Alien Sector
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  • Namco
  • ?
  • Action - Shooter - 2D (example - Thunder Force)
  • 1985
  • 1-2
  • high score save
  • 7
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9  |  Wizard Of Wor Underwater?
Darryl B. , 8/12/2005 11:06:42 PM
This was a pretty unique little game that does NOT need to be dismissed because of it's cutesy eight-bit graphics (although a few things in there are a bit creepy-looking), as it's really fun and deserved to be much bigger than it was.

Also known as Baraduke, this game was mostly original and pitted you against clearing out ships of aliens (dunno why your character is known as a "Kissy", though: some kind of poorly translated "Engrish"? Meanwhile, in a two player game, the second player is known as "Takky"; whatever). Upon starting a new game, your Kissy would automatically pass through a capsule and a yellow, one-eyed alien would appear and say "I'm your friend" in a speech bubble and via some pretty poor-sounding voice synthesis, yet it still sounded cool in a way (which I'll get into the importance of these guys later). You then had to clear each floor of aliens, which are apparently very possessive, as they hang onto capsules for dear life (or death, once you shoot them dead).

The aliens come in all kinds of shapes and forms, looking like various sea creatures in real life (I'll get into why I think this is later) to blobs to blue things that bounce up and down, looking like Cookie Monster on crack, to other things I don't know how to describe. Once you dispose of a creature by shooting it several times with your gun, a capsule is left behind, and passing over it could be very rewarding: granted, sometimes they're empty, most of the time the majority of it's contents will be a gold coin that's worth points upon collecting (I guess that's why the creatures are so possessive, they want the coins but don't have the artillery to open up the capsules themselves, wah), sometimes you'll get one of the friendly creatures, occasionally there is a gun power-up (the rarest of them all) and sometimes there's a nasty creature inside that bursts out, and not to give you a hug, either.

At the end of each screen is a Wheel of Fortune type of spinning deal that is comprised of either the yellow friends, the letter N (for "Nothing") and/or some of the bad creatures that can deduct a shield; you start off with two shields, which a hit from anything will deduct a shield, and two hits will kill you. (You won't ever start out a level with anything less than the standard of two shields, though.) A cursor spins around the board, and pressing the fire button will cause it to slow to a stop; if it lands on one of the friends, you'll gain a shield, although most of the time you'll probably end up with nothing (again, I'll explain why later this is actually important, though).

The levels start getting bigger and bigger and are filled with more peril, along with guns that shoot at you, and what I call "alarm clocks", like if you take too long moseying around a level in Defender and one (or more, yikes!) of those damn Baiters come out. They home in on you and can be quite a pain, along with another thing that usually appears when you clear out a level of nasty monsters that is very fast and takes two hits to destroy.

At the end of every ship ("Stage") is a boss, which here is why it's good to have a few of the yellow friends in reserve from the bonus boards that pop up. Why? Because the bosses can be pretty tough to beat, and after a few seconds, a friend will pop up overhead and head straight for the boss; be careful not to shoot the friend, since once it makes contact with the boss, the boss will be briefly stunned (dunno if it was the headbutt that did it, or just the boss being surprised that something a tenth it's size had the audacity to attack it) and will give you a chance to hammer away at it's weak spot (or spots, since the first boss is some kind of a monster with about 10 heads). Defeating a boss will take you to the next space station (or whatever), which is harder than the previous, and filled with more nasty stuff.

The sound effects were decent, although the graphics were a bit mixed, being a cross between being cute, but then creepy at times (like that purple, one-eyed "alarm clock" creature that appears after a few floors; urgh). The controls also responded pretty well, although you kind of float around, what with being in a spacesuit, plus I think you're underwater anyway: a lot of the alarm clocks and monsters look like sea creatures, they blow bubbles your way as an attack, some creatures look like they're "gulping" air (if you're into fishing/the outdoors, you know how fish do this), and there's a game "heartbeat" that goes bloop bloop bloop the whole time, so this is kind of like Wizard of Wor underwater, being a four-way shooter, but it still retains a lot of originality.

Unfortunately, this doesn't quite earn a perfect 10 from myself, as you can get your butt totally pulverized at times. Those gun powerups, although sometimes you'll run across four of them in one stage -- resulting in you firing gigantic, powerful shots -- sometimes won't show up even if you play THREE stinkin' games worth. (Plus I think it's totally unnecessary for you to lose that gun power-up if you take a hit from a creature or one of it's shots.) If you're not able to take care of one of those alarm clock creatures after it appears a few times, they'll start to multiply (which I especially hate the ones that appear as blue lights that debut during the second stage), making things even harder. And by the second ship -- and especially the third (which I've only gotten to once EVER) -- at times there's a gun appearing overhead, but with a creature right below it, so you're unable to take both of them out, leaving a creature below to keep on shooting at you while you're trying to kill other beasts that are also appearing to the side...and they keep on launching their OWN evil offspring at you as well...that are also shooting. Urgh...

However, helping you out are an occasional yellow fish (or at least that's what it looks like to me) that drops from the ceiling real fast; if you're lucky enough to catch it, it's worth a whopping 1000 points (which is a pretty big catch indeed, as the scoring's pretty slow). Something that looks suspiciously like a red Pac-Man will also reward you the same way...oh wait, Namco made both games, so never mind there. (I just wish it wasn't red, though: half the time I don't dive for it, due to the mentality of "red = evil". Dammit...)

I guess this was enough of a cult favorite for the sequel of Baraduke 2 to also be released, but I don't know what that was like, as I've never seen it. It'd be nice if Namco dug this from out of the depths (har!) and released this on a compilation cd; this is one of the very few arcade games I can still play years later (Tempest being another rare one). Granted, I only saw this at one pizza parlor ever, but a crowd always gathered around me as I played this curious-looking game (even the girls, since, back then, girls didn't *play* games [rolls eyes]). Due to it being really rare nowadays, though, it'll probably be tough for me to physically locate and buy a machine, once I eventually get into collecting coin-ops, although this game is also known as Baraduke though, in case you're looking for the ROM; Baraduke's probably the easier to find of the two.

But it will always be known as Alien Sector to me. 9/10

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