February 15th, 2007, 01:08 Posted By: wraggster
In 1987, Sega released an action packed science fiction title in the arcades with large scrolling levels, tons of malevolent monsters and two soldiers trying to survive. Alien Syndrome was a fast paced run and gun style game where players had to rescue captured humans from alien ships infested with creatures. Not only did players have to contend with the swarming beasts with flamethrowers, lasers or fireballs, but they had to defeat a boss once all the hostages had been saved. Now, twenty years later, the title is being resurrected for the PSP as an action RPG with shooter elements.
Taking place in the distant future, players take on the role of Aileen Harding, a lieutenant in the Earth Command forces. Aileen is dispatched to a ship which has ceased responding to any communications. Initially, she thinks that it's just a transport which has been disabled, but once she lands on the ship, Aileen discovers that things are much stranger than they appear: from the looks of the landing bay, a massive firefight broke out with the crew, although no bodies are visible. What's more, there's some kind of organic material covering the walls that appeared to have fused with the hull of the ship. As she travels across the 40 levels of the game, from ships to space stations and even alien planets, she discovers a looming threat to all humanity across the universe.
Fortunately, Aileen has the skills necessary to repel these creatures. At the start of the single player campaign, players will have the opportunity to define Aileen by choosing from one of five character classes: Demo Expert, Firebug, SEAL, Sharpshooter or Tank. The classes help determine the four primary stats for the character, such as strength and endurance, as well as starting equipment and abilities. Like many RPGs, Aileen's choice of character class will determine just what weapons and equipment she can and can't use in the field of battle. For instance, Demo Experts are good with explosives, so they start out with bomb launchers. However, her knowledge with detonators means that her skills with other firearms are probably a bit substandard.
Now, just because Aileen doesn't know how to use a weapon doesn't mean that she can't learn. Later on in the game, players can slowly teach Aileen how to use gear that isn't designed for her character class. But in the meantime, you can actually profit from miscellaneous equipment you come across during the infestation. Thanks to Aileen's personal robot who follows behind her every step, you always have a one stop shop to scrap items for ammunition or money to purchase new gear. More than 80 weapons and over 100 pieces of armor and other items are available in the game, so there should be plenty of ways to eliminate the dozens of alien species over the course of the adventure. More than 100 different aliens will slither, crawl and claw their way towards Aileen, not counting the numerous mini-bosses within the game.
Now while the game pays homage to the original title with gameplay elements like saving hostages and escaping a level before time runs out, the PSP version has definitely got a number of improved features. For one thing, players will have an complete auto-map to help them navigate the large levels without fear of the fog of war hampering their exploration. Another difference is the sheer size of the title. Whereas the original game featured 8 maps, Alien Syndrome for the PSP will feature at least 20 hours of play across three separate difficulty levels: Normal, Hard and Expert. What's more, character progress can be carried over from previous saved games, so you can develop high powered characters, although the aliens will scale up in power to match your skills. Fortunately, if things are getting too difficult, you can call in some friends and engage in 4 player co-op over ad hoc.
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