Take Aim or Slash in Alien Syndrome on Wii--Literally
July 24, 2007 - With a glut of top-down shooters on the market, Alien Syndrome strives to set itself apart with a control scheme taking advantage of the motion-based functionality Wiimote. And unlike other Wii titles that wedge in a novelty gyroscopic mechanic or two into the game and call it a console-port day, Sega ambitiously set out to have the unique controller central to the action experience.
For those who didn't grow up prodigiously wasting quarters at the old-school arcades, Alien Syndrome is based on a top-down, run-and-gun shooter harking back to 1987. The simplicity of the gameplay was also its hook--blast baddies, collect increasingly powerful weapons, and frag the extra-terrestrial monstrocity waiting at the end of each level. Retaining the same perspective but in 3D, the modernized version retains the same frenetic pacing, but with a Wii-specific, motioned-based twist.
For starters, the game is no longer a simple action game, as Alien Syndrome introduces a variety of RPG elements including class specializations. Depending on the character style you select, the gameplay diverges, assuring you that you won't experience everything in the first run-through.
As a melee class, for example, much of your moves are executed by physically waving the controller. A lunge with a pole arm, for example, is done by thrusting the Wiimote forward. Swing the controller in circle and--you guessed it--your digital avatar does a 360-degree attack. When an alien abomination is on its death throes, you can plant a gratifying finishing move by thrusting both the Wiimote and nunchuck in a downward motion.
Shooting in most action games can be an inflexible, if not frustrating experience. Especially in games where you can aim independent of your character's movement, it usually entails a complex control scheme that's difficult to master. Classic arcade titles such as Frontline or Smash TV are shining examples of this experience, especially in their inability to aim beyond the standard eight analog directions. In Alien Syndrome, however, the run-and-gun is far more intuitive: your movements are controlled by the analog stick on the nunchuck, while aiming is done through the IR-based Wiimote cursor. Thankfully, you only have to worry about the direction for aiming, and not the exact position of the cursor itself. Alien Syndrome even handles the camera manipulation through the Wiimote--simply tilt the nunchuck attachment to move your perspective in the direction you want.
For those who want in on the nostalgic action (but with a next-gen twist), the game is available now for a suggested retail price of $49.99.