It's ALF, everybody's favorite cat eating alien! If you somehow missed the adventures of Gordon Shumway (aka ALF), then what's your excuse? It was the story of a 200 year old alien life form (ALF) who gets stranded on Earth away from Melmac, his home planet. Instead of getting all melodramatic, ALF makes the best of his situation and teams up with your traditional sitcom family. Little did the Tanners know what they were getting themselves into when they "adopted" cute little ALF ... but one thing was sure, for over 100 episodes ALF was their e-ticket to a half hour of funny.
But just because the TV show was cancelled doesn't mean you can't enjoy ALF for what it was. The DVDs have been released, television channels are still running reruns, and that cartoon is being passed around on the internet ... but there's one adventure that seems to have been forgotten. I am, of course, talking about the ALF video game for the Sega Master System. While it's certainly not the best game you will ever play on that system, ALF still deserves to be discussed just so people know what they are getting themselves into.
ALF the game takes place right after Gordon Shumway has crashed his spaceship. It's an action game not unlike Acclaim's Simpsons' games for the Nintendo Entertainment System. You hop around in a 2D environment avoiding the feds and collecting items you need to progress through the game.
The basic structure of ALF is sound; you're always trying to find something in order to do something else. For example, when you first land you must grab the cat so you can scare the mouse in the basement where you find an item you have to sell at the store in order to buy a key that unlocks a door that leads to a swim suit that you need to dive into the lake where your next item is located. That is the kind of adventure ALF goes on, just one big scavenger hunt.
This wouldn't be a big deal if the controls weren't as bad as they are. It's just a little too easy to get hit and die, and you only get one continue to beat this game. Worse yet, when you do get a chance to attack (usually with some sort of meat product) there's a noticeable delay between when you push the button and when Gordon strikes. It's not too bad, but you'll end up dying a few too many times because you forget about that second delay.
The graphics are what you might expect from a Sega Master System game in 1989, it features colorful graphics and a few cute characters. A few of the enemies look downright creepy, though. The alien police that are after you look more like drugged-up pedophiles than men in black. And why is there a giant snail in the Tanner's house? Did I miss that episode?
ALF is not a great game, if anything it's just a passable attempt at a TV show cash in. Still, there are a few moments in this ALF game that brought a smile to my face, but they come only after you've spent an hour or so frowning. Like those 8-Bit Simpsons games, this ALF title is devoid of any of the humor we've come to expect. Instead we just get a basic platforming adventure game with a cute character that kind of looks like Gordon Shumway. Unfortunately that's not enough of a reason to recommend this game.