Review by Inv_Machine
"The arcade classic is back for an incredible incarnation!"
For those who didn't know, Alien Syndrome was a classic arcade title that got ported to various home consoles during the late 80's, including the NES. Let me tell you, the first game was awesome. I loved it. It defined the sci-fi action genre, even for a simple arcade game. Now two decades later from this classic, how will the new Alien Syndrome compare to its predecessor, along with the other games of its time?
Alien Syndrome '07, as I call it, is just as awesome as the original. It may have taken a lot of things out of the original that made the previous game a hit, but all is forgiven with an RPG system simular to a simple dungeon crawling roguelike game.
Graphics for this game is pretty decent for a Wii game of this caliber. Special effects aren't spectacular, but does enough to keep players attached. The concept on various weapons, background (fits well to the alien infestation theme), and enemies (enjoyed the machine/alien hybrids) are pretty good, but not mind-blowing. I was totally diggin' the graphic-novelish sections of the game, reminiscent of Max Payne. More games need something like that in lieu to 3D rendered cutscenes.
The protagonist is Aileen Harding, out to investigate an alien infestation on a ship. Nothing to write home about, besides a couple of surprises here and there. This isn't an adventure of an epic scale, but keeps you tied enough to the game without driving you away. What really took my hopes down is that the game doesn't as grab you into a survival-horror atmosphere as the original did for me. And there's not that much hostages to save. In the original, you HAD to save hostages. Lots of them, in able to progress in the game. But yeah, I'll get onto that area a little later.
This is my only gripe here. While sound effects aren't that bad, the music is seriously sub-par. Only a few different BGMs can be found in the musical score. I was hoping for an atmospheric soundtrack that fits well with the game altogether, but barely anything like that was given. I was begging for Aileen to say some more words, like in-game remarks when she takes out a boss/mini-boss, or whenever she picks up a unique item. Only time you'll get to hear her talk were during cutscenes. And most of all, I was dying for a juicier shotgun blast. Well... that last one was a personal preference, but everything else begged for better quality.
They're a pretty nice touch, especially since it's a Wii game. The control scheme kinda reminds me of Abuse, another great sci-fi action shooter of old. Aim around with your remote, turn the camera with your nunchuku, and switch between primary and secondary weapons with A and B on the fly. Doing melee with the remote movements takes a bit of time to get used to, but will pay off greatly in the long run. And yes, doing a finishing move will reward you well, if you can nail down the somewhat difficult movement on a downed enemy. One thing that might turn away people is how the camera zoom doesn't go higher enough to let you see where the enemies are. That's all looked by just simply looking at your mini-map to see where the enemies are at. Just blast away in that general direction, and your camera zoom issue isn't a hassle anymore.
Dude. This is it. Gameplay mechanics that are one-part Abuse, one-part Alien Carnage, and one-part Diablo has got to kick some serious heinie and take names. And it does! Skills system, custom weapon/armor properties, random item pickup, item crafting, unique items, numerous monster types, and a combat system utilizing chance percentages. Put those all together into one song, and you're playing the Alien Syndrome beat. Up to four players can band together in co-op play, which I had a blast with. While not going as in-depth as the aforementioned Diablo, there is a lot of potential to expand these mechanics into possible future games.
This game is pretty incredible, although needs a couple refinements to make it an epic title. My main disappointment in this game is how the game barely ties in with its predecessor. There's barely any hostages to save (a main requirement in the original that added to the overall atmosphere) and the horror theme was very faint. But seriously, who gives a crap about all of that when you've got gameplay that surpasses that of the original and then some?
Rent or buy? Well, I'd either rent this game first to see if you'd like it, or just wait for a price drop. Either way, you gotta TRY this game out at least once. I didn't do either, because I loved the original a lot and expected a lot more in the new incarnation. Well, needless to say, expectations were met and surpassed. I agree, $50 was a little steep for me, but it was totally worth it. Expect to play this game over and over again for the fun of customizing the heck outta your character. SEGA, you better make a sequel!
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 07/30/07
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