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Video Game / Alien Soldier

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Japanese title screen, immediately setting the game's tone

Alien Soldier is a 1995 Run-and-Gun game by Treasure for the Sega Genesis, serving as a Spiritual Successor to Gunstar Heroes. While it shares some similarities with other run-and-guns, the focus here is on lightning fast reflexes instead of using the strongest weapon available. You play as Epsilon-Eagle, a cybernetic birdman who fights against the rogue organization Scarlet, traveling 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 named Fou. He took Fou's girlfriend Kaede hostage so as to force Epsilon to come out, causing Fou to transform from a boy into a cyborg birdman. However, Fou's good human side began to overcome Epsilon's evilness and made him want to fight for good (a process that, apparently, split his evil side away). Xi-Tiger killed Kaede and ran away, triggering Fou and Epsilon's combined rage as they chased after him. The plot actually makes even less sense as it proceeds. Epsilon continues his rampage against Scarlet even after he defeats Xi. He ends up facing off against his evil side Epsilon-1, only for the planet to explode afterwards with no explanation, and is then shown visiting what seems to be an alien wizard, who sends him back in time. Epsilon, of course, goes back to doing what he does best. He massacres the rest of Scarlet, is forced to destroy Kaede who has been revived as a shapeshifting (and familiar-looking) cyborg, and faces off against a giant cyborg lion - Z-Leo, whose significance to the plot is completely unknown.


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 defeat, 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, as well as swapped for using powerups:

  • Buster Force, a standard, rapid no-nonsense blaster which starts bouncing off everything about halfway though the game.
  • Flame Force, a short-ranged flamethrower. The boss-killer, as long as the enemy is organic.
  • Homing Force, which fires homing flames. Extremely weak but ammo-efficient, dependable, and easy to use. It even ignores non-weakpoints and undamagable parts of bosses, giving you guaranteed, albeit low, damage. It will also reveal Flying Neo while it's invisible. Recommended for new players.
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  • Ranger Force, a slightly useless spread gun. Decent at high ammo, where the shots explode, but awful damage when running low.
  • Sword Force, a continuous laser. Essentially a Buster Force that has less ammo efficiency but won't bounce off things.
  • Lancer Force, a non-continuous laser that uses high ammunition. This one deals heavy damage to all kinds of bosses, but requires good aiming skills.

Epsilon-Eagle's other abilities include:

  • Zero Teleport - An invincible teleport dash.
  • Levitation, from which he can perform a double jump.
  • Casually walking on ceilings.
  • Counter Force, which is executed by double-tapping the attack button. It briefly spawns an orb at melee range that absorbs or deflects enemy attacks, and can spawn life pickups from absorbed attacks.
  • The ability to switch between stationary 8-direction fire and firing on the move. Done by pressing down + the weapon select key. Note that firing on the move will use more ammo.

Epsilon also has some more niche offensive capabilities:

  • If Epsilon's ammo runs out, he starts using a drastically de-powered Flame Force. However, this weapon bypasses all enemy immunity (Even the final boss's!) and is easy to utilize for counter spam.
  • Counter Force also happens to deal decent damage and shares the emergency weapon's bypassing capabilities, allowing offensive use.
  • If Epsilon is at full health, his teleport dash heavily damages all enemies it passes through for each frame spent passing through them. Take note that while the screen borders won't stop the dash, anything solid will. Epsilon is also shown using this ability a few times in cutscenes. Using this ability also damages him a bit.

Mastering this diverse arsenal is the key to mastering the game.

Alien Soldier 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 fought, he fully transforms his human host, eradicating him.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Stages 10 through 14 take place in massive waterworks (large enough for a boat to speed through them), with water that damages Epsilon if he falls into it. Among its bosses are a mutant shark and a giant lobster with swords for hands, with smaller lobsters frequently showing up as well.
  • Airborne Mook:
    • The bugs that fly around in circles if you get close, also shooting at you before exploding. Ranger and Homing counter them though.
    • The bomb-dropping birds, especially in the more claustrophobic areas where the walls can shield them.
    • The drones 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 said bullets into health.
  • All There in the Manual: The confusing plot, such as it is, is outlined there. Scarlet members can apparently exist both as parasites that possess people and as the monstrosities fought in the game. This might also explain why the Epsilon fought in the game is a giant metal bird with laser cannons for wings. The properly-translated version of the ROM does tell the story correctly 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 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 Force is good against mooks, but requires point-blanking to do good damage to bosses, and that only goes if you're at high ammo. While most weapons just lose range, Ranger Force gets a huge damage nerf at low ammo instead.
    • Sword Force is essentially a less efficient Buster Force, until you realize that Buster Force will become nigh-useless later in the game.
  • 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 aforementioned 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 is a humanoid, cyborg 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.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Buster Force is as basic as a peashooter weapon gets, but it has good range, a large ammo capacity, and refills quickly while inactive. It starts to deal tiny damage or bounce off of bosses late in the game.
    • Sword Force - A worse Buster Force with less ammo and range, but with more damage. Hurts all the bosses though, including Sirene Force.
    • Homing Force allows you to essentially just focus on dodging while it whittles bosses down. Other than Bugmax, Sirene Force and the first two space bosses, it can get you through the whole game, though at a very slow pace.
  • 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 repeatedly until it drains all of your health. Although this can be bypassed by killing the little spiders right before they finish dragging Viblack off the screen. They'll stop spawning, the boss will attack as if you fell down, and the fight becomes a cakewalk.
  • 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 (not counting the five or so mid-bosses). As Sega Power put it: "There are bosses and bosses and bosses. Even the bosses are bossed about by other bosses."
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted. All four of your weapons have limited ammo. Collecting powerups of the same weapon you have expands its ammo capacity, up to double the starting one, in addition to refilling it to full. Weapons also recharge while they aren't used. The stronger weapons like Flame and Lancer Force have very low efficiency.
    • Your ammo also drains faster if use the mode that allows moving while firing.
  • Bullet Catch: Counter Force. Hit the shoot button twice to create a small orb that turns enemy fire into health and reflects certain projectiles.
    • Make sure you don't do this with a Lancer Force equipped, since doing so wastes its already-limited ammo and cancels the shot to boot.
  • Came Back Wrong: You know that girl that died in the intro? She fights you later in the game as Seven Force, and is the single toughest boss to kill.
  • The 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 power-ups.
  • Ceiling Cling: Epsilon-Eagle can jump onto ceilings and walk across them, should one be present above him.
  • Cherry Tapping: Epsilon's emergency weapon,which looks like a tiny Flame Force and deals insignificant damage, also happens to bypass boss Immunity, and is one of the three ways to kill the final boss. You can beat the whole game with it if you want.
  • Collision Damage: Just about every enemy save for some bosses deals damage if you touch them.
  • Continuing is Painful: Using a continue or password removes extra ammunition and health.
  • Creepy Child: Kaede, the girl that Xi-Tiger is said to have killed in the opening text scroll, shows up as a late game boss. Worse still, she's also a really powerful one called Seven Force.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Both Epsilon and his opponents don't show any signs of tiredness or damage at low health. Especially odd when Epsilon has been reduced to one hit point- he looks perfectly fine until he gets hit again, after which he explodes in a fiery mess.
  • Crosshair Aware:
    • Using certain Force weapons causes a boss's weak spot to be highlighted with a crosshair, telling you where to shoot.
    • 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.
  • Crutch Character:
    • Flame Force is vital for the first two-thirds of game, but most of the bosses after Back Stringer are mechanical and thus take no damage from it. Only three bosses after Back Stringer are vulnerable to Flame Force, and one of those is Melon Bread.
    • Homing Force is useful for level segments and for hitting bosses that move around a lot, but later on its lack of damage starts to become more apparent and the level segments become less important, so it's more effective to spam Lancer Force on bosses by that point.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Xi-Tiger, the villain in the backstory, is only the ninth boss of twenty-five; the majority of the game takes place after Epsilon defeats him.
  • 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: Lightning bolts strike in the background during the boss battles with Flying-Neo and Xi-Tiger. For Flying Neo, the lighting helps to show where the boss is when it turns invisible.
  • 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 blows up randomly about halfway through the game. The credits show that it's whole again, though. The explanation depends on just where or when the space wizard sent Epsilon to.
  • Elevator Action Sequence: The battles against Epsilon-1 and the Stage 24 boss take place on elevator platforms. For the former, the platform is always rising, while you can adjust the height of it in the latter fight by pressing up and down.
  • End Game Results Screen: Upon clearing the game or getting a game over, the game displays a results screen showing your score, total enemies killed, total damage taken, and statistics for every stage (how much time it took split between the level and the boss and how many continues were used).
  • The End of the World as We Know It: The planet inexplicably blows up partway through the game. It gets better.
  • Enemy Roll Call: After the credits roll, the game showcases the game's bosses in a slideshow. Oddly, the reel doesn't include every boss (leaving most of them only named in the results screen), though all of Seven Force's forms are featured.
  • Enemy Without: Epsilon-1 is Epsilon-Eagle's villainous side manifested as a robotic bird. Despite being derived from Epsilon-Eagle, it doesn't fight like him at all.
    • Has an explanation, though. Scarlet members can both possess people and slightly alter them, as well as take on larger, more monstrous forms. Xi-tiger's host is shown to have claws for hands. The playable Epsilon has a heavily-modified human form. Presumably you could also turn into a giant bird, but what fun would that be?
  • Energy Weapon: Sword Force fires a continuous laser beam that somehow loses range as it consumes ammo, and Lancer Force fires a large singular beam with infinite range.
  • Eternal Engine: Most of the game's environments are machinery-themed, with the first and last few stages standing out.
  • Evil Is Visceral: Nearly all the enemies and bosses until the last few bosses are this.
  • Explosions in Space: Your heat-based weapons, which don't work underwater, work fine in space. A boss fought in space uses fire breath against you.
  • Exty Years from Now: The game was made in 1995, and takes place in the "distant" future of 2015.
  • Face–Heel Turn: The girl Epsilon failed to save in the backstory ends up coming back for a boss fight as the mechanical Seven Force.
  • Flash Step: Epsilon has an invincible dash move that zips him from one side of the screen to the other. At full health, he turns into a fiery phoenix that inflicts a great deal of damage to those in his path, although it does come at a cost to his health.
  • Freefall Fight: Silpheed Force drags Epsilon off a cliff and into the open air, which allows Epsilon to move freely in all directions similarly to the later underwater and space sections.
  • Giant Enemy Crab:
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Literally every single boss in the game apart from Xi Tiger. From a Giant Enemy Crab in a train station to a cyborg cowboy wolf riding a Mechanical Horse in a tunnel, the bosses just turn up randomly with no explanation whatsoever. Even the bosses with a link to the story make no sense, such as Seven Force being the girl that Xi Tiger killed in the prologue becoming a giant shapeshifting monster, and Epsilon's Superpowered Evil Side becoming a massive cyborg eagle.
  • Giant Spider: Back Stringer is the same size as Epsilon, and it devours an equally large fly midboss before fighting him.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Epsilon does this in the game's intro.
  • Helpful Mook: Any Mook that can fire those orange shots at the player. They will drop health pickups when their shots are destroyed via Bullet Catch. You're going to thank them for that, by the way.
  • High-Altitude Battle: Occurs during the fight with Silpheed Force, which is also a Freefall Fight.
  • High-Speed Battle: Wolfgunblood and Garopa are fought while racing alongside them through a zero-gravity tunnel; approaching walls serve as frequent obstacles. Earlier on, a giant lobster is fought on an out-of-control speedboat, which affects Epsilon's jumping.
  • Hit Points: You can choose to have this as an indicator for how much life you and/or the boss has.
  • Horse Jump: Wolfgunblood and Garopa use this as an "attack" when the low walls appear. You gotta avoid the walls too or risk getting damaged.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Superhard and Supereasy. In the latter, enemies are less tough, you receive unlimited continues (via a password system), and pausing gives you the option to slow the game speed down, but it's still nowhere near simple to complete.
  • Intentional Engrish for Funny: The tagline quoted at the top of the page, which is apparently touting what Treasure could squeeze out of the Sega Genesis' Motorola MC68000 CPU in terms of graphics, framerate, and sound quality. It's also the Japanese Mega Drive tagline, from even early on in the console's lifespan.
  • Invisible Monsters: Flying-Neo, a creature that looks like a cross between a zombie dragon and a helicopter. Once you get it down to a quarter of its health, the goddamn thing becomes completely invisible save for a silhouette of its tail and legs on the platform you're on when it flies low or when the lightning strikes.
    • Homing Force still neatly reveals its location with its crosshair.
  • Kill It with Fire: You get two flamethrowers: a conventional one, and a homing flamethrower. Fire works very, very well on organic enemies, especially that giant plant Sunset Sting.
  • Keystone Army: Averted. Xi Tiger is killed less than halfway through the game, but Epsilon still has to fight his way through many more of Scarlet's ranks before the end.
  • Land Mine Goes "Click!": Mines, both on the ground and floating in midair, are a common obstacle.
  • Last Chance Hit Point: No single attack can kill you outright; you must be reduced to one health first, giving you time to collect health. However, some attacks are rapid enough that you won't have a chance for this.
  • Life Meter: One of the selectable ways to know how much life left that you have or the enemy has. If desired, you can turn them off.
  • Lightning Reveal: Done in the fight against Flying-Neo. Once you get it down to a quarter of its health, it turns invisible. The background flashes of lightning will give away its silhouette, though.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Defeating Z-Leo causes his base to explode, which Epsilon makes a getaway from in the ending cutscene.
  • Logical Weakness: Organic bosses (such as the mutant Sunset Sting flower) take a lot of damage from the Flame Force, and as a logical resistance, mechanical enemies aren't affected by it at all.
  • 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. The string, of course, comes from its back end.
    • 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 and 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.
  • One-Man Army: Epsilon has no allies, but that doesn't stop him from wrecking an entire legion of aliens and machines.
  • Outrun the Fireball: In the ending, Epsilon uses his fiery dash to escape Z-Leo's exploding base.
  • Painfully Slow Projectile: A few boss attacks create these, while Epsilon's own Lancer Force shoots a slow laser that needs to be timed well to deal the most damage.
  • Painful Transformation: Xi-Tiger undergoes one to change into his tiger form, though the cutscene showing this sometimes doesn't play.
  • Power Floats: Hitting the jump button in midair suspends Epsilon in place, letting him fire from there until he cancels it or gets knocked out of it.
  • Ratchet Scrolling: The short level segments only scroll leftwards or upwards to prevent backtracking.
  • Random Events Plot: How else to explain the planet exploding for no reason at all and being sent back in time by a space wizard to fight a giant cyborg lion?
  • Reality Ensues: The developers made it such that fire attacks don't work underwater when fighting against Sirene Force. Fire still works in space, though.
  • Ring Menu: Epsilon switches weapons through a circular menu displaying all of them. The action does not stop while it's open and getting hit closes it, so using it during a boss fight requires good positioning.
  • Rule of Cool: Wolfgunblood is a anthropomorphic cyborg cowboy wolf with a gatling Arm Cannon, riding on a Mechanical Horse, Garopa. It's one of the strangest boss fights in the game. See the picture at the top of the page.
  • Sequential Boss: Seven Force Kaede, which despite the name only has five forms (not including the human form that Kaede starts in). This is because the "Seven" is a reference to the Mode 7-style rotation effects the boss showcases, not the number of forms it has.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: After the planet explodes for...some reason, we immediately cue to Epsilon hovering in space before an alien wizard. He then gets sent somewhere, or to the past. The planet is shown to be fine in the ending sequence.(Presumably the Scarlet members that Epsilon didn't get to destroy previously were responsible, seeing as defeating them resulted in the aforementioned ending.)
  • Shout-Out: The apocalyptic premise of a counter-possessing hero with a tragic love interest battling a horde of in-fighting monsters is an homage to Devilman. Now with a sci-fi backdrop.
  • Space Zone: Stages 21 through 23 take place in outer space, where the lack of gravity lets Epsilon move in all directions and lets him dash without having to duck first.
  • Spread Shot: The Hunter Force shoots four bullets in a spread. It's good against enemies, but on bosses all of the focused-fire weapons are much more effective.
  • Stat Meters: Upon startup, you can choose how your health, your ammunition, and the bosses' health meters are displayed. They can be made invisible as well.
  • Strong Flesh, Weak Steel: Epsilon can take a lot of punishment from robotic bosses' missiles and lasers, while those robots can be torn through with everything but the Flame Force.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: As a successor to Gunstar Heroes, it's only natural that this game also features many, many explosions.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Subverted during the Absurdly Spacious Sewer stage. If you fall into the water, you have to do a button-mashing sequence to get out as your health rapidly drops. Played straight against Sirene Force.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: Bugmax in its moth form. The dumb thing drops tons of caterpillars on the floor, which you can destroy for health, allowing you to use your full health-only, Cast from Hit Points fiery dash move effortlessly on it.
  • Tennis Boss: In order to defeat Z-Leo, the Final Boss, you must use your bullet cancel ability to knock his spiraling fireballs back into his head.
  • Threatening Shark: Deep Strider, a mutant shark found in one of the sewer stages. Its main battle strategy is to leap between pools of water, dragging Epsilon underwater if it touches him.
  • Timed Mission: Every stage runs on an individual timer, and letting the timer run out leads to an instant game over. This also makes every boss a Time-Limit Boss.
  • Traintop Battle: Stages 8 and 9 take place on a train, with Flying-Neo and Xi-Tiger being fought while standing on top of it.
  • Trick Boss: After defeating Sunset Sting, the next stage starts with Viblack immediately swooping in and catching Epsilon on the underside of its wings, with the standard boss warning being nowhere in sight. After it goes down pretty quickly, the boss warning plays as Back Stringer, the real level boss, crawls in and devours Viblack's body before fighting Epsilon. The whole sequence notably leaves you with no opportunity to heal or get ammo upgrades, leaving you stuck with whatever you have left to deal with the back-to-back fights (and there's no break before the following stage's boss either).
  • Underground Level: The entire Seven Force fight takes place in expansive caverns, first starting out rocky and icy like the area that preceded it before Silpheed Force drags Epsilon down to some ancient ruins where the remaining forms are fought.
  • Underwater Boss Battle: The final form of Seven Force, Sirene Force, is fought in a flooded cave. The water lets Epsilon propel himself in any direction, but unlike the freefall/space areas, his fire weaponry doesn't work underwater. Flame Force doesn't affect mechanical bosses to begin with, but Homing Force being useless makes the boss that much harder to hit.
  • Word Salad Title: Many bosses have goofy names in this style: Sniper Honeyviper, Wolfgunblood and Garopa, and a few others.
  • Zeerust: Some of the mechanical enemies have a retro-future vibe to their designs, and Epsilon-Eagle's spacesuit fits in this as well.


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