Almost two decades since the original Alien Syndrome title was
released by SEGA, the title has made an innovative comeback on the
Wii. The original title featured a top-view arcade game where the
gamer was transformed into the Ripley-esq hero called Aileen Harding
who virtually blasted away a hoard of aliens into their next life.
Needless to say, the title was quite revolutionary at the time and if
Hollywood can remake movies, why can't game developers.
The story of Alien Syndrome is classic 1980's story telling and for
the gamer begins on an abandoned spaceship where our soldier and
hero, Alien Harding is searching for survivors. Ironically not much
has changed since its original incarnation and in its essence Alien
Syndrome is your classic alien dungeon crawler RPG that gives the
player a variety of different classes and weapon types that include
melee, explosives, flamethrowers, projectile and lasters.
The gameplay of Alien Syndrome is hard paced and throws in a
plethora of enemies which is reminiscent of game such as the
original Gauntlet and Diablo. The control system is extremely
responsive on the
Wii and even though the gameplay does become quite repetitive at the
best of times, the various classes and weapons available helps break
the tedium of the game.
In a classic RPG template, the more aliens you kill, the more
experience points your characters is awarded which for levelling.
Once your character levels, they are awarded points to distribute to
your statistics and proficiency slots. Although your class determines
your starting statistics and proficiencies, it is up to the player to
remold the character into his or her perfect character. Aileen is
also accompanied by a robotic companion called the SCARAB, with
which you can scrap the junk loot you acquire. The SCARAB can use
these to create new equipment and ammo for you.
The control system on the Wii is quite innovative, the analog stick
on the Nunchaku moves your character with the B and A buttons are
used to fire your primary and secondary weapons. By pressing down on
the control pad, melee mode is activated, which causes the aiming
reticle to disappear but enables a number of new motions. Simple
combo attacks can be performed with the B button, while slashing
sideways with the Wii remote triggers a more powerful attack.
Slashing downwards performs a hammer blow, thrusting forward stabs
in front of you, and spinning the remote in a circle causes a
powerful spinning attack. If an enemy is near death, signaled by a
ring glowing around it, raising the Wii remote and Nunchaku up and
then bringing them down will cause a powerful finisher that restores
While melee combat offers a lot of options, the controls are not
nearly as intuitive or as responsive as those for ranged weapons.
Also, because hordes of enemies will often be coming at you
seemingly nonstop, being able to beat them back from a distance
offers significant tactical advantages as well. The weapons
available to ranged combat are also more varied and distinct,
leaving melee better as a last resort, should you run out of ammo.
Graphically Alien Syndrome is quite basic on the Wii with its
lackluster gaming environments, although there are a few cool
special effects here and there. With this in mind, the title is
oozing with 80's glory but then again, that should be no excuse. The
soundtrack also goes hand in hand with the graphics as are the sound
effects and its a shame that Alien Syndrome did not receive a true
make over which would of made this a rather cool game.
In conclusion, Alien Syndrome is a fun game on the Wii that does
become quite repetitive and unfortunately uninspired as you progress.
Those that loved Gauntlet or Diablo will definitely enjoy this title
on their Wii's and the enjoyable multiplayer aspect will bring back
"coinop" memories from those old arcades. Most gamers will be able to
complete this title in around 20 - 25 hours with those willing for a
challenge, trying one of the more difficult levels.