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Alien Soldier Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Rating: 85%
Alien Soldier
Alien Soldier Alien Soldier Alien Soldier Alien Soldier
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There was a moment in the tenth level when I had to put my Genesis controller down and take a break. It's not because I wasn't having a good time, but rather the fact that Alien Soldier is simply too damn exciting. Between the non-stop enemies and bosses, the game is tiring. It felt like I played through a dozen average 16-bit shoot-em-ups in the time it took me to go through these ten stages. And then I realized, I still have another fifteen levels of this madness to overcome.

Released in Europe and Japan in 1995, Alien Soldier was Treasures final game for the Sega Mega Drive (our Genesis). It's as if the makers of Gunstar Heroes decided to put all of their leftover ideas into one of the most explosive games you'll ever play. This isn't your typical shooter; it's a series of boss battles strung together by the thinnest of level design. This is Treasure testing your ability to withstand 25 of the biggest, baddest bosses ever to hit Sega's 16 bitter.

Alien Soldier (Genesis)

In most games you play through a constructed level in order to come face-to-face with a boss encounter. Alien Soldier isn't like most games. Here the bosses are barely split up. At most, the gamer has to spend twenty to thirty seconds between bosses, and usually it's less than that. With the exception of an elevator, you are only headed to the right, generally with few obstacles. In that sense, it's actually a lot like Shadow of the Colossus on the PlayStation 2.

At first you're fighting through cities and other generic warzones, nothing you haven't seen in dozens of other shooters. But it doesn't take long before you're fighting on top of an airplane, surfing on a luxury yacht, get buried under a sinking city, fight under water, in the sky and even in space. About half way through you blow up an entire planet, and that's not even the craziest part of Alien Soldier.

Alien Soldier (Genesis)

Of course, the real stars are the 25 bosses. There's a giant robot bird, humans that seemingly transform into monsters for no reason, a big smiley face, an organic boulder, a killer space station, fire snakes, robot horsemen of the apocalypse and much, much more. There are so many bosses in the game that the end credits take more than six minutes. Not all of the bosses are as impressive as others, but you can't argue with a game that gives you so many amazing looking baddies to take down.

Outside of the endless boss battles, you can see a few of Treasure's other quirks. For example, the game allows you to select four weapons from the start and cycle through them in the heat of battle. You also have a number of special moves, including a useful dash that will get you out of trouble in a hurry. The game also looks a lot like a 16-bit Treasure title, stealing some of the boss effects from Gunstar Heroes and Dynamite Headdy.

Alien Soldier (Genesis)

As great as it is, Alien Soldier isn't without a few faults. Although I appreciate being able to cycle through weapons, I found the pop-up to be unwieldy in the heat of battle. I would have preferred a one-touch approach. Also, it would have been nice to be able to run and gun, as opposed to being stuck in one place when shooting. I like the way Gunstar Heroes handled it two years earlier.

Alien Soldier is short on words, but has enough action to make it a must-play. It's not an easy game, especially when you realize that you're expected to fight through all 25 bosses in one life. But it's ultimately worth the trouble, which is not something you can say about all 16-bit action games. Don't be fooled by the generic title, Alien Soldier is one of the best games of the 1990s.
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