Saturday, 23 February 2008

Area 51





At last! The familiar sound of a parcel dropping onto the porch floor, and lo and behold, this time it's contents were intact and in perfect condition. Ah! Area 51, all the way from the good ol' US of A. The first thing I noticed was the box. It was unlike any Saturn box I'd seen before! The same size as the PAL European boxes, but see through clear hard plastic, like a giant audio cassette case! Inside, the manual was present and pristeen. I checked the disc and there was barely a mark on it! Happy Days!!!

I popped it into the Saturn and plugged in the Light Gun... Excellent! The game can be played in two modes, arcade and practise, as a one or two player mission. It also features a special "cowboy mode" allowing one player to play holding two guns, one in each hand!

The back story to the game is rather nice! The manual starts with a memo to S.T.A.A.R.s (Special Tactical Advanced Alien Response) team members from 'Lieutenant Leneral G. Ilovewar'. (Jeez! D'you think it's a real person?!!!)

Unsurprisingly, the story centres around Area 51, the 'top secret' air base in Nevada, supposedly the place where the US government stores it's crashed UFOs and alien bodies...
A virus has spread from down there in the basement and has infected the staff, turning them into zombies... All under control of evil alien race the Kronomorphs...


The rest is your standard on-rails shooter. But in terms of the phrase 'on rails', the game has an imaginative track for you to follow. At points you're walking through the base, at points you're on the back of a truck, on a rope ladder hanging from a chopper and so on...

The aliens pop up from everywhere! Conveniently, they often hide behind very explosive barrels. They also rather conveniently dress in colours that denote their kill potential! Purple means they take a lot of shooting!

Weapon upgrades and extra ammo are conveniently (that word again...) littered around the place, as are hidden rooms and pathways that can be accessed by shooting windows. In short, the game is a CLASSIC! I'll shout it from the roof tops! How has this game not entered the hall of fame of Saturn light gun shooters?

I knew about (and loved) Virtua Cop 1 & 2 as a current gen Saturn owner way bak in the mid nineties... I discovered HOTD for the Saturn, after I'd bought and played HOTD2 on the Dreamcast... But I knew nothing of Area 51 till I played the ancient arcade game last year (at my caravan site in Wales) and 'till 2008 I didn't know it was a Saturn port...

I've spent damn near £40 to obtain this game and it's luscious!! I consider it an essential part of my collection! For a start, it's one of the best looking Saturn games, due to the video-rendered graphics. The sound bites of the S.T.A.A.R's voices shouting commands, the background music and every other feature is fantastic!

This is a keeper, a Saturn game that I know I will replay again and again! I'll try and improve my scores and get better and better! There is also a feature of the game that allows you to replay the game, if you are skilled enough to complete it, and allows you to replay the entire game with your accumulated score... Yet another brilliant feature!


Finally, it's relevent that this Light Gun shooter is the only Saturn game that is currently part of a current franchise... Area 51 on the Saturn is the grandaddy of Black Site on the 360! As mentioned in Guru Larry's last epistle on X League TV last time I watched...

To sum up (finally) I'm thrilled with my latest Saturn purchase and it's got pure replay value... I'll update you on how it's going down! This is Father K, a little bit tipsy, signing off!


3 comments:

elend said...

I think I played that once on the Playstation and was a bit turned off by the graphics. Don't like that pre-rendered stuff too much.

I gotta try that weird "Mechanical Violator Hakaider" game, which I bought recently. It is said to be playable with a lightgun, too.

ArugulaZ said...

Good work on tracking down Area 51. Now you've got to find the sequel! Here, I'll give you a little help...

http://cgi.ebay.com/N-O-S-Sega-Saturn-Maximum-Force-Game-Mint_W0QQitemZ220205260291QQihZ012QQcategoryZ62053QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

NebachadnezzaR said...

Sounds interesting, too bad I don't yet own a Saturn light-gun... In the meantime I think I'll check Blacksite for the 360. Yeah, I know the game sucks, but I can't get enough FPSs

BTW, elend, funny you mention Mechanical Violator Hakaider, I talked about it sometime ago. Check it out here: http://tinyurl.com/35je8m