Alpha Mission II

Alpha Mission II

Lots of pew pew lasers, big explosions, and space action come to PSN from this classic Neo Geo title.
Author: Kyle Heimbigner
Published: January 12, 2011
If you are wondering why SNK decided to release Alpha Mission II before the first Alpha Mission, that is because the first game was on another system. The sequel (which is the only other game in this series) was on the Neo Geo arcade and home systems. With that little tidbit of information out of the way; Alpha Mission II (also known as ASO II: Last Guardian) was released in 1991 by SNK for the Neo Geo Arcade system and cartridge console. In 1994 it had a re-release as a Neo Geo CD game.


Alpha Mission II is a vertical shooter with a simple formula broken up into seven stages. Each stage has a mid-boss and a final boss, and the bosses are huge. They generally fill up the entire screen and have multiple sections that you need to destroy in order to defeat them. Each one is throwing all of their weight at you, while also using their minions to help put you down. Compared to other games in this genre, not too much is thrown at you at any given time (if you really want to see something absolutely insane, check out some of the Japanese Bullet Hell Shooters for the PC) but it is enough to create a hectic game. Very quick eye and hand coordination are key to a smooth victory.

So, there is not a lot to say here. This game keeps everything simple. You have your main attack, and a secondary attack. You collect power ups which spice things up a little bit. After the end of a stage you are given some upgrade options that really don’t add anything to the gameplay. There are very few unique moments. The graphics while dated do actually give you some unique environments and they never repeat. The bosses are huge and intimidating looking and the number of different enemies is large. Each stage has at least a few new types that you didn’t see in the previous stage.

A lot like the other Neo Geo Station games, Alpha Mission II has save states, non-working multiplayer (which we keep hoping SNK will fix), an in-game manual, and two player co-op on the same console. Not a lot has changed. Like what was mentioned in my Metal Slugreview, SNK is going for a direct port of the arcade version. Also just like Metal Slug, your decision in buying it will come completely down to whether or not you are a fan of the genre that Alpha Mission II represents and you are a fan of the game originally.

SNK should have done more to reach out to those who are not familiar with these classic games. Improved graphics, extra content, making sure all modes make sense and work properly. Game developers are recreating classics such as Tetris, Space Invaders, and Pac-Man. They are doing it while providing a new twist on a classic, giving these games a graphic overhaul and selling them for around $10 - $15. So it can’t be that expensive to remake these games. Just a simple re-release only appeals to a very niche audience and it remains to be seen if that niche audience is even on the PlayStation 3. There is certainly a desire for getting back into classic gaming but I think the market is into remakes not direct ports.
The Verdict
6.0

A direct port with broken features is bad and adding nothing new is even worse. It's great for those who want to remember the game as is when they played it almost two decades ago but it won't appeal to anyone else.

7.0Graphics:

Only a very slight barely noticable update to the graphic. While not so outdated that you can't even look at it, something a little bit improved would have been nice.

7.0Sound:

Again, nothing new here. The sound effects stay largely the same as in their original 1991 release.

8.0Control:

Very simple controls. Literally two buttons and your d-pad are all you need to enjoy Alpha Mission II

6.0Gameplay:

Seven challenging stages that are lengthy and include two boss battles each. There is enough content here to justify the price but the broken online multiplayer is a killer.