Aleste/Aleste 2 - Compile

Aleste/Aleste 2

Reviewed by Postman

Ah, Aleste. It doesn’t get any more simpler or by-the-book shooter tactical than this. Not that I’m criticizing, mind you. Aleste one and two spawned many follow ups on the post 8-bit systems. But on returning to the ones that started it all, the shooter fanatic will find solid gameplay, a variety of weapons, and a challenge that will keep you coming back for more. Keeping in mind that these two games were done on the MSX system, and noticing the graphics on part two especially, one should be quite impressed. I did a combined review of parts one and two together, since the gameplay is basically the same, and part two is almost an extension of part one with much improved graphics.

Shoot the enemies, don’t get hit. That’s it. Why would you want any more? Aleste features the now famous “p” droppings, which power up your main gun when you grab a few. When you shoot this powerup, a load of “p”s drop in a spread pattern, and you have to grab as many as possible, which is not easy when dodging tons of enemies. There is also a secondary weapon, with limited use, determined by which numbered powerup you grab. There are about 6 or so different secondary weapons, ranging from a laser, to a circular boomerang, to an exploding ball. Nabbing the same number a couple of times in a row will power up the secondary weapon, which is a big help when tons of enemies fill the screen. Now that even the youngest shmupper can understand that simple gameplay, let’s look and how the original and the sequel compared to each other.

Aleste part one features the same bosses over and over. Even the minibosses are from the same stock. Fight off a few waves of fighters, then along comes a fortress with 8 or so gun placements, which you have to whittle away at until you beat the whole thing or time runs out. Unoriginal! Repeat this formula for eight levels. Strangely enough, though repetitious, you will find yourself wanting to beat this game. All that is remedied in part two though. Same basic idea, but now with REAL BOSSES! And some are pretty impressive. And what an upgrade on the graphics! The theme of each level really stands out, from the bright green vegetation infested city to the almost Life-Forceish level 4. Difficulty for both these series is slightly above average, because much like R-Type, dying is hazardous to your health, and powerup status is out the window. Bad news when the screen is filled with about 10-15 enemies. Music is also a factor in the Aleste series, and hit the peak on Musha for the Megadrive.

Overall, these are two top notch games for any Shooter fan. While they might not look too impressive with today’s Dreamcast and Playstation 2 technological advances, the solid gameplay drives the Aleste series to stay in competition with the newer games of today. The “Soldier Blade syndrome”, which stands the test of time, is the ability of a game to continue to impress even when outdated and technologically failing (Soldier Blade still holds my number one shooter spot, will it ever be de-throned?). And the Aleste series both suffer from chronic SBS.

Choose your destiny

Aleste Page1

Aleste Page2

Aleste 2 Page1

Aleste 2 Page2

Well well, what do we have here... It is my favorite game in the Aleste series. Aleste 2 for the MSX (as well as its predecessor, who sticks in the second spot). I think these 2 little gems were the ones that made me start to gather info about the MSX. They are brilliantly done, in my opinion, unrivalled in the 8bit computer market of the time (And perhaps, ever).

These games are not to be missed by any shmups fan. I would buy an MSX just for Aleste 2! (as a matter of fact I am looking for one. Anybody with a spare MSX2+ to sell?)

- Akira


shmups!   © 1997 - 2007  Malcolm Laurie