Alien Syndrome – A worthy introduction to an undiscovered console
Confession time…. I’ve owned a Sega Master System for the better part of a decade now, and have yet to hold its controller. Now don’t get me wrong; I’ve always wanted to start it up and play through my shelves of dusty titles – but the never-ending backlog of games has an unearthly way of growing bigger with every passing year. Recently, however, the CCWeekly crew had put out a #CCMission to let them know what our favourite Sega Master System games were – and I’d be damned if I wasn’t gonna give them an answer.
But where to start? 10 years of collecting vs. my 10 minutes of research left a gaping hole in my usual selection process. Do I dive right into the heavy hitters? Nah, too safe. Should I attempt a franchise that I’m already familiar with? Nah, too familiar. Maybe I can randomly select a game from the shelf? Nah, too risky. I know! Let’s just start with the letter A!
“Let’s just start with the letter A!”
Alien Syndrome was a game I’d only ever heard of but knew nothing about. I’d never played it in the Arcade, or on the NES, or on the Game Gear….or the MSX…or DOS…or Amiga…or Atari ST…or Commodore 64…or Sharp X68000…or Amstrad CPC…or ZX Spectrum…or my toaster oven. In fact, the Sega Master System was the only port I owned! So knowing nothing at all, I popped it in.
In this 8-bit, overhead shooter, you play as either Mary or Ricky (sadly no two-player co-op in this port), as you fend off an alien race that has an uncanny resemblance to Ridley Scott’s Xenomorphs a la the Alien franchise. The game takes place across 7 unique Space Colonies, with your goal being to rescue the captured colonists and detonate the stations; always frenetically battling a creatively grotesque boss before escaping in the nick of time.
“an arsenal of lasers, flamethrowers and…pea shooters at your disposal”
“Blood-curdling screams of your dying character is probably the game’s best audible achievement.”