Review Of Alien Storm For Sega Mega Drive/Genesis

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Milton W. Kuo

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Jul 24, 1991, 3:37:36 AM7/24/91
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This is my review of Alien Storm for the Sega Mega Drive. If any
of you have comments, suggestions, or criticisms which will make these
reviews better, please e-mail them to me.

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Game Name : Alien Storm
Game Type : Action
Game Maker : Sega Enterprises
Game Size : 4 Mbits (512 KB)

Alien Storm for the Sega Mega Drive is an adaptation of the coin-
op game and features many elements of game play found in Golden Axe.
Those Golden Axe fanatics who just cannot wait for the release of Gold-
en Axe II may find enough similarity in Alien Storm's play mechanics to
tide them over until Golden Axe II hits the shelves. However, I will
wait for the release Golden Axe II. Here's why....

While playing Alien Storm, I could not help but keep thinking that
this game is incredibly short. Indeed, Alien Storm tries to pack too
much into too little a space and it really shows in the graphics and
the sound. While the graphics are not bad, they can definitely be im-
proved a great deal. Most of the aliens are just differently colored
versions of about five or six basic types. Sound suffers similarly be-
cause of limitations in storage. The background music is boring and
seemingly non-existent. Fortunately, the sound effects are good and do
a fair job of compensating for a game that would otherwise seem devoid
of sound.

Alien Storm for the Mega Drive is very much like Golden Axe except
that Alien Storm takes place in the future while Golden Axe takes place
in the past. Furthermore, for better or for worse, the demarcation of
levels in Alien Storm is less subtle than in Golden Axe. At the start
of each level, the game states the objective and the number of the lev-
el. Furthermore, some of the levels culminate in a confrontation with
a boss character. Game play is almost exactly like Golden Axe in that
one button is used for attacking, another used for tumbling (jumping),
and the final button is used for the special attack. The special at-
tack for each of the three characters in Alien Storm differs although
they all serve to destroy all non-boss enemies on the screen. Gordon
summons a space ship to shoot down the aliens, Karla causes a huge ICBM
[sic] to fall from the sky, and Scooter self destructs (this is rather
funny).

While most of the action during the game takes place on a side
scrolling screen, there is a place on each level where the game shifts
to a 3-D, first person perspective. During these 3-D sequences, play-
ers are given an opportunity to earn additional life and weapon energy
by blasting open everything in sight. However, at the same time play-
ers search for enery, aliens attack to reduce energy levels. The at-
tacking aliens strike the players in a manner very similar to Taito's
arcade game Space Gun.

Like most other games that offer a two-player simultaneous option,
Alien Storm is most fun when played with a friend. Some of the later
stages get difficult and an extra player becomes helpful. Furthermore,
having an extra player makes the 3-D scenes more fun since it is poss-
ible to steal the other player's energy items. Fans of Golden Axe may
be a bit disappointed with Alien Storm's two player option however. In
Golden Axe, each of the three characters had different characteristics
which made some pairings more effective than others (the woman had the
most powerful magic but the weakest fighting ability, the dward was the
best at fighting but had the weakest magic, and the man was the middle
ground). As far as I could tell, Alien Storm didn't exhibit this sub-
tle feature in its game play. Every character's special attack could
kill all monsters on the screen and the regular fighting followed a si-
milar line of thought.

Although Alien Storm plays very well and is fun, one of its big-
gest shortcomings is in its remarkable brevity. Of the many games I've
played for the Mega Drive, Alien Storm is the one game that really suf-
fers from being a 4 Mbit game. With all of the extra features such as
a two-player simultaneous mode, duel mode, and versus mode, Sega really
should have just splurged and made this an 8 Mbit game. However, in
trying to shoe horn this game into 4 Mbits, Sega really rushed some of
the levels. In fact, while playing this game, I felt as if some of the
levels took less than one minute to complete!

Because Alien Storm is so short, I cannot recommend buying it. It
is one of those games that can be rented for three days and finished.
For a game that will probably cost $50 here in the US, that is just not
enough entertainment value for the money. It is, however, a fun game
that is worth renting.

Ratings:
Graphics : 6 (A bit repetitious in the monster category)
Sound : 6 (Above average sound effects and okay BGM)
Gameplay : 7 (This game is way too short!)
"Funness" : 8 (The two-player version is really quite fun)
Originality : 5 (Golden Axe with a slight twist)
Difficulty : 3 (Harder than Golden Axe but still not too tough)
Overall : 6 (Not too bad but not worth the money)

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Milton W. Kuo
mil...@ccwf.cc.utexas.edu

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