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Arcade flyer for Alien Syndrome
|Release date(s)||1987 (Arcade)
1988 (Sega Master System, Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Famicom, MSX, NES)
1989 (ZX Spectrum, MS-DOS)
1992 (Game Gear, Sharp X68000)
|Genre(s)||Run & gun shooter|
|Arcade system||Sega System 16A / B|
|Sound||N775, YM2125, uPD7759|
|Display||Horizontal orientation, raster: standard resolution (Used: 320 x 224)|
Two players control two soldiers, named Ricky and Mary, who fight their way through large eight-way scrolling levels while rescuing their comrades who are being held by aliens. After they have rescued a certain number of hostages, the exit opens and they can pass through it in order to fight the end-of-level guardian. If this monstrosity is defeated, they are then able to move onto the next stage. Alien Syndrome features two player simultaneous gameplay and pickups which assist the player, including better weapons and maps of the current level.
In 1988, the game was ported to the Sega Master System, MSX, Amiga, Atari ST, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, and Famicom/Nintendo Entertainment System (published by Tengen). Later, the game was ported to the ZX Spectrum (1989) Sega Game Gear (1992) and Sharp X68000 (1992), the latter being the only arcade perfect port.
The game was also converted to polygonal graphics for the PS2 as part of the Sega Ages re-release program, and included in US version of the Sega Classics Collection (it was removed from the European version to receive a lower age certificate). This version has updated controls, adding the use of both analog sticks, similar to that seen in Sheriff, Robotron: 2084 and Smash TV. The original arcade game was also included as an unlockable in Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection.
The original arcade version of the game was reviewed in the July 1987 issue of Computer and Video Games, where Clare Edgeley described it as "one of the most gripping games" she "played in months", praising the Aliens like horror atmosphere, chilling sounds, special effects, graphics and gameplay. She stated it was "the first time the atmosphere and sheer addictiveness of a shoot 'em up has transported me to another planet" and concluded that it "is fantastic."
- Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia; Lesser, Kirk (January 1989). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (141): 72–78.