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1917 - The Alien Invasion Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . 1917 - The Alien Invasion is a fun but basic vertical shoot-em-up inspired by the hits of the early 1990s. While it's short and doesn't do enough with the time period, the price is right and the boss fights are well designed. 1917 - The Alien Invasion is a fun shooter that is over too soon. Rating: 64%
1917 - The Alien Invasion
1917 - The Alien Invasion 1917 - The Alien Invasion 1917 - The Alien Invasion 1917 - The Alien Invasion
  • Review Score:

  • B-
For as much as I love old-school shoot-em-ups, you have to admit they're a little dumb. While action-packed, they almost always tell the story of a solo pilot who is somehow able to defeat an entire alien army without any help. That's a level of wish-fulfillment you don't see in most other genres. Not even the most epic war game has you rushing into battle without back-up. This sounds like the worst strategic move imaginable, yet it seems to work in hundreds of games.

Proving once again that you can't argue with results, 1917 - The Alien Invasion takes the one-man-on-a-mission theme and runs with it. However, there is one wrinkle, as the best man for the job just so happens to be a woman. Her name is Dr. Brunhield Stahlmuller and she's the only one courageous enough to take on the alien forces for one final stand.

Inspired by the classic action games of the early 1990s, this is a short but exciting vertical shoot-em-up in the vein of M.U.S.H.A. and Sonic Wings. We pilot the Red Bezzlebub, a nimble little ship that can weave through enemy fire and power-up its guns. We start with simple green bullets, but it won't take long before it becomes a large spread shot capable of taking down the many types of alien fighters.

This is all pretty standard stuff. You fly through five simple stages that lead to a series of aggressive boss fights. The Red Bezzlebub isn't able to change weapons, just upgrade the one it starts with. Aside from the power boost, the only other pick-up is a shield, which proves to be the most useful item in the entire game.

1917 - The Alien Invasion (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

While the gameplay is nothing new, 1917 does offer a unique scoring mechanic. Dr. Stahlmuller will pick up a key at the start of each stage which unlocks the combo gauge. The idea is to keep killing aliens to increase the combo multiplier, which you will lock into place right before moving on to the boss fight.

Speaking of which, these boss fights are easily the highlight of the game. Forget shooting down boring old space ships, 1917 has you going up against large and menacing alien creatures. We get to fight the horned Chessmaster, the Mad Rocket Slave and the disturbingly named Dragon of a Lying Whore. While not overly complicated fights, these bosses explode into a fountain of blood that is surprisingly satisfying.

1917 - The Alien Invasion (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

With the exception of the Red Bezzlebub, there isn't much here that ties the game back to 1917. We spend all of our time in outer space, far away from any of the locations our ancestors knew and loved. This feels like a missed opportunity, since it would have been fun to see the aliens taking over old-timey cities and huge landmarks. The space battles are still fun, but these stages are indistinguishable from any other shoot-em-up on the market.

While I wish the developer had done more with the era, 1917 - The Alien Invasion is a fun little shooter with some very cool boss designs. Although it's a short game that probably won't take you long to beat, it does offer enough bang for the tiny price point. The plan may have worked this time, but I still say it's a stupid idea for one person to take on an alien army.
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