Alienstorm logo

US GOLD £25.99

OK, you know the score, alien slimeballs have come to take over our planet because they've completely trashed their own. You're the only one hard enough to save us from becoming alien hors d'oeuvres. Cue sideways scrolling and Operation Wolf style blasting action, as you try to rid the planet of these foul alien slime bag type things.

Alien Storm began life as a coin-op with really smooth graphics and some smart sounds, unfortunately the Amiga incarnation doesn't. The graphics are big, colourful are well drawn, but need a little more polish to make them sing. The sound, well did you ever own a Stylophone? It seems Tiertex (the coding team) did and they must still cherish it judging the music. It's not THAT bad but it barely varies throughout the game and like the gameplay, the sound effects drain enthusiasm rather than drawing you into the game.

Alien Storm isn't really that bad, it's just not that good! The coin op was mindless but fun, the conversion is mindless and occasionally fun. Playing with a friend does stretch the lasting appeal out a bit, and make life easier, but it can't carry the weight of a full game.

Alienstorm logo

Der Name Sega steht bekanntlich für feinste Actionkost aus der Spielhalle - und tatsächlich hat uns der Alienstorm-Automat gut gefallen, als wir ihn für's Coin Op getestet haben. Aber das ist lange her...

...Zwischenzeitlich konnte schon die Umsetzung fürs Mega Drive nicht so recht begeistern, und am Amiga ist vom einst so spektakulären Aliensturm nur ein laues Lüftchen übriggeblieben. Sicher, daß auf der "Freundin" nur zwei Ballerfinger gleichzeitig ran dürfen (anstatt der drei beim Automaten) ist verständlich, genau wie man daheim halt keine Präsentation in Spielhallen-Qualität erwarten darf.

Aber den ganzen Spaß der Vorlage hätte man auch wieder nicht wegkonvertieren müssen! Das Szenario ist noch ganz das Alte: Ein Haufen kunterbunter Aliens hat sein Raumschiff in unserer Umlaufbahn geparkt und piesakt nun die Menschheit. Daher suchen wir uns erst mal einen von drei Weltrettern aus - ob man sich für Gordon mit dem herzerwärmenden Flammenwerfer oder den Roboter Scooter und seine Elektropeitsche entscheidet, ist letztlich aber Jacke wie Hose.

Außer ballern, mit einer Spezialbewegung ausweichen oder Smartbombs schmeißen können sie alle drei nix...

Die Alienhatz führt den bzw. die Helden durch sechs Missionen, die sich in je drei Abschnitte unterteilen: Auf der Straße werden von links nach rechts (und ein Bißchen in die Tiefe) blaßgrüne Schleimbatzen, wandelnde Mülleimer und ähnliche Absonderlichkeiten niedergemäht, in parallax-scrollenden Räumen wie dem Suermarkt, HiFi-Laden, Labor etc. ist dann Fadenkreuz-Killen im Stil von "Operation Sowieso" angesagt.

Dazu darf man in einer Art Bonusstage Außerirdische in einem Höllentempo vor sich herjagen: wer hierbei Schaden nimmt, sollte seinen Joystick an den Nagel hängen. Leider ist aber fast das ganze Spiel ein einziger Bonuslevel. Hat man sich mal an die hakelige Steuerung gewöhnt, stellen einen höchstens noch die Schlußmonster vor Probleme, der Rest der Alienschar läßt sich mittels Dauerfeuer praktisch im Vorbeigehen ummieten!

Ja, die Helden sind von derart robuster Natur, daß man sich das Aufsammeln von Zusatzenergie (Batterien) und weiteren Smartbombs fast sparen kann - dank der fünf Continues hat auch der schwachbrüstigste Alienjäger schon bald das ganze Spiel gesehen! Und allzuviel gibt es da nicht zu sehen: Die Grafik macht zwar zunächst einen hübschen Eindruck, jedoch ruckelt das Scrolling, es fehlen die lustigen Gags des Automaten, und die Animationen köcheln auf Sparflamme.

Von der krächzenden Musik und den biederen FX ganz zu schweigen. Daß man im Gegensatz zum Mega Drive die abschließende Leistungsbeurteilung vor einer Alien-Jury nicht vergessen hat, ist zwar so originalgetreu wie lustig, kann aber aus Alienstorm auch kein gutes Game mehr machen - wer hier knapp hundert Steine investiert hat, hat sein Geld wortwörtlich in den Wind geschossen. (rl)

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Oh dear, it's Christmas (part two)...

Do you believe in reincarnation? Well, the time is the future - or could it be the set of some 1950's sci-fi B-movie? - and what we have here are Gillius Thunderhead, Tyris Flare and Ax Battler strutting their stuff once again. Either them or their grandchildren. Alien Storm is revisited, there's no getting around it.

At least, that's the idea. Unfortunately, in the process of swapping goblins for slime-monsters, axes for flame-throwers and loin-cloths for laser-resistant shell-suits, something's gone missing. In Superman III when Gus Gorman attempts to make Kryptonite, he has the formula exactly right except for one crucial ingredient - as a result, the fruit of his labours doesn't quite work and Superman gets nasty.

It's the same with Alien Storm. Unfortunately the elusive ingredient X here is the gameplay. The result? Well, it's nasty too - a tedious hacking game that's certainly no superhero. There's none of the gung-ho hook of Golden Axe, revealing a shallow game underneath the glossy graphics.

So how does it all work? Well, as in Axe you chose to play one of three different warriors (player two can join in the ruck allowing two characters on screen at once), each equipped with an individual weapon.

It's your sorry lot to plod through six levels of slithering, oozing and scuttling aliens - the action is in forced 3D, allowing your player to walk around or somersault over the bad guys - simply, erm, killing them all.

As you make your slow but inevitable progress through the game, different formations of alien hard-nuts waddle onto the screen. Annihilate the whole gang (a brawlish business that usually degenerates into merely facing off with a bug-eyed internal organ of some description and pummeling the fire button through the floor) and a 'Go!' message is flashed in the top righthand corner. Your character walks forwards another ten yards, the background scrolls to keep up, and the next bunch of mutated trick-or-treaters are thrown into the lion-s den.

And that's it really. Every now and then s sub-plot level rears its ugly head - for example, you may well find yourself summoned to do a rentokill job in one of the buildings en route, the action now taking an Operation Wolf view point as the aliens pop up from behind shelves and inch their way towards you - but the vast bulk of the game is this rather limited scrolling beat-'em-up. Before too long, the level will suddenly finish and the whirr-clunk of your disk drive tells you that yes, there's really is yet more of the same. The whole business is really rather simple.

Technically, Alien Storm is fairly respectable. The graphics are both large and colourful, and on the whole they move smoothly. The soundtrack cuts a natty little number and (on paper) there's little missing: special weapons; forced 3D; three characters; two-player action; the lot. But lots of parts added together don't necessarily make a whole, and as a game Alien Storm comes across as sorely lacking. Very dull stuff on the whole.

Alienstorm logo

Conversions of arcade games sound like a good idea on the face of it - you get a ready-made design, all the kudos of a bigname licence from a major arcade manufacturer and guarnateed sales. Unless, of course, the game itself is a bit of a hound, and Alien Storm is just that, the kind of coin-op which gets churned out just to keep the production line busy until the next biggie comes along.

Alien Storm retreads the standard aliens-invading-the-earth scenario. These particular aliens are not simply your average aggressive slimy extraterrestrials, they also have a habit of transforming themselves into everyday objects. This helps explain way, as the game begins, you are assaulted by a dustbin with tentacles.

The people entrusted with the humdrum task of eradicating the intruders are a bunch of UFO spotters who, according to the dependably ridiculous scenario, set up base in the local Burger Cafe. What do these slime slaughtering muthas of destruction call themselves? Alien Busters... that's what!

There's three of them: Harla, a flamethrower-wielding Amazon lashed into a red jumpsuit, a braindead hunk called Gordon, and Scooter, a rather sad-looking robot armed with what looks suspiciously like a string of sausages.

The game is divided into six missions each with a corresponding number of levels (thus mission six has six levels). This may sound like plenty of variation but in truth it rapidly boils down to three fairly tedious screens which repeat themselves with monotonous regularity.

Scene one has your Alien Buster ripping into a variety of refugees from Trapdoor and motorised bird's eggs until they're all gone. Scene two is set in a warehouse and takes the form of a straight ahead shooting gallery that bears a passing resemblance to and which seems to go on interminably. Finally, there's the fast scroll across the screens which looks as if everything has been caught up in a very strong gate.

No matter how good a programmer you are I defy anyone to transform this game into a presentable piece of action on the Amiga. You can't do much when there's nothing there in the first place. So while the graphics aren't bad they're hardly anything to get worked up about. What could have been done is to add on some impressive sound effects or a decent tune, because the one on offer here is a pathetic keyboard doodle which wouldn't pass the entrance exam at a school for the musically retarted.

Alien Storm is an incredibly average two-player game that's as disappointing to look as it is to play.