Review Information
Reviewer Name: Andy Allison
Reviewer Email: andy@sega8bit.com
Game Difficulty: Hard
Difficulty Options: True
Game Information
Full Title: Alien Storm
Year Released: 1991
Game Type: Shooting
Max Players: 2
Introduction


I had high hopes for this game. Really. The arcade version of this game is awesome. The Megadrive version is great. The Master System version is OK. OK, what a terrible way to describe a game you say? Well, that seems to be the only conclusion I can draw after many years of not quite knowing what to make of this game.

I first played the master system version on Christmas day 1991. A lot had happened that year. My dad was made redundant from his job, so got a huge redundancy settlement this enabled my famuily to mov from the city to a quiet village in the south of Scotland. My dad was feeling quite rich at this point, and decided to give me and my sister a Christmas to remember. We both recieved mountain bikes. I also was given my first colour TV for my bedroom and twelve, yes twelve! brand new Master System games! Amongst those were Shadow Dancer, Running Battle, Rambo III, Cyber Shinobi and this game. Initial impressions: not bad. After a while, good. After a bit longer, bad. After another while, the cartridge was loaned to a friend, and never given back.
Gameplay
Alienstorm tries hard to be like it's Arcade counterpart, but things needed to be downsized substantially. Only two out of of the three characters from the arcade are available in this version. The game is mainly a side scrolling shooter, but you can also move up and down across the playing area, much like Golden axe and Streets of Rage. Your player has a variety of weapons available at their disposal. The usage of these weapons is determined by how close the enemy is. Doesn't really make much difference what weapon is used, they all seem to count for the same ammount of damage. You also have a superweapon, this varies with character. Rick, Elvis impresonator and alienhunter has a balistic missile attack, which seems to look like a steel penis exploding on the screen. The robot destroys everyrthing by breaking up into tiny pieces and going flying at the enemies. The result is usually screen clearing. Like the arcade version the master system also has third person perspective parts where you simply aim a cross-hair and take out hordes of aliens. It's quite satisfying that you can destroy the entire screen with your gun. But the weapon seems to change to a Ghostbusters style proton pack for this part of the game. Why not use these awesome weapons all the time? Sure beats the robots pathetic electro whip. The game also features larger boss characters. Generally these are a bit repetitive and a bit too difficult to avoid being killed. Generally, that seems to be how I sum up this game. Difficult.
Graphics
Graphics, while good are no match for their arcade counterpart. Saying that, what are we expecting? For the 8-bit version of this game a whole lot has been crammed onto this cart. the levels are unique, detailed, multiple characters and weapons, bosses and much more. Everything is presented nicely and graphics are consitantly good. Animation is also generally very good for all the characters. The colours used throughout the game are sensible and it never makes you thinkg "urgh" or "yuck" even looking at the colour of the alien creatures.
Sound & Music
I have to say, I think sound is an area of this game which is actually quite strong. Various sounds are available for all the different weapons. Music plays througout the game with a variety of catchy tunes.
Controls
Simple yet effective controls are the key here, one button shoots, another does a forward roll. if you hit the forward roll button then press the fire button you perform a flying attack. Good for getting out of range of enemies quickly! Sometimes the fire button seems to have a slight delay on it, depending on what weapon is being used, an example of this is Rick's pistol, which fires twice in one go, but still only counts as one attack, this can cause this attack to take longer than would have been the case if the bazooka were used.
Replay Value
Scores
Gameplay
Graphics
Music & Sound
Controls
Replay Value
I still haven't finished this game. Man have I tried too. It just seems to be really difficult. You can get so far, then suddenly you run out of energy, it never seems to replenish and you just end up dead! I always get the level inside the alien spaceship then die. I'll keep trying, but I don't think I'll get any further.
Conclusion
Alien Storm is a good conversion of the arcade game. Given the limitations of the Master System hardware nearly everything that is present in the arcade/MD version is packed onto here. It's not the best shooter on the MS. But it's definatly not the worst. If you buy this game, it will do a great job of keeping you amused for a few days. However, it won't be long before you ditch this in favour of superior shooters. This game has a lot of style, but the frustration factor is high and it's likely to have you tearing out your hair by the end of the week.
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