Alien Soldier (SEGA CHANNEL)

One of the last SEGA CHANNEL Games

Developer: Treasure                                                          Release: 1995

Ah the Sega Channel… So many memories… For those of you who don’t know what the Sega Channel was, it was a small setup from your Sega Genesis that allowed you to hook it up to your existing cable programming and play games online. I do remember having the Sega Channel and for the most part it was OK. Anyways, to my knowledge there were only a few games that were released for the SC one being Alien Solider that didn’t make it over here to the States but managed to go to Europe and Japan only.

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From the first impression this game looks like Gunstar Heroes which was an amazing game but that’s where it stops. It only looks flashy. From the very get go I had problems with this game, Just starting the game is a hassle now let me inform you that I have a Reproduction cart that I have and NOT emulated game. At the very beginning I had to restart many times because the game froze the first few seconds. And then there is the long 10-minute intro that makes no sense at all. Everything in the beginning script is either miss translated or there are some serious issues at the English language. There are many miss spelled words and just complete weirdness to the story that make no sense. A-Human? A-Earth? Xi-Tiger? Kids being traded so some named guy named Epsilon can inhabit them? What?

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Afterwards you are presented with the title screen which has to much going on! What does ” Now is time to the 68000 heart on fire?” For mega drivers custom? There is way to much going on here. I know that this came out for PAL, there shouldn’t be this much misspelling and bad translation!! The theme song for the game in the beginning is just awful it sounds like somebody ripped a bunch of Atari 2600 effects from it and mashed it up with the NES. This game came out in 1995 so let that sink in. By that time we already had Sonic the Hedgehog, Vectorman, Gunstar heroes and more so why is this so bad? This is just from the Title screen and intro alone, I haven’t even played the game yet!

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After you press the start button you are immediately taken to the load out screen where you select up to 4 out of 10 weapons that have all different effects. After selecting you have the option of changing the way the health meter, focus meter and enemy meter are laid out, this is purely cosmetic and no way changes game play. After you have selected everything, you come up to the Control Screen which you can’t change but before hitting start, you can train and get use to controls before you enter combat.

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Now comes the game… the graphics are amazing, they are so colorful, and animated. There is so much going on with very little slowdown! Enemies look weird and interesting which between aliens, robots and a mix up of everything else there is always something coming at you with variety. The bosses are where the game shines, they give you short levels to get to the bosses and get ready for a drawn out fight. Bosses have no pattern whats so ever and are all over the place and every rematch makes the game seems fresh.

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Now the stage music is something of a hit or miss and personally I really don’t remember to much  of it except for the intro song which like said before is just a mash of bad sound effects and midi tunes. Although the music does try to get you into the mood for a fight of your life, i would recommend you put in your favorite track and blast away.

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So this is where the game doesn’t shine to bright and that the controls. You get to train on the control menu and learn the controls but that doesn’t necessarily help you out very much. The counter punch you learn by tapping the B button twice doesn’t do any kind of damage. You have a dash which is the vein of Mega Man by pressing down and C. Then the worst part of the controls is the selecting of your weapons…this is the most tedious part of the game and with so much going on there is little time to switch. The game tells you that to switch weapons all you have to do is press A button but that is not all, you then need to use the directional pad to select the weapon and that is not what you want to be doing in a run and gun game. Every time you need a weapon, you have to stop, press A button, then select your weapon. Way to tedious. Now there another weird control input that just is not necessary and that is the other mode you get by pressing Down and B. First you can’t walk or run and gun at all. You have to stop and then shoot, why not run and gun? Oh wait that is what the other mode is for?! Pressing Down and B button will allow you to run and gun only in one direction; forwards, the interesting part is that you can shoot by running backwards only the way you are facing.

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With controls, music and graphics out of the way we can get to the more annoying parts of the game play. You can run out of ammo….No I am not kidding and I am not to sure how you actually replenish it unless you wait for the pick up item box to show your current weapon and that alone will take roughly 5 seconds and in a game like this that is way to long. The item boxes are spread through out the short levels, usually only having two per level and the item boxes are constantly changing the item and if you want to keep the same weapon, then you are going to have to wait for it. Its annoying but I get it, the developers wanted to do variety. Something that really is annoying is the trying to get health. You can replenish your health by killing enemies and they drop a very small diamond in the air, it varies on how much it gives. This wouldn’t be a bad thing if the enemies didn’t take such a big chunk off of your health. This is only a nit pick. The game only has two difficulties and honestly, there isn’t even the slightest difference in them; Super Easy and Super Hard. The default difficulty is Super Hard, why? I don’t know.

Final Thoughts: This game is weird to the max. I really have know idea what is going on from the story, to the creatures and to what is my mission. I know that it sounds like I am condemning this game but really I am not. These are just problems that I have seen for myself. I did find my self playing the game over and over again just to see how far I really could get before dying and really the only level that I could get far in was Level 1. Sorry to say that I couldn’t even beat the first boss, the boss was so eradic that predicting his moves was nearly impossible that and moving around in such a tight space. Like I said I kept wanting more, to see if I could defeat the first boss but unfortunately I threw in the towel before slamming the cart against the wall.

SCORE: 7/10

GRAPHICS:   8  AMAZING GRAPHICS! THE ENEMY DETAILS AND CHARACTERS IN GENERAL ARE AMAZING TO LOOK AT AND BACKGROUND SET THE STAGE FOR AN APOCALYPTIC WORLD.

SOUND:         5  THE SOUND ISN’T THE GREATEST AND CAN BE A HIT OR MISS, THE INTRO IS ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE BUT IT HAS CHARM

CONTROL:   6   SOMETHING TO GET USE TO, THANK GOD FOR THE CONTROL TRAINING MENU. WEAPON SELECTING IS TEDIOUS.

REPLAY:       8  THE GAME IS WEIRD AND MAKES NO SENSE WHY YOU ARE DOING ANYTHING. THE BEST PART IS THE BOSSES AND THE SENSE OF VICTORY AFTERWARDS IS GREATNESS IN ITS SELF.

A Modern Retro Adventure

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