Super Aleste (also known as Space Megaforce in North America) is a Vertical Scrolling Shooter, part of the Aleste series and developed by Compile for the SNES in 1992.The plot varies by region. The North American version is your typical shmup Excuse Plot: a Featureless Protagonist is sent to stop an alien threat and destroy its homeworld. The Japanese version is a bit more complicated than that.Either way you pilot a ship known as the Aleste (or ED-057 in the NA version) capable of using one of eight different weapons, each with seven different power levels. Shot types come in all flavors, such as the standard Spread Shot, Frickin' Laser Beams, and a Charged Attack. On top of that, the Shot-Control button can be used to manipulate each weapon in some way.Super Aleste is very long by shmup standards, with 12 stages each lasting on average 7 or more minutes. However, there is also a "short game" that takes only 4 stages, if you are pressed for time.
Super Aleste contains examples of the following:
All There in the Manual: The U.S. version's manual contains an elaborated version of the story, such as it is, as well as the names of the bosses. (The Earth has been attacked by a mysterious alien invasion fleet. Your mission is to fight your way past the fleet, destroy the aliens' supply bases, and then return to Earth to finish off the invasion force itself.)
Attackable Pickup: You might think the green weapon pod and Blue Lander are destructible since your shots can hit them, but if you shoot them enough they change into other items. A green weapon pod becomes an Enemy Eraser (a screen-nuking bomb that also converts one of your lives to a special life), and a Blue Lander becomes a Red Lander (giving you a special life instead of a normal one, an extra bomb, and maxing out your power level instead of just giving one level).
Weapon number 3, the Circle, consists of defensive drones that circle around the player's ship, absorbing enemy fire and dealing Collision Damage to enemies they touch. Pressing Shot-Control stops them from spinning, allowing them to be used offensively by placing them on top of an enemy for continuous damage.
Weapon number 7, the Sprite, which fire bullets. Pressing Shot-Control toggles between the Sprites following your ship or staying in place relative to it. Unlike some kinds of drones, the Sprites take damage when they touch or are shot by an enemy, and can even be destroyed if they take too many hits. This lowers your weapon level by one, but it's not as bad as taking a hit yourself and losing up to 4 levels.
Battleship Raid: Area 2, a raid on the space station-like structure Lono with generous use of Mode 7.
Charged Attack: Power Shot, the 6th fire type. Like the other less-direct weapons, it includes basic guns that fire forward while you're charging, but you can disable them to make it charge up faster.
Check Point: You are sent back to one upon death, unless your next life is a yellow "special" life, in which case you respawn in place.
Continuing Is Painful: You do get unlimited continues, but you have to start with a level 0 weapon each time.
Crutch Weapon: The Homing Missile is good at keeping someone unfamiliar with the game alive through the beginning of the game, but they're not so good at dealing with the game's more dangerous threats.
Cut-and-Paste Translation: The Western releases remove the anime-style protagonists in favor of a faceless pilot, and change the plot to your typical space-themed shmup Excuse Plot. Also, the Area 3 music, unique to that area, is swapped with the music for Areas 6, 9, and 10 for some reason.
Deadly Walls: Averted. Your ship can safely touch walls, as long as it doesn't get squished between a wall and the bottom of the screen.
Multiple Shot (weapon 1) can be toggled to fire almost every which way (literally in all 8 directions if powered up enough).
Laser (weapon 2) has a homing mode.
Circle (weapon 3)'s drones that circle around your ship, letting you hit enemies in any direction, as long as you're close enough to them.
Multi-Direction Shot (weapon 4) can be fired in any direction.
Missile (weapon 5) defaults to homing mode.
Destructible Projectiles: Some enemies shoot projectiles that can be destroyed with any weapon. The glowing red projectiles, however, are vulnerable to some attacks but not others. Specifically, normal bullets don't affect them, but the Laser (one per laser beam), the Circle's drones, a Missile's explosion (but not the shot itself), the Power Shot (both the charged blast and the green circle that appears in front of your ship while charging), and the Scatter Shot's projectile (one per shot) are all capable of destroying them.
Harder Than Hard: If you press right after highlighting the Hard difficulty, you get Hyper. On the other hand, going left, past Normal, gets you Tricky and Wild/Lunatic. (In order from easiest to hardest, the difficulty levels are Normal, Hard, Hyper, Tricky, and Wild.)
A summary of the difficulty levels:
Normal: "Standard" difficulty
Hard: Enemies have more health than in Normal
Hyper: As in Hard, except that enemies move more quickly and shoot more often
Tricky: As in Normal, except that every enemy shoots a bullet at your current location whenever they die
Wild/Lunatic: As in Tricky, except that enemies move more quickly and shoot more often
It Is Pronounced Tro-PAY: According to the katakana for "Aleste" (アレスタ), it's pronounced "A-le-sta" rather than "A-le-ste."
Last Chance Hit Point: The below-mentioned life-power connection. As long as your shot power is at least level 1, you'll drop to level 0 at worst.
Life Meter: Sort of. Your shot power level, which goes from level 0 to 6, acts as your health. Taking a hit drops you up to 4 levels. Taking a hit at level 0 kills you.
In Area 8, if you shoot the walls, pieces break off that can kill you. Most weapons, when upgraded, have bullet patterns that will hit the walls constantly. Your saving grace is the Sprite weapon, which, under normal circumstances, tends to be outclassed by the others.
Also, when playing on Normal, Tricky, and Wild difficulties, weapons that don't do much damage per hit but can fill much of the screen with bullets tend to be good choices, but when you play on Hard or Hyper, the enemies become able to take much more damage before dying, which forces you to fight with weapons that do more damage to individual targets. Oddly enough, the weapon named "Multi-Direction Shot" turns out to be the best at this, making it excellent on Hard and Hyper but a poor choice for the other difficulty settings.
Recurring Boss: Zolba, the Area 1 boss, gives you a rematch in Area 10.
Smart Bomb: You hold down the bomb buttton to launch one, then release to detonate. It then creates two circles of explosions: an inner circle that does concentrated damage, and an outer circle that expands to hit everything on-screen for less damage.
Spread Shot: Multiple, the 1st fire type, though you can toggle between different kinds of spreads. Scatter, the 8th type, shoots orbs that burst into spreading bullets on impact.