Treasure, you crazy, crazy bastards. Don’t ever change.
For the uninitiated, Treasure are a Japanese developer from the early nineties. In their history, they’ve ventured into Wario World, classic platformers like Dynamite Headdy and the futuristic badassery that is Sin and Punishment.
Most important, they brought the Sega Genesis such shitstorm-of-bullets madness as Gunstar Heroes. This stylish run-and-gunner was the company’s first game, and introduced us to many of their trademark quirks: unusual weapon/power up mechanics, toontastic explosions aplenty, awesome chiptune music in the eargasmic Mega Man vein… Not forgetting the trippy bosses that make you wonder what these effers are smoking and where you can get yourself some.
A couple of years later, all of these elements were polished up and thrust gonads-first into Alien Soldier. Hold on to your butts as we party like it’s 1995 and take a look.
The game’s a perfect example of the disappointment of the near future. The way the books and games of the past tell it, we should all be dicking about on hoverboards by now. We should be cruising along the highway in pollution-free electric cars, taking vacations on Mars and going forth and multiplying with some four-breasted extraterrestrial hotties. This one’s set in 2015, and sadly it’s all bollocks as well.
In Alien Soldier, everyone inhabits an alternative ‘A-Earth.’ On this planet, smart-ass science dudes have succeeded in developing a race of genetically-engineered superhumans. Which is, y’know, pretty cool, until a angry band of terrorists seek to take control of the planet and the powers of the ‘A-humans.’ In the power struggle, the group’s leader, Epsilon-Eagle, gets his ass whupped and barely escapes with his life.
In his absence, Xi-Tiger assumes command of the organisation, and soon proves to be an even bigger asshole than the first dude. Dude #1, then, recovers and sets out to defeat his rival and assume control once more.
It’s a bizarre tale of split personalities, weird mutant-things and shitty double-barreled names. But nuts to it all. Let’s just make peace with the fact that we’re a creepy bird man in a spacesuit and move on.
Alien Soldier looks and plays a little like Treasure’s previous run and gun effort, as mentioned. You mix and match power ups to change the properties of your weapon, perhaps something stronger with limited range or sacrificing power for a homing effect. There are also light platforming shenanigans to be done. But it’s the level structure that sets this mofo apart.
Treasure do not give any effs. They know the usual ‘complete a big ol’ level, defeat the boss’ routine, but that’s just not enough for them. In this game, the levels themselves are brief, simple affairs, and the boss battles themselves are the stars of the show. It’s a Monster Hunter-esque boss rush affair, and it’s all the more badass for it.
Take a look at Alien Soldier in action below.