Alien Syndrome was originally released in 1987 for the arcades and was converted in 1988 to the Sega Master System, MSX, Amiga, Atari ST, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, and Nintendo Entertainment System (published by Tengen). It's great popularity brought more conversions to other home machines like the ZX Spectrum (1989) Sega Game Gear (1992) and Sharp X68000 (1992), the latter being the only arcade-perfect port.
STORY / GAMEPLAY
The game features single and 2-player modes and is played from a top-down view, into an eight-way scrolling maze. Ricky and Mary must fight their way through large levels rescuing their fellow comrades who are being held by aliens (mutant sausages and jellies!!) By rescuing a certain number of hostages the exit opens and they can proceed to the next stage. Note that at the end of each stage there is a guardian who's going to give you a really hard time! There are several items to pick up, including better weapons and maps of the current level. But the mutant sausage (!) and jelly (!) aliens will always shoot from close distance and that makes the gameplay rather difficult. Here's a quick hint: Don't always run to the edge of the gameplay screen. Just wait for the screen to scroll in order to see what's coming!
GRAPHICS / SOUND The CPC version has good graphics, featuring nicely drawn stages running in Mode 1 (320 x 200 pixels with 4 colors) and generally resembling as much as possible the original (arcade) details. The sprites' animation though is poor and the overall action is slow. Technically the C64 is the best among the other 8bit conversions in terms of playable area size and faster action. The CPC conversion features a rather repetitive tune during gameplay, along with a few typical sound effects.
CPU: ZiLOG Z80 4MHZ MEMORY: 64 KB or 128 KB of RAM depending on the model (capable of being expanded to 512k using memory extension boards) GRAPHICS: Motorola 6845 address generator, Mode 0: 160x200 / 16 colors, Mode 1: 320x200 / 4 colors, Mode 2: 640x200 / 2 colors, A colour palette of 27 colors was supported SOUND: The CPC used the General Instrument AY-3-8912 sound chip, providing 3 channels Mono Sound (via internal speaker) but capable to offer Stereo Sound provided through a 3.5 mm headphones jack (with pretty impressive outcome!). Also, it is possible to play back digital sound samples at a resolution of approximately 5bit. This technique is very processor-intensive though.