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Video Game / Super Aleste

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The box art for the PAL version.

Super Aleste (also known as Space Megaforce in North America) is a Vertical Scrolling Shooter, part of the Aleste series. It was developed by Compile and published by Toho Co., Ltd. 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.)
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: The North American version strips out all of the anime-style artwork.
  • 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).
  • Attack Drone: Two of the eight different weapon types.
    • 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.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: The boss themes for Areas 10 and 12 use a synthesized electric guitar.
  • 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.
  • Checkpoint: 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 Character: Well, 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.
  • Dark Reprise: Area 5's background music seems to be one of these to Area 1's, reflecting how the former level takes place on a completely dead husk of a planet that has been mined completely and utterly to death while the latter level takes place in a lush tropical paradise with plants and crystal-clear water as far as the eye can see. Probably doubles as more than a bit of a heavily implied Green Aesop on the developers' part as well.
  • 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.
  • Denial of Diagonal Attack: Averted for many of the weapons.
    • 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), the Scatter Shot's projectile (one per shot), and bombs are all capable of destroying them.
  • Dub-Induced Plotline Change: 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.
  • Dub Name Change:
    • The Super Aleste fighter is renamed the ED-057.
    • Many of the weapons and their abbreviations get renamed in the localized versions:
      1. Multi-Shot (MUL) becomes Muliple Shot (MPL).
      2. Laser (LAS) is re-abbreviated as LSR.
      3. Circle (CIR) is left untouched.
      4. All-Range Shot (ALL) becomes Multi-Direction Shot (MDS)
      5. Missile (MIS) is re-abbreviated as MSL.
      6. Charge Gun (C.G) becomes Power Shot (PWR).
      7. Sprite (SPR) is left untouched.
      8. Cracker (CRA) becomes Scatter Shot (SCT).note 
  • Energy Weapon: Laser, the 2nd fire type. Shot-Control toggles it to fire homing lasers.
  • Game-Over Man: In the Japanese version, the Game Over screen features the pilots poking at a busted miniature model of their ship.
  • Gratuitous English: The announcers, as well as the bosses' taunts.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Weapon #5, Missile, shoots more and more missiles as you raise your weapon level.
  • Marathon Level: Well, the whole game, really. In the inverse of It's Short, So It Sucks!, Shoot 'Em Up fans have been known to complain that the game is too long to comfortably play in a single sitting.
  • Mercy Invincibility: You get a brief moment of invulnerability to damage whenever you're hit, collect a powerup, or use a bomb.
  • Nintendo Hard: It's a Shoot 'Em Up with Everything Trying to Kill You.
  • Not Completely Useless: There are a few times that weapons that are usually outclassed become life savers.
    • 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. Multi-Shot is also a viable choice, as it has a mode that uses two forward streams of bullets that get stronger at higher levels.
    • 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.
    • In Area 7, there are many walls that will block your shots (although they're low enough that you can't bump into them) and take a lot of hits to destroy. The Missile, otherwise a weak weapon, will simply fly over the walls, making it a good choice for this stage; other attacks that get around the walls are the Multi-Direction Shot, the Power Shot's charged beams, and the Circle's drones.
  • Psychic Powers: Used by Thi, one of the pilots in the Japanese version.
  • Recurring Boss: Zolba, the Area 1 boss, gives you a rematch in Area 10.
    "Fancy meeting you here!"
  • 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. Using one also grants you a moment of Mercy Invincibility.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Area 12 features surprisingly jazzy music for a fleshy alien lair.
  • 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.
  • Super-Deformed: The character artwork in the Japanese version.
  • Super Title 64 Advance: The "Super" part of the JP/EU title refers to the Super NES. Averted in the North American version's title, Space Megaforce.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: The Charge/Power weapon, which could be charged up and released in a large beam. At max power and charge, you shoot 4 of these.
  • Welcome to Hell: The Area 1 boss greets you with this, though it got Bowdlerised in Space Megaforce.
  • Where It All Began: Subverted with Area 10; it looks like Earth, but is actually a replica made by the aliens. Played straight with the U.S. version, in which it actually is Earth, after you've returned from cutting off the invasion fleet's Infinite Supplies. At least, that's what the manual says.
  • Womb Level: Area 12, the overlord's lair of giant red nerve endings. With even more jazzy music.

Alternative Title(s): Space Megaforce