Published by: SEGA
Developed by: Totally Games
Available on Nintendo Wii, PlayStation Portable
Alien Syndrome allows you to assume the control of Earth Command Trooper Aileen Harding, where you will be able to face hordes of aliens in order to save the earth. As you go along, you'll be able to upgrade your abilities and armor and skills as you blast through bosses and other general nastiness.
Last time, I reviewed another alien/bug type game for the little innovative system that could, and that was Escape from Bug Island, and it was awful stuff. This time around, I have chosen to take on Alien Syndrome, which was released around the same time and is in a similar vein. Originally an arcade game in the eighties, Alien Syndrome was given a facelift and ported to the PSP not long ago, and has finally made its way to the Wii.
And although it's not great, it sure is a lot better than that Bug Island game. Alien Syndrome is really a bargain bin game, and as such it is pretty decent. That's what I would say if it weren't priced at full retail price, anyway. As a fully featured $69.99 game, Alien Syndrome is not worth your time. You grab a hold of your buxom hero, and blast your way through enemies, which is relatively fun and works well enough. You can control the camera via the nun chuck and shoot with the Wiimote, which is fine, although not very innovative.
As with most titles that weren't designed specifically for the Wii, Alien Syndrome tacks on a motion control to make the game more attractive to those who want to actually use their Wii for something fun and it's awful. By swinging your Wiimote, you'll enable your melee attack which will allow you to take out an enemy in close quarters. Melee attacks aren't a bad thing, but oh man is this poorly executed. It simply is broken and doesn't work very well; you're left sitting there on your couch flailing away while cursing at the screen and wondering if you need to change your remote batteries.
The rest of the game actually plays fairly well, even though it is fairly mindless. You've got a SCARAB bot which hangs around you all the time to facilitate your upgrading needs, as well as serving as a fairly useless turret. It's fun to go through the game and upgrade your various weapons and see what they can do, and believe me you'll make a mess with them. The most redeeming feature here is the ability to play some multiplayer.
Without the ability to blast along with a buddy, this game loses a lot of steam fast. However I always enjoy having a buddy over to ream some intergalactic scum (not that way, sickos) to kill a few hours and believe me, I've played far worse multiplayer games. Far worse. You'll beat the game in one sitting more or less, and while Alien Syndrome is expandable to play with four players, you can't see what's going on because the screen is so busy with all of the targeting reticules onscreen, so stick to two players.
The graphics here just aren’t pretty. If you read my review for Bug Island, you'll see a continuing trend- no one is taking advantage of the Wii at all. It's not a powerhouse, but it can do so much better than this. Once again, you'll notice PS1 quality textures that are murky, pixellated and ugly as can be. I could be wrong about this, but it would seem that Sega simply blew up the PSP version of the game to fit on our home TV screens. For those of us with beautiful widescreen displays, god help us, you'll barely be able to tell what's going on. This is unacceptable, barely passable stuff.
In your head, picture what you'd expect a generic space alien game to sound like. Ok, well you're pretty much spot on with all of the bleeps, bloops, splatters and explosions and generic alien sounds, set to a bland soundtrack. It's not terrible, but there's absolutely nothing remarkable about the aural experience to be found here.
Alien Syndrome is a moderately fun game that you'll blow through in no time. The gameplay and sound are only okay, budget title stuff, while the graphics are terrible. It isn't a complete chore to play through, and if you're playing with a buddy, it's a decent rental. However, until it gets to hit the bargain bin, don't even think about buying it. Serious.
FINAL SCORE: 5/10