Video Game / Alien Soldier

Japanese title screen, immediately setting the game's tone

Alien Soldier is a 1995 Run-and-Gun game by Treasure for the Sega Genesis. While it shares some similarities with other run-and-guns, the focus here is on lightning fast reflexes instead of using the strongest weapon avaliable. You play as Epsilon-Eagle, a cybernetic birdman who fights against the rogue organization Scarlet, travelling throughout the galaxy and leaving large amounts of carnage in your wake.

The plot, if it even matters, concerns a criminal organization of genetically-engineered beings called "Scarlet" who terrorized the planet Sierra. Their members are able to live within humans, animals and machines via a parasitic ability. Epsilon-Eagle, the leader of Scarlet, was ambushed by a team of Sierrans with super powers, and thrown into the space-time continuum. The new leader of Scarlet, Xi-Tiger, was hated by his own men for being too ruthless compared to Epsilon, and as such he wanted to destroy Epsilon once and for all. Xi-Tiger attacked a Sierran research laboratory where he sensed Epsilon in the body of a boy. He took a random girl hostage so as to force Epsilon to come out. Epsilon, instead, transformed from a boy into a cyborg birdman. However, Epsilon's good human side began to overcome his evilness and made him want to fight the demons. This annoyed Xi-Tiger, who killed the girl before running away. The plot actually makes even less sense as it proceeds, with the planet blowing up and Epsilon ending up fighting a giant mechanical lion called Z Leo without the player really having any idea who he is or why this is necessary.

Of course, none of that actually matters. What does matter is lots of explosions, sick Genesis music, a badass and super powerful main character and lots and lots of bosses. More than twenty of them to shoot, in fact.

Epsilon's a handy fellow, able to carry four weapons at a time. Each one of these can be chosen from a list at the start of the game:

Epsilon-Eagle has several unique abilities at his disposal, including a dash-like teleportation, levitation, a bullet-neutralizing shield, as well as a Ceiling Cling. All of these require the player to be on their toes, as waves of enemies and powerful bosses come after them.

This work contains examples of:

  • 0% Approval Rating: Xi-Tiger, the new leader of Scarlet. He's hated by his own comrades due to being too ruthless towards the Sierrans, tries to kill off his old deposed leader, but what takes the cake is that he takes an innocent girl hostage AND KILLS HER. When you fight him, he literally transforms himself into a monster tiger.
  • Airborne Mook: The flies that flew round in random circles, then shot at you and kamikazed into you. Hope you have the Homing Force ready...
    • Those bomb-dropping birds can be a pain in the ass too.
    • As well as those things that travel in long lines and explode into suicide bullets, found at only one part of the game. A smart player can use the Bullet Catch ability to turn their bullets into health.
  • All There in the Manual: The confusing plot, such as it is, is outlined there. Did you know children can turn into birdmen if they're posessed and pissed off enough, or that a clone of a birdman might be a giant metal bird with laser wings?
    • The properly-translated version of the rom does tell the story properly in the intro.
  • Arbitrary Maximum Range: All weapons except for Lancer get this as their ammunition goes lower.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: All bosses have a weak spot, where you must hit if you want to do big damage to them (or even damage them at all).
    • Some of the enemies are even more bizarre: they have a different weak spot against different weapons. For example, Wolfgunblood's head is weak to fire weapons and the Buster Force, while Garopa's head is weak to the Lancer Force. Though Homing Force says the target on Wolfgunblood is somewhere else entirely.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Ranger, and to a lesser extent, Sword.
  • Badass Boast: The engrish laden quote in the title screen (replicated at the top of the page) is essentially this, as it was the tagline for the Japanese campaign of the console. Treasure's usage of the tagline, along with the line "For Megadrivers custom" is their way of saying Alien Soldier was tailor made to push the Megadrive and its Motorola 68000 CPU to its absolute limits.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Averted by the aformentioned teddy bear, who is the only ally you'll get the whole game. The track that plays during his stage is even named Epsilon's Ally.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Quite a few, such as Antroid, Bugmax (a moth), Viblack (a giant fly) and Back Stringer (which unceremoniously eats the former).
  • Bird People: Epsilon-Eagle.
  • Blackout Basement: One of the levels takes place in complete blackness save for a few background lights- you have to use your Muzzle Flashlight to light it up.
  • Boss Arena Urgency: Back Stringer. If the baby spiders pull the remains of the previous boss, Viblack (a.k.a. the platform you're standing on), to the bottom of the screen until it disappears, you'll keep falling into the bottomless pit OVER AND OVER AGAIN (read: Game Over)!
  • Boss Game: Stages are generally short, with only a handful of enemies at a time in the spaces between one boss and the next. Currently, it's second only to Cuphead for "Most boss battles in a Run-and-Gun game", at 25: as Sega Power put it: "There are bosses and bosses and bosses. Even the bosses are bossed about by other bosses."
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted. Limited ammunition for your strongest weapons is one of the largest threats you face. It only recharges when you collect a new weapon, or switch to a different one.
  • Bullet Catch: Epsilon-Eagle's main defensive ability. Hit the shoot button twice to create a small forcefield that turns enemy fire into health. Make sure you don't do this with a Lancer equipped, though, since doing so wastes its already-limited ammo and cancels the shot to boot.
  • Came Back Wrong: You know that girl that died in your failed attempt to save her? Not only does she became one of the game's bosses, she's freaking Seven Force.
  • Cameo: Melon Bread (referred to in this game as "Jampan") and Seven Force, both markedly different from their Gunstar Heroes incarnations.
  • Cast from Hit Points: At full health (health bar flashing white), Epsilon-Eagle can utilize a fiery teleport-dash which destroys any Mooks in its path as well as heavily damaging bosses. However, this attack does come at the cost of a few hit points, so you need to collect the rather frequently-dropped health powerups.
  • Ceiling Cling: Epsilon-Eagle's other main ability.
  • Cherry Tapping: Run out of ammo from one of your weapons and it becomes a weak-as-hell "yellow short-range smoke" shot thing. You can still use it to defeat bosses. It's one of three ways to damage the Final Boss (the other two being shot reflection and your fiery dash which you can only use once against him).
  • Collision Damage: Just about every enemy save for some bosses.
  • Continuing Is Painful: Using a continue or password removes extra ammunition and health.
  • Creepy Child: That girl that Xi-Tiger is said to have killed in the opening text scroll? She shows up as a late game boss.
  • Crosshair Aware: When using the Homing Force, a crosshair will appear on the boss' weak spot.
    • Epsilon-1 also has these during the boss fight against him. Get out of the way or else you'll be blasted by the mecha bird's Eye Beams or a laser from a Kill Sat.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Both Epsilon and his opponents don't show any signs of tiredness or damage at low health.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: The game continues even after Xi-Tiger is defeated.
  • Do Not Run with a Gun: You can switch to and away from fixed-fire mode, though the moving-fire mode drains more weapon power.
  • Dramatic Thunder: In the boss battle with Xi-Tiger.
  • Dub Name Change: The terms "A-Earth" and "A-Human" are changed to "Sierra" and "Sierrans" in the European version.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The planet literally blows up about halfway through the game. Then, um...Well, it's not really that clear.
  • Logo Joke: The Sega logo appears and dissipates against a space background, along with the Treasure logo.
  • Low Clearance: One of Wolfgunblood and Garopa's "attacks" involves the horse signalling to a warning ahead. Shortly after, it'll either jump or lower itself to avoid 2-4 high or low incoming walls, and if Epsilon doesn't move high or low to avoid he'll take collision damage from them.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Wolfgunblood and Garopa: If you think it's a wolf who wields a gun, is out for your blood, and is riding on a galloper, you're damn right.
    • Sniper Honeyviper: It looks like a snake, and it sends out bees. Thankfully it can't give you headshots.
    • Antroid: Ant + Android, it is indeed a giant humanoid ant.
    • Back Stringer: Being a spider, it strings things up. On their backs, presumably.
    • Shellshogun: A bipedal alien samurai tortoise. Enough said.
    • Seven Force: See below.
  • Mechanical Horse: Wolfgunblood rides one of these.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: From half man, half eagle to half lion and half mecha
  • Muzzle Flashlight: You're going to have to utilize this in the Blackout Basement stage.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Many of the bosses:
  • Nintendo Hard: Even on the easiest difficulty, the game is obscenely hard in Treasure tradition.
  • Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits: Somewhat. Falling into a pit will trigger a button-mashing sequence to get out while your health drops at a steady rate.
  • Painful Transformation: Xi-Tiger. Though the cutscene showing this sometimes doesn't work.
  • Power Floats: Epsilon-Eagle's other other main ability. Hit the jump button in midair to do this.
  • Spread Shot: The Hunter Force. Pity it was kind of useless from the beginning...
  • Stat Meters: Upon startup, you can choose how your health, your ammunition, and the bosses' health meters are displayed. They can be made invisible, even.