Friday, January 21, 2011

Alien Storm (1991)

     I recently purchased Sonic's Genesis Collection for my XBOX 360 for ten dollars. This disc has 40 games on it, and I'm most pleased. You see, I've never owned a Sega console, so there are probably hundreds of games that have fallen under my love-radar, and this collection was quite a find. Especially for someone who doesn't really want to own a Genesis.
     The games featured are pretty predictable; of course, it has your Sonic's, your Streets of Rage trilogy, and then it has some I wasn't expecting, some I've never heard of. So, I began playing in alphabetical order, and Alex Kidd was the first to play. I think I might've gotten to level 2 before politely declining to go any further, for the rage building up inside of me was a little overwhelming.  
     ...And then, there was Alien Storm.  Alien Storm came out in 1991. This means it's a beat-'em-up, with radical music and tubular visuals, but really, it just seems like every other beat-'em that preceded it. This game is clearly emphasizing everything that the '90s embodied, and it's awesome. There's the obligatory tough guy, the girl who probably should've worn more appropriate clothing to an alien invasion, and the third wheel; in this case, a robot. They all handle exactly the same, so it's mostly for aesthetic preferences.  I don't know about you, but I usually like to play with half of an erection, so I chose the robot.
     Apparently, there's an alien invasion, and I'm not sure where our heroes come into place in that respect. All I know is that they somehow equipped themselves with lasers, rocket launchers, flamethrowers, and malignant narcissism, as evidenced by the box art. In other words, everything one needs to make a game from the '90s, and everything awesome. 
     The graphics are pretty good, but I feel like I'm playing a science-fiction Streets of Rage. Except the first Streets of Rage handled terribly, and Alien Storm actually plays decently. I use the word "decently" because there were times when I felt I was playing a 2D fighter à la Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: the Fighting Edition. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it is when you play fighting games like me. 
     Let me provide an explanation to this analogy: your weapon in Alien Storm requires energy, displayed in a bar underneath your health. Using your weapon takes up energy, and energy is a limited resource in the Alien Storm world. Therefore, it's best to find an alternative way to curb-stomp aliens rather than blindly firing your weapon, as the depth between where I was in relation to the alien was questionable. The only alternative I found was to throw the robot forward with a roll and hit the attack button, but the accuracy of this method was terrible. Thus, I was left in this limbo of button-mashing and rotating the d-pad. If I was playing the Fighting Edition this would've been awesome, but it doesn't really help here, and made killing aliens a little more tedious than it should have been. It's completely possible that my lack of skill prevented me from not playing like an idiot. 
     Alien Storm taught me that if an alien is a different color than the alien that came before it, it will undoubtedly kick more ass and be harder to kill. I giggled on several occasions, because after introducing some pink slugs, they unleashed the slightly-more-pink slugs, which of course kicked more ass. The giggling happened again when they reverted back to the regular pink slugs afterward, which in regards to level design makes no sense. Overall, the designs of the aliens were pretty interesting, but nothing out of the ordinary for a '90s game. 
     One thing that I thought was pretty cool were the end-of-level challenges. These challenges branched away from the genre and provided some first-person shooting gallery action, in which your character completely tears up an area with their gun in search of hiding aliens. The amount of destruction to the area in such a small amount of time was beautiful, as literally every object was destroyable or burnable. That made me sound a little psychotic.
     Alien Storm was pretty good. There were a few other modes I didn't feel compelled to check out, and I got to level 3 of 6. It was challenging, but after my first death I didn't bother trying again. I've already beaten Streets of Rage, so I pretty much beat this game too. 

Buy Sonic's Genesis Collection on Amazon, because buying the actual cartridge seems a little silly at this point:

1 comment:

  1. Your approach to Sonic's Genesis collection is great. Trying out each one alphabetically I mean. I've never played Streets of Rage so I don't really know, what the game looks like. Is it close to River City Ransom at all?

    Overall good writing and great description. It's humorous at times and I can imagine what the game looks like!