but like you they are… aliens so they look quite abnormal. The bosses are much better though, after all they are the main deal here and like with Gunstar Heroes they are quite large and consist of numerous and independently moving parts. They range from lame floating orbs of flesh or metal to beautifully designed beasts and cyborgs that look quite menacing. The levels, while not so “alien” as someone would expect do look very good and have an immense level of variety for a game so small. The first level looks like a high-tech industrial zone where the sun sets as you move along, other times action takes place on top of a high speeding train with wind blowing all over and in other levels you’ll have to fight beneath the surface of the planet or in the stratosphere! All in all… an atmospheric and very cool looking title.

Sound: 9/10
Music: 9/10

Alien Soldier features a great variety of good quality sound effects that enhance this already great game even more. In this game, a lot of things are happening on screen at the same time and it’s a good thing that most sounds are good, loud & clear. The music is also wonderful. Not so much because of its catchiness, but for how it fits like a glove with the gameplay of Alien Soldier. While good the themes of the game aren’t humming material like Mega Man 2’s music for example, however they are fast, adrenaline pumping and quite unique in composition. Overall Alien Soldier looks AND sounds good.

-Boss-battle oriented gameplay
-6 different and very useful weapons
-Innovative and flawless controls
-Magnificent graphic quality and design.
-Great SFX & fast paced music

-Weapon choosing is a bit lame
-Some boring bosses
-Too short

Also Play:
Contra 3 (SNES)
Gunstar Heroes (Mega Drive)
Metal Slug (Arcade)
Wild Guns (SNES)

Overall: 9.3/10

This game rocks so bad that it makes you wonder why isn’t there a whole franchise based on it. Poor marketing and a very late development led to this wonderful gem being unknown to most people, even people like me who search all the time for great unknown oldies. Find it no matter what and enjoy it until your fingers bleed. Alien soldier is one of the most unique and thrilling Shooters of all freaking time! RECOMMENDED!!!

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Alien Soldier (EU, 05/31/95)

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