Alien Storm (Genesis) review
"Like many pre-16 bit conversions before, Alien Storm demonstrates how the arcades power isnít always necessary to provide an arcade style blast."
Up until the mid 1990ís, arcade gaming was king. Arcade ports on 8-bit home consoles were often lackluster, providing less of an incentive to pay a significant upfront cost of a console and its games, when slotting a coin into an arcade cabinet could provide a far superior experience. The rise of the Mega Drive allowed many titles to be converted with unprecedented accuracy, but not every one could be cut to size. While Alien Storm is a brainless alien invasion brawler, itís actually a re-imagination tailored for the weaker hardware.
Importantly, the arcade titles essence is intact. Formulaically, itís similar to the better-known Golden Axe that symbolized the genre. As aliens invade the planet, only the Alien Busters can stop them. Comprising of special forces troops Gordon, Karen and a robot, Scooter, they have top battle their way through chaos driven housing estates and cities as they make their way to the alien ship. In each scene more swathes of aliens appear, and have to be eliminated in order to progress.
Alien Storm doesnít provide many standout features with regards to its contemporaries, but the action is sill varied and entertaining. Each character has significant cosmetic differences in their weaponry, and a reinforcement back-up can be summoned by pressing the A button, providing a significant bomb attack should they have enough energy, collectible from capsules. Enemies pounce from bins, manholes, even disguising themselves as people, and they only get tougher by increasing numbers and strength. Only so many can be fended off at once; rolling to evade attacks is just as important as attacking,
Itís not all-hard work though, as the action is supplemented by hi-speed chases, where the character zips through the level and has to shoot or jump over anything thatís in their way. As aliens sneak their way inside, they have to be flushed out in fixed-rail shoot-outs in the shops and laboratories. Amusingly everything in the room ends up smashed to pieces in the end but theyíre a good source for hidden energy and health packs, while ensuring aliens donít jump out into the screen for a deadly swipe.
Like many pre-16 bit conversions before, Alien Storm demonstrates how the arcades power isnít always necessary to provide an arcade style blast. It may only take thirty minutes to complete, but every moment is compelling, not to mention tense once in the alien ship. A funky space-age style beat accompanies the action well, and a two-player mode is available, featuring the usual co-operative play plus a head to head duel mode. Itís not long, itís not outright original, but what reason is there to not singe alien invaders with space guns?
Community review by bigcj34 (April 16, 2014)
Cormac Murray is a freelance contributor for HG and is a fanboy of Sega and older Sony consoles. For modern games though he pledges allegiance to the PC Master Race, by virtue of a MacBook running Windows.
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