Alien Soldier

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Alien Soldier
Cover art
Alien Soldier cover art (Japanese version)
Developer(s) Treasure
Publisher(s) Sega
Composer(s) Norio Hanzawa
Platform(s) Mega Drive, Virtual Console, Cloud (OnLive)
Release date(s)
  • JP February 24, 1995
  • PAL June 1, 1995
Genre(s) Run and gun
Mode(s) Single-player
Distribution 16-megabit cartridge

Alien Soldier (エイリアンソルジャー?) is a side-scrolling run and gun video game developed by Treasure for the Sega Mega Drive. The game was released in Japan and Europe, but not physically in the US (one of the few to be released in this pattern), but it can be rather expensive due to its rarity in either region. The game was playable in America on the Sega Channel cable service and has been reissued for PlayStation 2 as part of the Sega Ages Treasure Box disc. The Sega Ages version, whose disc also includes Treasure's Gunstar Heroes and Dynamite Headdy, exceeds the Mega Drive's intrinsic sprite display limit, which eliminates slowdowns or missing graphics during busy scenes (e.g. boss fights with many explosions). Also, the player can select either the sprite-based pixelated graphics of the original game or a new mode that uses certain filters to produce a high-resolution look. The game was re-released again on the Nintendo Wii's Virtual Console download service in Japan on October 9, 2007, in Europe on November 2, 2007, and North America debut on November 5, 2007.

The game is listed in Guinness World Records Gamers Edition 2010 under the category "Most boss battles in a run and gun game".[1]

The catchphrases seen on the title screen, "FOR MEGADRIVERS CUSTOM" and "VISUALSHOCK! SPEEDSHOCK! SOUNDSHOCK! NOW IS TIME TO THE 68000 HEART ON FIRE!", describe the game's technical prowess for the Mega Drive hardware, at the core of which is the Motorola 68000 CPU.

Story[edit]

In the year 2015, the "A-Humans" (Sierrans) of "A-Earth" (Sierra) have created genetically engineered A-Humans, capable of super intelligence and strength, as well as parastic co-existence with machinery and animals, particularly humans. A terrorist organization known as "Scarlet" rose up within this race and sought to dominate the rest of the A-Humans and A-Earth, through locking the planet down and keeping anyone else out.

During the height of Scarlet's power, an assassination attempt on the group's leader, Epsilon-Eagle, was carried out by a special forces group with certain abilities of their own. Scarlet fought back with their powers, and the battle somehow breached the space-time continuum. Epsilon was gravely injured and cast somewhere into the continuum.

Seemingly gone forever, another Scarlet member known as Xi-Tiger took control of the organization. Under his rule, Scarlet became too brutal even for themselves, and they called for Epsilon to reclaim his position. More or less isolated from the rest of the group, Xi sought to find and assassinate Epsilon himself. He planned an attack on an A-Human research laboratory, where children with special abilities had been kidnapped and experimented on.

Upon arriving, Xi sensed that Epsilon was actually there, hiding in one of the children. Indeed, for some time, Epsilon had been hiding within one of the kidnapped boys; his "good" formed a strange bond with the boy and caused a dual personality, constantly fighting the "evil" to control the boy's body. From this, Xi could not detect Epsilon's normally "evil" presence. In frustration, Xi took a girl hostage and threatened to kill her if Epsilon would not show. This seemed to be too much for the "good" Epsilon, who overpowered the "evil" and took the form of Epsilon-Eagle himself, described as a "bird-man with steel wings". Xi seemed to sense this strange power; in fear, he killed the girl and fled.

By now, Epsilon had completely split his dual personality apart; the "evil" Epsilon 1 and the "good" Epsilon 2, the player character of the game. Both took off in search of Xi-Tiger.

Throughout the game, Epsilon 2 encounters and defeats Xi-Tiger, Epsilon 1, a certain girl made host to a Scarlet member (believed to be the same girl Xi had killed), and a creature known as Z-Leo (the final boss). The girl, known as "Seven Force Kaede", is noted for being based on the "Seven Force" boss from Treasure's previous Gunstar Heroes; Treasure even went as far as using a remixed version of that boss's theme (both games having been scored by Norio "NON" Hanzawa).

Gameplay[edit]

Stage 1

Alien Soldier is unique among side-scrolling shooters in that, instead of long levels with several minor enemies before reaching the boss, the levels are notably short and easy before reaching a boss. This results in the game being mostly boss fights. The game has 25 levels and 31 bosses in total, and two difficulty levels, Supereasy and Superhard. The difficulty of the two levels is largely attributable to the lack of continues (and password-based "saving") available in the Superhard game, which is enabled by default.[2]

The top of the screen is dominated by a status bar which gives information about the player current and maximum health, the current and maximum energy of the selected weapon and the current and maximum health of the boss of the stage.

The player can alter the status bar at the beginning of the game to show each details either in numerical format, a bar format, a series of "????", or a combination of the three. If the player wants more challenge, it is possible to make all of the details to be "????", thereby denying any visual information of the health of the player, weapon energy and the health of the boss. Similarly, if the player wants to be more careful, the player may change the status bar to give numerical details so as to know exactly how much health and energy remains.

Another feature is that if the player were to be hit by an enemy or projectile that would have been fatal, the player's current health will always be reduced to 1 first. The player will only die if he gets hit thereafter, reducing health from 1 to 0. This, in a way, gives the player a second chance to recover and continue with the game.

Reception[edit]

On release, Famicom Tsūshin scored the Mega Drive version of the game a 24 out of 40.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mommy's Best Blog, Run and Gun – Alien Soldier 1 July 2010. Archive copy at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Frank Provo, Gamespot, Alien Soldier for Wii Virtual Console review, 12 Nov 2007. Archive copy at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ NEW GAMES CROSS REVIEW: エイリアン ソルジャー. Weekly Famicom Tsūshin. No.324. Pg.41. 3 March 1995.