Sinclair User

Alien Syndrome
Spectrum 48K

Published in Sinclair User #79

Alien Syndrome

They're disgusting. They're slimy, They'll suck your brains out. No, they're not estate agents - they're the aliens in Alien Syndrome, one of the most eagerly-awaited coin-op conversions of recent months. It's here, and all things considered, it's pretty good. Of course, you aren't going to get a faithful version of the coin-op on the Spectrum; the colour's gone, the sampled sound effects have gone, but the action and the sliminess remain.

Set on a multi-level space station complex, each level of which is loaded separately from tape, the game involves more mindless blasting than you'll have seen since Gauntlet. The stations are infested with hideous alien life forms, and you must battle through them to rescue your ten comrades from each level. A time bomb has been set to destroy each level, so don't mess about.

You can choose to play either a hunky man. Rick, or a curvaceous bimbo, Mary, though this doesn't make any difference to the gameplay. There's also a two-player mode where both characters can compete, but you must be careful not to shoot your comrade.

Alien Syndrome

The huge playing areas are shown in a sort of flip-scroll display which works quite nicely. Around each complex are dotted map displays, which show the general layout of the complex, your position and those of your comrades; and lockers containing alternative weapons. Once you have rescued ten of your friends, you can make your way to the exit at the top of the screen. That's when things start getting really disgusting.

The inter-level guardians are the most obscene masses of quivering protoplasm you've ever seen; crosses between insects, foetuses and blancmanges which spurt boiling phlegm at you. If you can do it without gagging, concentrate your fire on them as they slop around. When they explode, watch out for the flying limbs; they're still deadly and must be shot or avoided. After that you get a bonus according to your speed and efficiency, and a prompt to load the next level.

Each level is of a different type; on some, you have narrow causeways, on others, complex corridors. The aliens change too; on level one, squirmy maggots which sit up and spit at you; level two, boiling pits of hammer-headed monstrosities.

It's simple and straightforward, and it's non-stop blasting. If you like Gauntlet you'll like this, but in my opinion it's even better; true, there are hordes of aliens, but each one forms an individual target, rather than them merging into a boring mass. Great pukey fun.

Overall Summary

Exciting and stomach-churning; a fast-moving coin-op conversion.

Chris Jenkins

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