Review: Alien Syndrome

Review: Alien Syndrome
Review: Alien Syndrome

Alien Syndrome is one of those games that you'll probably look at at and go "hmm, this might be good". So you go out and get the game for your Nintendo Wii, pop the disc in and as it loads into the Wii interface you start thinking how cool this is going to be.

And then you start playing and it all goes horribly wrong.

Originally released as an arcade game in 1987, Sega's Alien Syndrome is a remake of a classic top-down shooter where you'll fight your way through a space station of evil alien creatures hell bent on your destruction. While that might sound like an otherwise enticing premise, it doesn't work.

The story picks up 20 years after the original Alien Syndrome which is a nice touch being that it's more or less exactly 20 years since the original game was released. A planet far, far away has suddenly decided to lose contact with the rest of space and your character, Aileen Harding is sent to investigate.

To start with, you're given a minor RPG element as you choose the sort of character you'd like to be. There's a Demolitions Expert, Firebug (someone who likes flamethrowers), SEAL, Tank (the character who is big on melee weapons), and a Sharpshooter. Don't be misled; these are all pretty much the same class except with slightly different (and occasionally completely useless) guns.

When you get there, you're quickly thrust into a world where you'll wander around on screen using the Wii-mote to aim and fire and the Nunchuk to move. While the controls can be interesting, the camera isn't. Camera control is even more troubling because you have to tilt the Nunchuk to get the camera to move to a different angle. All of this creates an awkward and misguided control system which is likely to cause you to yell quite loudly at your TV set. Even the gesture system for melee attacks is odd and quite frankly doesn't work with the rest of the controls.

All of that aside, you can start wandering through the levels which are more or less all the same. Much like the original, you'll be tackling the game from a top-down view. The only real difference is that the developers have felt the need to confine that experience within the grips of a weak and ugly 3d engine.

As you push on, you'll find your way littered with irritating and ugly 3d alien creatures who you'll try to mow down with your gun but who will ultimately always kill you. Did I mention that you've only got one-life to live? If you die, it's back to the drawing board. So you'll do this again... and again... and again...

I tried liking this game, I really did. I went at it with an open mind, saw the name "Sega" and got excited. And after playing it, I felt the urge to throw the game box out of a window. My only true salvation is that the box sort of smells like green tea ice cream.

Seriously, I cannot contain how bad this game is. It just seems like it's been poorly planned and released on the cheap. The story goes nowhere, the weapons you might "upgrade" to seem to do less damage, the sound is flat and boring, the art direction leaves a lot to be desired, and ultimately it's boring. You will end up playing the same recycled enemies time and time again who seem to spawn themselves in and out of the space-time continuum as if it's no big deal.

The sad truth of the matter is that while Alien Syndrome tries to stay as close & fun to its predecessor as it possibly can, it really only fails and leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth.

Developer: Totally Games
Publisher: Sega
Classification: M
Formats: Wii
URL: Alien Syndrome

Reviewed by Leigh D. Stark

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