Sunday 1 October 2023

Area 51 - Why do Bones Fly?

Welcome, one and all, to the 2023 month of Saturn SPEWWWWWWWWWKIES! We're doing what we did last year, only it's this year! Just sit back, put on some background horrors and let's start this Halloween with a bang! No, really, there's a lot of guns going bang bang.  

Anyone who remembers the arcade in the mid 90's will remember this game very, very well. Area 51 was one of the more prolific arcade cabinets of the era and here we are with a Sega Saturn port. Not only was there a Sega Saturn port, but there was also a Playstation port! It comes as no real surprise to know that they were both quite dreadful, quite dreadful, indeed. 

Can you enjoy the game as it is on the Saturn? Yes, it isn't so much that the game was ruined, it's more that the game got really, really choppy. The graininess of the FMV's are to be expected, they were still a new feature of the genre. We've already gone into how FMV's were a very bad idea, and this game is no different at all. The people in the costumes look awful, their acting is terrible, they don't look like Special Forces of any kind. They look like cosplayers doing a very bad job. And yes, this falls into the "So bad, it's good territory" for many, because it very much is! Their cheesy acting and ridiculously absurd movements give off great entertainment for all to see. 

The game, is in all fairness, very middling. The game was fun for what it was. It was a railshooter and you shot things to make them die. It did its job and there are some very nice powerups to make things explode with more frequency. That's all well and good, but it's just not that great if we look at the forest for the trees. The angles you view the game from are so flat and the game seems pretty lifeless. There's simply no satisfaction outside of shooting zombies and making them fly into bones. 

You get so much more with the experiences of Virtua Cop or House of the Dead than you do with this. The technology tries, but when you look at it objectively, the graphics, the repercussion from the shooting, the stupid looking zombies, all of it just doesn't culminate in anything more than a nostalgic look back at your days with the cabinets. Area 51 is not a bad game on Saturn or Playstation, they just simply lack from the arcade, which was already lacking to begin with. 

When you want to shoot zombies, this is a far cry better than a lot of the games that are out there. This beats Alone in the Dark 2 by a mile and you can pop this in for some nice light gun action anytime you want because all of the guns for the Saturn work for this game! It's a good game to have in the collection, especially if this is your genre. It's a fine title, even if it's not all that scary. Still! We've got our first strike for the Saturn Month of Spookiness! Just don't worry, these posts are not haunted! Virtua Boo!

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