Game Cover
©1988 Sunsoft
©1987 Sega
©1988 Sanritsu
Release: 1988-12-02 (¥5500)
Cartdridge SAN-AZ

American Version
Released in America as
( unlicensed )
Alien Syndrome is an overhead run-and-gun shooter by Sunsoft and conversion of Sega's arcade game of the same name originally released in 1986. In the year 2089, humans have colonized many distant worlds in the galaxy and this achievement came at a terrible price. Vicious aliens have taken control of several space stations and hold their human crews captive. Two space commandos (Ricky and Mary) are sent to rescue the prisoners and take out the hideous aliens and their grotesque leaders. A total of seven space stations are overrun by hordes of crawling and slimy monsters, and the commandos have a limited amount of time to rescue all of the twelve captives before a time bomb explodes and vaporizes the place. Although each commando starts the game equipped with a standard Blaster Gun, other more effective weapons are available for the taking throughout the levels. They are stored inside weapon bays (located on the side of the walls) and range from fireballs (FB), Laser Cannon (L) and Flame Thrower (F). Other special items can also be collected the same way, such as bonus points (?) or Warps (W) which instantly transports the player to another location within the space station. Finally, a map displaying the shape of the visited station and the location of the remaining hostages can be accessed during the game. Once all the captives are freed, players must leave the floor through an exit door and fight the level's boss. Although they are rewarded additional time when exiting the floor, the more time they spent rescuing the prisoners, the less time they have for the boss encounter. A two-player simultaneous mode is available.
screen shot screen shot screen shot screen shot screen shot screen shot
screen shot The Alien Syndrome arcade game was originally released by Sega in 1986 (picture on the right). It was then ported to countless home systems at the time such as the Sega Master System (1987), MSX (1988), Famicom (1988), Commodore 64 (1988), Amstrad CPC (1988), Atari ST (1988), Commodore Amiga (1988), Sinclair ZX Spectrum (1989), PC Dos (1989), Sega Game Gear (1992), Sharp X68000 (1992). Alien Syndrome was then resurrected in Sega Ages 2500 Series Vol. 14: Alien Syndrome (Playstation 2, 2004), which was also included in the American's Sega Classics Collection (2005) (but surprisingly omitted from the European release). Finally, a new iteration of the game was released in 2007 for the Nintendo Wii and Playstation Portable.

Although the Famicom port tested here is fairly faithful to the original game, it still shows some differences. In the arcade game, the player must rescue at least 10 captives (each level features more prisoners than need to be rescued) whereas the Famicom port has exactly twelve. The list of available weapons was also reduced - the arcade game also featured secondary turret-robots, a rapid fire and bombs. Finally, the Famicom's gameplay is a lot slower.

Teaser text copied from the American version:
The battle between flesh and slime.
The extra-terrestrials in this game are anything but friendly. There're slimy monsters that are holding space colonists captive aboard seven alien starships. For one or two players, this super action game challenges you to free the helpless hostages. Search each ship deadly levels, using flamethrowers and laser cannons to vaporize alien scum. Look for maps to help you find your way. After you've saved all the captives from one ship, you must destroy its powerful leader before you can move on to the next ship. Remember, to the aliens, you're slime. And they want you good... and dead.

Game Staff (Copied from the American version end credits) :

Aliens Staff

Naoki Okabe
Tetsushi Nakamura
Yuji Koharu
Sound Editor
Noboru Machida
©1988 Sun Soft
©1987 Sega
©1988 Sanritsu


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Add your Pov here !

For me, Alien Syndrome is an undoubtedly memorable game from the 1980s, thanks to its unique, imaginative and gruesome alien design. Bosses are especially odd and I can only marvel at their creative and twisted nature. So how does this conversion compare to the original game ? Personally, I think Sunsoft did a good job and this port is relatively faithful to the arcade game. Controls are sadly a bit slower overall and the weapon's firing rate is rather sluggish and limited. The color palette is also a bit bland and has lost its original vibrancy. But Sun Soft, despite the obvious hardware limitations, has managed to keep the two-player simultaneous mode, which was a brave and yet successful move despite some occasional sprite-blinking. All in all, Alien Syndrome is a decent conversion and a straight forward run-and-gun shooter that turns out to be rather challenging and fairly unforgiving (much like the original game though).

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