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Genesis box art
Developer(s) Compile
Publisher(s) Sega (Wii)[1]
Naxat Soft (Wii)[2]
Producer(s) Masamitsu Niitani[3]
Composer(s) Toshiaki Sakoda[3]
Series Aleste
Platform(s) Sega Genesis
  • JP: December 21, 1990
  • NA: 1990
Genre(s) Shoot 'em up
Mode(s) Single-player

M.U.S.H.A.[a] is a 1990 vertically scrolling shoot 'em up video game in the Aleste series developed by Compile for the Sega Genesis. The player takes on the role of a flying mecha pilot who must destroy a large super intelligent computer threatening human life and planet Earth. M.U.S.H.A. has been praised by critics for its challenging gameplay, strong soundtrack, and graphics considered ahead of its time. In retrospective reviews, it remains among the most highly regarded shoot 'em ups on the Genesis and among the best of the 16-bit era. The original cartridge has become difficult to find and commands high prices on secondary markets, however, it was re-released on the Nintendo Wii Virtual Console in Japan in 2008, and North America and Europe in 2009.


Gameplay in stage one

M.U.S.H.A. is a vertically scrolling shooter in which the player controls a large flying mecha. The gameplay conventions are largely retained from earlier Aleste titles.[6] The player has a main gun that can be powered up by collecting "Power Chips". There are also three different special weapons that can be picked up: piercing lasers, fire-based explosives and rotating shields. They can be upgraded if the same weapon is picked up that is currently being used. If hit while a special weapon is equipped, the player will lose the special weapon but remain alive. Getting hit without a special weapon will result in losing a life.[7] For every three Power Chips collected, the player obtains a drone similar to those in the Gradius series, but are called options. Only two options can be utilized at any one moment; extras are stored. These drones can be set to one of six attack modes, such as aiming forward, behind, or rotating around the player.[6][8]


In the year 2290, the human race has spread to many colonies across the solar system at various lagrangian points. The story begins on the LaGrange point opposite of the Moon, LaGrange Gamma, where the intellicomputer "Dire 51" lies. It was so intelligent that it decided to become ruler of the solar system. While scientists studied the problem with Dire 51, it developed a new type of armed armor and began attacking Earth. The battle between Earth's and Dire 51's forces seemed to be even, so the leaders of Earth decided to send in the M.U.S.H.A. team.[9] The player takes on the role of M.U.S.H.A. pilot Terri, valedictorian from Air & Space University.[10] A M.U.S.H.A. is a specially armed vehicle originally designed for construction work in space, but with advanced weaponry and armor. The latest design, M.U.S.H.A. Aleste, is still in the prototype stage, but is the most advanced design yet.[4] The M.U.S.H.A. team is sent in, but the enemy destroyed four of the fighters, leaving Terri alone to continue the fight.[11]


Aggregate score
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 86%[12]
Review scores
Publication Score
Eurogamer 7/10[12]
Famitsu 27/40[13]
IGN 8.5/10[6]
Nintendo Life 9/10[5]

Both IGN and Nintendo Life gave positive reviews for the re-release of M.U.S.H.A. on the Wii's Virtual Console. The re-issuing of the game was commended by both reviewers, as it gives players an accessible way to play compared to the original cartridge which has become expensive and rare.[5][6] Lucas M. Thomas of IGN gave it a score of 8.5/10, stating that it is "easy to see why M.U.S.H.A. is still so highly regarded after almost two decades, as its visuals, gameplay and overall style must have felt well ahead of their time for players who got the chance to experience it first in 1990."[6] IGN also placed it at number five on their "Top 10 Classic Shoot 'Em Ups" list, calling it "Compile's greatest shooter" and "one of the best shooters on the Genesis."[14] Nintendo Life also praised the game's difficulty and graphics, concluding it to be "one of the best shoot ‘em ups on the Mega Drive and is arguably one of the best of its era."[5]


  1. ^ M.U.S.H.A. is an acronym for "Metallic Uniframe Super Hybrid Armor".[4] In Japan, it is known as Musha Aleste (武者アレスタ?, lit. "Aleste Warrior"). The Japanese cover only reads 武者アレスタ although the full name has been noted as 武者アレスタ FULL METAL FIGHTER ELLINOR in third-party publications[5]


  1. ^ "ESRB Search: MUSHA". ESRB. Retrieved 2015-11-24. 
  2. ^ "MUSHA for Wii". Nintendo. Retrieved 2015-11-24. 
  3. ^ a b M.U.S.H.A. credits, Sega Genesis, 1990.
  4. ^ a b M.U.S.H.A. (Genesis) instruction manual, p. 12
  5. ^ a b c d "MUSHA (Wii Virtual Console / Mega Drive) Review". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 2013-12-22. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "M.U.S.H.A. Review – IGN". uk.ign.com. 2009-01-20. Retrieved 2013-12-22. 
  7. ^ M.U.S.H.A. (Genesis) instruction manual, p. 14-15
  8. ^ M.U.S.H.A. (Genesis) instruction manual, p. 17
  9. ^ M.U.S.H.A. (Genesis) instruction manual, p. 6
  10. ^ M.U.S.H.A. (Genesis) instruction manual, p. 13
  11. ^ M.U.S.H.A. (Genesis) instruction manual, p. 19
  12. ^ a b "MUSHA: Metallic Uniframe Super Hybrid Armor for Genesis". GameRankings. Retrieved 2013-12-22. 
  13. ^ "武者アレスタ [メガドライブ] / ファミ通.com". www.famitsu.com. Retrieved 25 December 2016. 
  14. ^ "Top 10 Classic Shoot 'Em Ups – IGN". uk.ign.com. 2008-04-08. Retrieved 2013-12-22. 

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