Review by blueninja4444

"Co-op Alien Killing Addiction"

Alien Syndrome... What is this game? If you're a hardcore gamer you may have heard of a game back in the day with the same name “Alien Syndrome” but other wise you may have just been looking for a cheap PSP game to bolster your collection and stumbled upon this game with the cover art depicting a chick wielding a huge gun at a nasty looking alien. If you were to ask someone which game in the gaming world Alien Syndrome compares to, they would have a tough time coming up with the answer. Truthfully, I would say this incarnation of Alien Syndrome was inspired by the X-Men Legends series of games with the fast past action and some minor, yet game-impacting RPG elements with leveling up. As the game's name and box art implies this game is about runnin' and gunnin' against aliens of all shapes and sizes before they spread their nasty alien infections and you begin feeling the symptoms of addictions to this neat little PSP shooter.....

Graphics: 8/10
Alien Syndrome is not a dazzlingly brilliant game with state of the art graphics that'll have your jaw dropping at the vibrant colors and well rendered FMVs. Instead Alien Syndrome is a dark, albeit futuristic, dungeon crawler that impresses you with all the small things. While you may have played similarly themed games such as Area 51 and Resistance: Fall of Man where the bulk of the enemies are humanoid aliens that really could just be a basic thug and not make a lick of difference, most of the alien models in Alien Syndrome are creep, crawly monsters of all shapes and sizes.

The enemies in Alien Syndrome are just about as unique as they come. There is a great variety here from crawly little worms that'll split up into smaller worms as you shoot them, from flying, spinning starfish aliens, to giant robots waiting to crush you. And just as the enemies are varied, your armor also changes on you character cosmetically when you change the armor type. Instead of using “pretend” armor like in Final Fantasy, your character actually gets updated. The same formula applies for your weapon. This isn't the same ol' shooter where you got a gun that fires every type of bullet, each gun you acquire appears different, cosmetically, in your hands.

The cut scenes are not FMVs, but rather they are comic-styled visuals with full voice acting that we've become accustomed to on the PSP (thanks to games like Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops). In the end, I think the graphics could've been done better, yet they weren't, but at least the other elements like gameplay will keep you hooked.

Sound: 8/10
Alien Syndrome has full voice acting, and a very impressive BGM soundtrack. The sound effects are none less impressive, and nothing is more satisfying that launching a missile into some unsuspecting alien and hear it screech in agony as it blows into flames. Hey, wait a second... What is that? Do I hear...? Why yes I do! There's even some sound effects from fan favorite Monster Hunter Freedom 2 in here! How is that even possible? Well whatever the case is, the sound is great and you do get spoken dialogue in the cut scenes. Cheers!

Controls: 9/10
PSP, do your thing! I believe Alien Syndrome is a PSP exclusive, except a similar Wii version that came out around the same time, so needless to say, this game feels right at home on the PSP. Since you can have up to two weapons equipped at once circle fires one of them and X fires the other. Triangle lets you twirl the camera, square is the action button, L and R use your energy and health restores and the d-pad does all of the miscellaneous work.

There's not a whole lot to complain about here, which is a good thing, no doubt, but when you play this game you will most definitely wonder why they didn't add a “lock on” button to the control scheme, since aiming can get difficult, but that may be more of a gameplay issue. The game does offer a couple of different control schemes in case you don't like the default, but they're pretty much all the same anyway. But rest assured, you'll have a nice control scheme for this game.

Story: 4/10
Okay so you see... Okay... Wait, let me start over. Hmm. Okay... Never mind. In the story you are Aileen (pun?) Harding, a chick who is really good at killing aliens. Think Samus and Metroid. I'm not quite sure what the story is about after that. Apparently some virus turns a spacecraft's crew into aliens... Or something... And you attempt to save them... Or something. Ok, it's all really boring, I won't lie.

Gameplay: 7/10
If mowin' down aliens with all sorts of futuristic guns is your specialty then is this the game for you! Alien Syndrome is part run n' gun and part RPG. Character customization and weapon equipping are all big parts in this game. So where does one start when talking about this game? Well first of all you should know this game can be played co-op with a buddy if you both have a copy of this game and a PSP, and that's a rare find on the portable systems.

This game does have solid gameplay, unfortunately it comes off as a little sister to all you would compare it to. Killzone: Liberation on the PSP? No, it's not quite as fun or diverse as Killzone. X-Men Legends II on the PSP? No this game has no where near the impressive X-Men RPG. So what is it? It's a shallow yet surprisingly fun game with a few good points that could keep you going.

There are several weapon types in this game from shot guns, to grenade launcher, to laser rifles, to melee spears. It's a lot of fun and at any time you can equip two different weapons, which means in a 2 player co-op play through you and your buddy can have up to four weapons combined, which can lead to some pretty brutal alien murderin'!

Unfortunately, where the game has solid variety in gunplay and murdering, the game lacks in variety. There's not a lot going on here except mashing the X and circle button while running to or from aliens. There is no jump, there is no duck, there are no mini-games, there are no puzzles... It's just a whole lot of repetitiveness, which is not a good thing.

Longevity and Replay Value: 6/10
Alien Syndrome is a fun game, but is it an addicting game? Well first, I'd just like to say it is designed for multiplayer mayhem! As much fun as the cooperative portable experience can be, I highly doubt you'll enjoy this adventure solo for very long, maybe one play through if you're lucky. It's all in the co-op, and let me tell you, this game is not short and you will be busy killing hordes of aliens and upgrading your weapons and armors for hours and hours. Unfortunately you may just wish there was a little variety to your techniques (jumping, etc.) with all this play time.

Overall: 7
Well, Alien Syndrome isn't a ground breaking game, and it never quite got the advertisement of big names like God of War on the PSP, but in the end Alien Syndrome is a fun run n' gun in the palm of your hands. And if you got some buddies with this game and your up for a little PSP co-op on the road, you got Alien Syndrome for a cheap price tag.

Alien Syndrome gets a well deserved 7 out of 10!

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 05/12/08

Game Release: Alien Syndrome (US, 07/24/07)

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