Monday, February 08, 2021

Manual Stimulation: Alien Syndrome (Game Gear)

I don't know if I've made this clear here, on Twitter, on Facebook, or elsewhere on the internet, but I adore Alien and Aliens

I'm specifically talking about the classic horror and sci-fi films, of course; not the, uh, beings from outer space in general.

I mention that because it should go a long way toward explaining my attraction not only to the 1986 arcade version of this game, but the boiled-down Game Gear port from 1992 I'm highlighting in this post.

After all, there's little denying Alien Syndrome was heavily inspired by James Cameron's classic 1986 sci-fi action film, Aliens.

This isn't to imply Alien Syndrome offers nothing new or unique. The enemies and especially bosses it throws at players are a world away from the ones found in the aforementioned flick.

To be honest, the low-level aliens you fend off in this Gauntlet-esque, run-and-gun shooter tend toward the lackluster. Thankfully, the end-of-stage guardians more than make up for it.

This version of Alien Syndrome isn't a straight port of the quarter-munching original, by the way. According to the intro, the Game Gear version a follow-up set five years in the future.

I can't say that's immediately noticeable while playing the portable iteration, but it's a nice bullet point all the same. 

Something else that's worth noting about this release is its brevity. The game offers up just four stages. Successfully finishing them is no easy feat, though, so at least there's that. Still, few are going to describe Alien Syndrome for the Game Gear as a meaty experience.

Most who play it are likely to call it a tense and thrilling experience, though. It absolutely nails that aspect of the source material. As such, playing through it again and again—or at least more than once—is joyful rather than annoying.

Have any of you played the Game Gear port of Sega's Alien Syndrome? If so, what did you think of it?

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