Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Game of the Day - Alien Sector

Alien Sector is a weird little horz shooter with fun action and some unusual charms.  By the way, this game has a sister/aunt named Bakutotsu (actually a sequel) which is a slightly souped-up japanese version.  They play and look a little different, you might like one better than the other.

Anyway, you are the hero, wearing a spacesuit floating down into the area where the enemies are.  There is gravity here, so you can use the joystick to go up (jetpack?), but you will always immediately start slowly falling again.  Using this light gravity effect matters a lot when the screen becomes filled with enemies and enemy fire.  In fact, the games levels are quasi-mazes, and using the gravity effect can help when you are descending vertically around edges and corners where enemies lie it wait.

You simply have a gun to shoot.  It is a one button game.  You can turn to the left or the right to shoot as enemies come from all sides.  You start with a shield that can take three hits, after the last, if you are hit, you lose a dude.  Simple, right?

There are some power-ups.  The most frequent is the shield.  The power-ups come from enemies you kill that turn into what looks like metal (silver) balls with a green rectangle (door).  Fly over it and it releases something.  If it is a cyclopian happy face, then collect it and your shield is increased by one.  It can also be a gun upgrade.  What you have to watch out for is that these little power-up pods can also contain more enemies, so be on high alert when you fly over to open them.

You finish a level when you have killed a certain number of enemies.  The screen will tell you "gate open".  You then have to fly to the exit gate to leave the level.  On the way you need to stay alert because there are still things trying to kill you and upgrades and points to collect.

At the end of the level, there is a weird, random (sort of) wheel spin to see if you collect an extra goody or not.  You simply push the button and the wheel stops.  Whatever it stops on is what you get (including bad stuff like losing shield power).

It's weird and it has average graphics, but the shooting action, gravity effect, level design and difficulty level make Alien Sector a lot of fun.  Bakutotsu, the Japanese version is goofier, has more stuff (vehicles), is more colorful and can be somewhat incomprehensible - but you should certainly give it a try.

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