Alpha Mission II

Neo Geo

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 5

Sound: 7

Gameplay: 5

Overall: 5

Power-ups are the key to just about any shooter. Design a game without them, and the game suddenly loses everything that makes the genre great. But, what if the power-ups are so many that is simply causes confusion in the middle of the battle? That's exactly the problem with "Alpha Mission II."

A sequel to a decent if derivative NES SHUMP, this Geo title puts players (going either solo or co-op) in control of the effective death machine SYD-FX. It seems this alien thingy named Fulvar is once again trying to take over the world along with assistance from the Seven Star Alliance. Of course, this is the year 2525, so even a ship as small as SYD can tackle anything thrown at it in an attempt to repel this invasion.

"Alpha Mission II" borrows various concepts from other shooters. Those who have played "Xevious" will certainly recognize the bombs that attack ground targets, "R-Type" fans will overwhelmed again with stage 2's gigantic single ship enemy, those who enjoy "Galaga" will recognize the ship transformations, while absolutely no one will figure out or recognize the power-up system.

They generally come down from little blue crystals that are shot to reveal the necessary upgrade. These can then again be shot to change what the player will receive. In the middle of a massive firefight, it is far too easy to blast a needed power-up into one you have no use for. Items taken from the ground generally allow the players ship to morph into a real killing machine, but there is hardly any explanation for what most of these actually do. Yes, this is a shooter that requires extensive knowledge of the instruction book. Oh, and is it too much to ask for auto fire?

Graphically unremarkable, "AMII" has a few brief moments that may be impressive, but there is little here that couldn't be done on a lesser system. Stage 2's boss, which players dismantle piece by piece, is one of the few highlights. The soundtrack on the other hand does a great job of keeping players in the action while the stereo effect is one of the best on the system.

There is little reason to play this when so many other shooters are available for the console. "Last Resort" is an excellent first-gen alternative while "Blazing Star" is probably the best of the best. This is a game that tries far too hard to separate itself from the pack, and in the process, renders itself virtually impossible. Only the most resilient fans of the original will find something to like here.


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Last updated: Sunday, October 31, 2004 08:08 AM