Alpha Mission II
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.