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 Post subject: AlienCruise (XBOX One - Nintendo Switch)
PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 11:24 pm 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 352
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
From E-Home Entertainment and Cotton Game comes the game which i make this review: AlienCruise.

"Putt-Putt Joins the Space Force", the Main Menu screen looks like an "Edutainment" point-and-click thing rather than a game menu.

As soon as you begin you'll be on what it seems to be the Main Menu, and i say "Seems to be because the menu doesn't explain a thing about it. Only picking the game poster has the description "START THE GAME", while the rest lacks of a description, but lemme explain you.

LAMP (Left): This option shows "Who's the funny guy?" better known as the credits.
ALIEN CRUISE BOOK (Center): Selecting this will start your game.
CONTROLLER (Bottom Right): The Options screen where you can adjust sound and music volume along with language selection.
WORLD GLOBE (Right): Selecting the globe will let you see the Leaderboards.

Once you select the book, it will open revealing two options, Start a new game as either 1 or 2 Players. After selecting the players, you'll be on the ship select screen, where you can select one of four ships.

Piloted by a green bean, it uses a volley launch that releases a double line of three explosions.

Piloted by a carrot, His special attack consists of firing a large number of missiles.

Piloted by a potato, its bomb is to deploy a cannon that releases energy shuriken-like spinning blades.

Piloted by a tomato, He releases a 360° barrage of bullets as his special weapon.

While it's good to have a ship selection, the only problem is that everyone has the same status, pretty much like the characters from Metal Slug or Life Force, where character designs are only aesthetic, with the exception of the bomb attacks.
The main reason if the same status thing is that the game relies on weapon switching via items, just like in R-Type. The weapon variety includes spinning 4-way shots, bouncing orbs, Force fields to protect your ship from enemy fire, shotguns that fire several weapons with a slow fire rate, homing missiles and bombs. Switching weapons during missions isn't just an option, is a priority because there's instances where you have no choice but to switch weapons. For example, in Land of Neptune you're gonna need the spinning 4-way shot to take down enemies behind and above you.
You have also a Dash feature that uses an energy gauge, while you start with 1 block in your gauge, this can be increased with item picking.

TARGET: Hades, BOSS: Gargoyle...Sorry, wrong game.

After selecting your ship and passing the Tutorial stage you'll be on the planet select screen which is pretty much like Thunder Force III. You can select any passed stage as much as you want, kinda like in Megaman X.

STAR OF PARCANEAS: Pink planet, the meteor-organic world reminiscent of Life Force and Abadox.
STAR OF VIDAR: Brown with blue planet. This is the "Garden World" which borrows elements from the 4th stage of R-Type up to the destructible ball-blockade left by bugs.
STAR TOLTEC: Gray planet. This is the "Ancient Ruins" themed planet.
VIDELL'S EYE OF TEMPEST: Brown planet on the left. This is the Desert-Egypt themed world.
LAND OF NEPTUNE: Blue planet on the upper left. The water world of the game.
LAND OF AUREALIS: Blue planet on the upper right. This is the ice world of the game.

This is what we can call "Toonamander".

Well, this is the interactive cartoon that we've got as a game. By the way, ¿Does any of you remember my Final Star review where i complained about how small the status bar is?, in AlienCruise is even worse since the status of life, score, dash and bombs is even smaller that you'll basically won't noticed you died until the screen fades to black and white and the Game Over appears. I can say the "Score loss after continuing" is no longer a matter since the counter is too small you wouldn't notice it. But the problem extends to the life count, bomb stock and dash gauge.

Another major problem is the life limitations, unlike most shooters like R-Type III The Third Lightning, Triggerheart Exelica and Raiden II, where you can pass the default limit of lives by scoring or 1up picking, in AlienCruise you're stuck with three lives, picking an extra heart will only add bonus points, making the game more difficult.
Speaking of difficulty, the game is basically in the "R-Type Borderline" 'cos it uses checkpoints everytime you die. However, you can take three hits before dying. After going down it's Game Over, and you'll have to repeat that section from its beginning. While in most of the stages surviving can be easy, even with stage hazards like wind that pushes you back a la Ninja Gaiden II, falling things from the ceiling and volcanic flamethrowers, there's stages where starting over could be frustrating and the worst of all is in Videll's Eye of Tempest because there's a segment where you'll have to navigate through a dark tunnel and this is where the game makes things even worse: There's a worm that ambushes you like two or three times, and there's a section where the ceiling will collapse smashing you if you're not down enough to dodge it. While the Dashing skill comes in handy, the darkness and the narrow tunnel makes it tricky, resulting in a tedious "Trial and Error" exercise. Also, if you think the Force Field will be a great help, then think again, because the damn thing goes down with one hit, the same problem as the Shield in Super Hydorah, making the Force Field almost useless.

Judgement Toons: Above The Newgrounds.

Later in the game you'll be in a special equipment before fighting the boss in one of the final levels of the game, just like the Brigandine from Thunder Force V. But in AlienCruise it sucks 'cos it lacks of an overwhelming power as it locks you with a weak yet rapid firing machine gun, and what's worse, it goes down with one hit just like your regular ship, while the boss is the "I take a lot of hits before going down", making the battle long, unbalanced and boring. Not to mention, the boss you'll fight there has two forms. Dying during the second form of the boss means start the battle from the beginning. Trust me, its not as fun as it looks.

Like Salamander, the game goes horizontal and vertical.

One of the final stages feature a vertical scrolling boss battle, which is an interesting change of pace that adds something new to the game, at least for a single time.

This boss looks incredibly familiar.

Graphically, the best way to describe it is like if Cartoon Network took over the XBOX One, the drawing style evokes present day cartoons, mostly The Amazing World of Gumball and Adventure Time in terms of character and stage design, relying on humorous explosions with "Boom" onomatopeia, the whole thing feels like a hand-drawn late 90's-early 2000's cartoon just like Cuphead did with the 50's style. There's a few pop culture and videogame references hidden in the game (see "AlienCuriosities" below), so keep an eye on how many you can find.
Like Shienryu and Raiden V, the game relies on zoom-in and zoom-out sequences during key scenes of the game like an escape or facing a giant boss.
Also, the game "cutscenes" lack of text narration just like in Boiling Bolt, making the game and its plot a battle of "Say-no-words" or why they're fighting.

The music is the typical ambient-like genre, with some tracks that fit on the theme of the level like the egyptian cliche score during the Videll's Eye of Tempest for instance. However, it becomes easily forgettable since is not quite memorable and is just for break the silence of the game.

- The developer E-Home Entertainment Development Co., Ltd. is a joint venture between Microsoft Corporation and Oriental Pearl Group, and the first registered company in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone.
- The artwork depicting the player character bursting out of a planet is a reference to the cover art of Journey's album Escape illustrated by Stanley George Miller "Stanley Mouse".
- The controller in the main menu changes depending on which console you're playing: The XBOX One shows a white controller while the Switch version shows the Switch with its screen.
- The Ruler of Parcaneas is a parody of Bacterion from the first Gradius game.
- In the first boss battle of Star Toltec you can see Roger Dean's "eyed pyramid" from Asia's albums Alpha and Aura in the background.
- Jabba The Hutt's palace from Star Wars also appear in the background of Star Toltec.
- During the descending segment of the final stage you'll face "wall smashing worms" similar to those of the underwater route of the first stage of Metal Slug 3.

"Parodius for R-Typers" is the best way to describe AlienCruise. An "Interactive Cartoon" shooter experience that is not for everyone due to its difficulty, but in reality this game is just another entry in the "Buy, Play and Forget" category. That means, it's the type of game which you buy to give a try, play just for unlocking all the achievements possible and then finally forget about the game.
Fan of Transformers, Shmups and Anime-styled Girls. You're teamed up with the right pilot!
Bringing you shmup reviews with humorous criticism.

STG Wikias: Thunder Force Wiki - Wikiheart Exelica - Ginga Force Wiki

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