Also known as “Boss Rush: The Game.” No kidding, this game is in the Guinness Book of World Records for “Most boss battles in a run-and-gun game.”
A game made by the same team that brought you Gunstar Heroes, and if you are familiar with that game, you will of course, play this game even without reading the rest of the review.
Alien Soldier is a side-scrolling shooter similar to Gunstar Heroes or even Contra, after all, this is a game with aliens.
Let’s see a little of the game:
Yes, this is going to be a hard game, and I’m not kidding, but once you learn how to move and attack, it becomes less difficult.
Let’s begin with the weapons. You have 6 to choose from, divided into 3 categories: Bullets, Fire and Lasers. Each weapon has its own weakness and strength, such as damage, speed of reload and types of enemies that are weak or strong against it. You have to choose 4 weapons in order to continue (you can even choose 4 of the same weapon).
Buster Force : This is the typical Bullet Gun. The bullets rebound if you don’t hit the correct target, and it’s probably one of the weakest weapons with medium range and low damage, but it has a really fast reload.
Ranger Force : This is equivalent to the spread gun in Contra. It’s useful against some mini bosses and more powerful than the Buster Force, but it uses more ammo. The reload time is similar to the Buster. The Ranger Force reveals the weak spot when used in boss battles (which is probably not that useful for those experienced retro gamers who already know how to find a weak spot just by looking at the enemy).
Flame Force : This gun has the lowest attack range, but it deals a lot of damage to most enemies. It’s useless in the water level and against some mechanical opponents.
Homing Force : This is probably the most useful weapon in the whole game. It has a really good range, fast reload and it also reveals a boss’s weakness, but unlike Ranger Force, this weapon attacks a direct point. This gun also doesn’t work underwater.
Sword Force : Lasers are usually the strongest weapons with the slowest reload, and this has the slowest reload of all. It has good range of attack, but it’s probably not the most useful weapon to use when you reach the plant level where you don’t have any items to replenish your ammo.
Lancer Force : This is probably the strongest of all the weapons. It has the best range of attack, but it fires very slowly. It’s faster than the Sword Force in terms of reload, and that makes it one of the most useful weapons in the game.
Once you pick your weapons it’s time to choose your status window:
Pretty useless if you ask me. You have 26 kinds of windows to choose from, but it’s really not a big deal because you would only ever use type 1 or 2. It’s overkill to have this option.
However, I give credit to Alien Soldier for allowing us to set our own controls and providing a screen to test every button:
The only problem is that this doesn’t tell you how to do the other moves, but that’s why I’m here.
Shoot Mode Change : This is probably the first game in which you can change the method of shooting in the middle of the game. Each mode changes the color of your armor, so you can know which mode you are in.
Fixed (White Armor) : This armor allows you to stay in one position and shoot in eight directions.
Zero Teleport/Freaking phoenix attack : This move allows you to dodge bullets and enemies while moving from one part of the screen to another.
Then you have the Phoenix attack (I couldn’t find a name for it, so I’m calling it that). This is the move that you have to use most of the time to kill the bosses. This move deals a lot of damage to the enemies, and you can only use it when your life bar is full.
Just look at this:
Once you use this move, you lose 50 points of life, but who cares? Everything is dead now, and if it’s not, then you have to use the next move. The only drawback is that you can’t use the phoenix attack underwater.
Counter Force : This is the move that you must use to recover health, and if you really want to survive, you need to learn how to use it.
This move allows you to deflect circular projectiles like bullets, fire and some solid projectiles like meteors or blocks. Lasers would be useless against the Counter Force.
Hovering : This allows you to use your propellers to float in the air. You can’t move in this mode but you can use the Zero Teleport, attack or make another jump.
I should also mention that you can walk on the ceiling by pressing up when you jump, but you would discover that quickly on your own.
There are no cheap deaths in this game, because if you suffer massive damage from an attack, the game leaves you with 1 health point to give you a last chance at redemption.
But yeah there’s at least 1 level in which if you screw one thing up, you are doomed
Oh man that’s not fair
Alien Soldier is focused on good gameplay, and it’s a really fast-paced game, meaning, you don’t press pause to change your weapons and the time limit makes your heart beat like a maniac.
And because I care about all of you, I have at least 3 recommendations on how to not die in this game:
1-You can change your weapon by grabbing some items. To increase your ammo, grab an item showing the weapon you are using, and it will increase the ammo of that weapon. You can only increase that 4 times, so remember to not be afraid of changing your weapon.
2-Don’t use the same armor all the time because there are bosses that are much easier by changing your method of shooting. The yellow armor is useful in the flying levels and against enemies that move around a lot. While the white armor is useful against enemies that spend more time attacking than moving.
3-All your weapons will recharge automatically except for the one that you are using. I always recommend selecting the weapons that recharge faster than others, or the ones that have full ammo.
Once you learn this, the game becomes less difficult that it may seem.
With that in mind, you can focus on the problems of the game, for example:
The lack of ammunition is a problem in many of the levels that are just one giant boss after another. I mean, this isn’t Megaman where you have all the guns to beat the bosses in Wily’s castle! You only have 4, not all of them work on the boss and I don’t have to remind you that you have a very short time limit to beat this enemy. Not to mention Counter Force doesn’t do much damage.
Never use Flame Force against Seven Force
The lack of cinematics or cut-scenes make the story hard to understand. I mean, I don’t know what’s happening here.
I beat a freaking mechanical bird on a space elevator. How the hell did I screw that up?
Some of the music doesn’t seem to be finished. I don’t know exactly why, but I feel that some of the music could be better. They are good songs but they are missing something. With the exception of the music in the first level and the boss battles, the rest seems a little less great.
The final boss is a total pushover, I mean, after everything you had to fight, the final boss is a complete delusion. Yeah, it has great design, but it’s lame for how easy it is to fight him. He’s only weak against Counter Force, but that’s not the problem. The problem is that this guy shoots a fireball that you can deflect with Counter Force which does massive damage to him. Since he is only weak against Counter Force, you will likely beat him by doing this by accident most of the time. Even if you don’t have any ammo whatsoever!
But after all is said and done, Alien Soldier is still a really good game with a fairly decent challenge. This is the kind of game that will make a man out of you (or an alien eagle). This is like Contra on steroids, and just for that I think that this game needs more attention. A remake could fix many of the problems and add more bosses. I already have an appropriate name for the remake: “Alien Soldier: Boss Rush, The Game.”