Hudson Soft - Aldynes

Aldynes - SuperGrafX
1991 Hudson Soft

Reviewed by FraGMarE

Graphically, Aldynes may initially appear to be a little dull in the color department. Look at the multi-layer parallax and sheer size and number of sprites on the screen at one time, however, and you will immediately realize that the less powerful PC-Engine would have had a difficult time dealing with this game sans flicker. Some of the bosses are absolutely huge. A good showing of the increased sprite handling capability of the SuperGrafX, though the colors in a couple of the levels appear as if this were a Genesis shmup.

As far as sound goes, the SuperGrafX had the same 6-channel sound chip as did the PC-Engine. Now, as we all know, the PC-Engine was not exactly a musical monster, but Aldynes manages to churn out some catchy (if a bit tinny) tunes here and there. The sound effects are... well... there. Not much to say about them. If you've played any other PC-Engine shmups, you'll know what to expect here. There is one laughable voice sample right before you start Stage1 that states, "Get Ready!" It's thouroughly indistinguishable from the garbled voice sample before Space Harrier's first stage.

Gameplay is where Aldynes really shines. You pick up weapon, option, and speed upgrades a la R-Type, but the game puts a heavy emphasis on reflex shmupping as well (like Gradius). The enemy patterns are nicely done, and even a seasoned shoot-em-up fan will find a tough challenge here. Though the weapon system is nothing revolutionary, some of the weapons themselves are quite original. There's a standard blue straight-ahead laser, a green orb spread shot, a white laser that bounces along the walls (comes in handy at various points in the game), and a strange red force field that expands outward from your ship.

In addition to these standard weapons, you can switch off the turbo fire and "charge up" a frontal shield that protects the front portion of your ship a bit like Gradius's shield. You can also collect options (up to 4) which you can set up in one of 3 ways: 1.) Formation, where they line up around your ship and fire at enemies along with you. 2.) Rotate, where they rotate around your ship and destroy bullets and small enemies and such. 3.) Free, where they roam around the screen and cause their own carnage by seeking out enemies (somewhat like MUSHA) and firing lightning bolts at them. The only thing I found to be conspicuously absent were add-on missiles, which I thought would be a nice touch. Still completely satisying, though, regardless.

A lot of people overlook Aldynes, simply for the fact that it was released to such a limited audience (i.e. it was released on the ill-fated NEC SuperGrafX). For shame, as those lucky enough to have owned a SuperGrafX and Aldynes got to play one of the best shmups out there. Truely a testament to the power of the SuperGrafX, it featured everything a shmup-lover could ask for... dead-on gameplay, intensity, and gigantic bosses. While there are better shmups out there, they are few... very few. Aldynes ranks in as a well deserved number nine on my top ten favorite shmups of all time.





In the future I hope our cities don't become overgrown with green moss as pictured here... then again, I hope we don't get invaded by a malevolent alien race either.



Here is the level one boss rumbling onto the screen, spitting out missiles all the way. Notice the frontal shield being charged up on the ship... it's good for deflecting bullets, missiles, small enemies, and large geese. (No geese were harmed in the making of this review)

He finally rears his ugly head, err... ass, and shoots a stream of laser rings and fire at you. (Insert your Taco Bell joke here) Shoot him in the red vulnerable spot to send him down in flames.



A bit like Gradius here in this level. Avoid rocks, shoot gun turrets and blow up the mines before they blow you up instead.

There are two types of shmuppers... those who would take the high road, and those who would take the low road. Don't be a wuss, take the low road. }:)



Level two boss. This guy gives you a lot of stuff to dodge. Avoid his six bending lasers and knock his mask off to reveal his butt-ugly face.

Level three is impressive. There are about 7 or 8 layers of parallax scrolling here. Brought back visions of MUSHA's third level.



Boss time already? Nah... just a few oversized mid-bosses to dispose of. These guys fly around the screen shooting lasers and occassionally opening up to expose their weak point. Gradius, anyone?

When the screen turns red and this guy comes charging in, THEN it's boss time. Avoid his straight lasers and aim for his mid point. He'll break apart into four balls which also shoot lasers at you (their aim is a bit better though).

Destroy all four laser balls and the fight is over. You can see here, I'm fighting balls with balls. It takes balls for that. Do you have the balls? Hehe, okay... enough.



See the bouncing laser? It's quite useful on this level, as many enemies are littering the walls aiming powerful lasers at you, as pictured here.

Oooh... pretty gold rings. Sonic would be jealous. Don't attempt to collect these, though. It may be hazardous to your shmupping. Matter of fact, I try to destroy them at all costs, but these little bastards keep coming along and leaving more.



Boss time. This guy isn't all that hard. Avoiding his size is the main key. He'll wander around the screen, trying to crush you, but just keep moving. Nail him in the sweet spot when he splits into two halves.

Things start to get a bit hairy in this level. There are things shooting at you from everywhere. Dodge like hell.



Here's the red energy force weapon type thingy. It's range is limited, but it's power is unequaled. Use it when you want something dead like yesterday.

Level five boss. There are actually several bosses to deal with here. These things jump in from the right side of the screen and make their way to the left. They'll open up and unleash a hail of deadly blue orbs that rain down on you. Try like hell not to let more than one on the screen at one time.

At all costs DO NOT let three on the screen as I've made the mistake of doing here. Destroy about a half dozen or so and you're off to level six.



This level is tricky. The good news is, running into the walls does not kill you. The bad news is, the walls are magnetic and trap you, so something else will!

Also, there are contraptions built into the walls that emit a blue tractor beam of sorts that pulls you in. Avoid it like the plague.

A shmup is not complete without green or red blobby things that break into smaller blobby things when you shoot them. This game has both varieties! ;D



This boss is a real asshole. He'll come in as two separate bosses crabwalking on the ceiling and floor. Shoot them, and they'll join to form this rat-bastard. He'll knock portions of the ceiling down while calling up reinforcements from behind you. Shoot him a while, and he'll flip over and do the same thing on the floor.

Repeat this a couple times, and he'll start smoking and eventually break apart and explode... satisfying.

Ahh, level seven, the final stage of Aldynes. Shortly after starting the level, you're greeted by this mini-boss. Avoid his gun arm and say "hello" by hammering him with some laser fire.



Another large enemy here. He shoots fire at you and knocks down pieces of the ceiling. Give him the same treatment as the mini-boss before and blast him to shmup hell.

The final boss. As far as I know, you MUST use the bouncing laser to defeat his first form, so don't forget to pick it up on your way here. Don't miss the speed-up either, because he'll shoot out some wicked right-angle lasers, and believe me... they come FAST.

Destroy the little alien in front then go for the red "eye" behind it. Blow that up, and he is toast.



"Ahhh... homeward bound. Feels good to kick back and switch on the auto-pilot after a full day of shmupping like that..."

"HEY! Where the hell did you come from? Couldn't you have helped out?!"



"Another one?!?! Don't you two have any balls??? Kill some aliens next time... sheesh."

"There's the Earth... time to go home."



"I'm headed straight for the pub... it's Miller time! Yeeeee-hahhhh!!!"

The End.


Whoa! Nice one Fragmare - I imagine very few people have played this - its a system I just don't have but probably should. I've always wanted to know what Aldynes was like, and now I do I've put another game and system on my already scary want-list. Shmups will be the end of me, I tell you... I'd hate to add up how much I've splashed on em! Thanks mate! Great :) - malc


shmups!   © 1997 - 2007  Malcolm Laurie