While Sega’s 1987 shooter Alien Syndrome was never considered amongst the upper echelons of coin-op classics, the game’s lickety-split gunplay, cooperative slaughter and relentless waves of suicidal monsters made it a guilty pleasure, and popular enough to be ported to every conceivable console back in the day. But despite attempting to reinvent the game for a new generation, the developers have failed to evolve a formula that was already tired and dated.
Despite the march of time and technology, the extraterrestrial scumbags that roam the isometric corridors are as bland and unimaginative as the pulsating worms you blasted 20 years ago, and there’s little satisfaction in blasting the same monsters time and time again (even if they are a slightly different colour). Even worse, the aliens in this Smash TV-style shoot ’em up move with all the grace of Vanessa Feltz wading through treacle, making it easy to run away from belligerent beasts when you can’t be arsed frying them with a laser. And while the aliens are wholly uninspiring, the monotonous, empty environments where they roam do little to rectify the situation, leaving only the nagging realisation that some game franchises would be better off left for dead.
Reviewed by David McComb