Of the three video games that Hamster has chosen for its preliminary spate of Arcade Archives releases, Alpha Mission II ($3.99) is the oddball of the bunch. Steel Slug and Samurai Shodown are each iconic franchises that have been born on the NEOGEO, endured by way of its lifetime, and nonetheless see new releases in some type or one other as we speak. Alpha Mission II, alternatively, is a sequel to a modestly profitable 1985 shoot-em-up that dropped within the NEOGEO’s first 12 months and served because the franchise’s ultimate chapter. An honest recreation, however not the kind to look in a listing of the console’s greatest.
I feel it’s a sensible choice, if solely to ship on the mission assertion of Arcade Archives as we all know it on different platforms. Hamster’s line of retro rereleases isn’t nearly bringing out the preferred video games, or probably the most critically-acclaimed ones. It goals at a better kind of preservation, a extra full one. The greats, the not-so-greats, and every little thing in between. A few of Hamster’s selections can boggle the thoughts, however it not solely paints a extra thorough historic image, it additionally permits gamers to seek out enjoyable video games they could have by no means stumbled upon earlier than.
Now, Alpha Mission II isn’t that obscure. Certainly, within the early days of the NEOGEO it was a little bit of a darling. A flashy vertical shoot-em-up with tons of power-ups and some actually wild levels. Your ship can acquire armor items and go into one among a number of cool powered-up modes. It received good critiques, earned plenty of quarters, and entertained folks for some time till different titles bumped it off the rotation. Historical past has been much less form to it, with extra fashionable releases incomes some sharp phrases and garnering little consideration. It doesn’t actually match the character that the platform in the end settled into. However in its time and place, it was high quality.
What helps right here is that it’s a shoot-em-up, and shoot-em-ups take to cell fairly nicely. Like the opposite Arcade Archives releases it launched alongside, Alpha Mission II lacks help for exterior controllers, so it’s important to make do with the digital controls. However hey, they work fairly nicely right here. You may even activate auto-fire. You may’t partake on the multiplayer co-op gameplay, however I believe most individuals taking part in shooters on their cell units aren’t too involved about that.
You get the identical assortment of choices, extras, and options as within the different Arcade Archives cell releases. Problem choices, management mapping and layouts, graphical and audio settings, save states, and extra. One function I notably like for this recreation is the flexibility to rotate the display and play in portrait mode. You are able to do it with the opposite releases, however it simply feels higher right here. Now, it is a 4:3 recreation so don’t anticipate it to fill the display in the event you play it like this, however it’s nonetheless cool.
The identical modes of play are on supply right here as nicely. You may play both the Japanese or Abroad model of the sport, see how excessive of a rating you may get on a single credit score, or play a Caravan mode the place you might have 5 minutes to earn as many factors as you may. Caravan modes and shooters go very nicely collectively, and it’s enjoyable to see how excessive up the leaderboards you may climb. Sure, Alpha Mission II is a case the place every little thing within the Arcade Archives bundle comes collectively fairly properly.
As for the sport itself? Effectively, it’s alright. The facility-up system is a bit complicated (there are power-downs, and people are enjoyable), the bullet patterns are a bit on the impolite aspect, your default weapons lack a lot punch, some levels are an absolute drag, and it may be irritating attempting to get into your armored state as you might want to be very cautious about what you choose up and what you don’t. However when you get used to the way it all works, you may have an excellent time with it. Studying when to make use of your armored type and when to reserve it is a pleasant little bit of technique. The second degree, which sees you taking aside a large ship piece-by-piece, is sort of memorable. It actually tries some attention-grabbing issues, together with a between-level store system.
Alpha Mission II is hardly essential or a must-play, however an honest sufficient spin for the couple of dollars it’s promoting for. Should you take pleasure in basic shoot-em-ups, you’ll get just a few thrills out of this. Extra importantly, it matches the cell platform much more comfortably than its friends within the Arcade Archives line-up to date. I hope controller help is added as a normal function sooner or later for the whole line, however this recreation doesn’t want it practically as a lot because the others do. If you wish to see what these Arcade Archives releases are all about in the absolute best mild, that is the one to get.