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Disc Station Special 4 - Autumn Edition: Aleste Gaiden aka Aleste Special or Aleste: Another Story

version: jp - year: 1989 - developer: compile - publisher: compile - format: msx2, 3 disks - condition: near mint- rarity: very

The artwork in the manual is nice


The intro is outstanding and loading time is optimized to perfection meaning you won't even notice it


Cyber-Ninja action at its finest!


Ready to kick butt


The graphics are simple yet charming


Here, the backgrounds look very crisp. To avoid certain death, jump when you come across crates and holes

Review - From 1988 to 1991, the popular Japanese software house Compile released about 40 Disc Station's for the MSX2 / MSX2+ which included a lot of material ranging from utilities, pictures and demos to full-fledged games.

The Disc Station Special 4 - Autumn Edition comes in a nice large plastic case with a color cover and a cool instruction book with plenty of nice artwork.

The package consists of 3 double density ( 3.25” ) disks for 3 games: Thexder (a side-scrolling shooter with dated graphics but interesting gameplay in which you can switch back and forth between a Mech and a Spaceship), Crimson II (a top view RPG with obsolete graphics and jerky scrolling) and of course Aleste Gaiden (Disk 1) which will be the focus of this review.

Before continuing, I would only like to say that games on disk do load automatically, just like for the Amiga, so no need to worry about typing code to get the games to load.

Aleste Gaiden is a vertical scrolling shooter which could have easily been released as a stand-alone game. From the memorable intro and outro to the in-game visuals, Compile proved to be definitely inspired.

More of a side-story than a true Aleste sequel, this game will see you control not a space-ship but a lethal ninja, equipped with a futuristic combat armor. Its main characteristics? A cruising speed estimated to be at around 80 km/h , a maximum leap distance of 30m and an increase of reflex-speed of 20 times compared to a normal human being...This should allow you to kick some major ass, don't you think? And believe me, that's exactly what you'll be doing throughout the game!

If you played shooters such as Elemental Master, Undead Line, Twinkle Tale or Mystic Formula, you should have an idea of the kind of gameplay you'll find (keep in mind that the scrolling is “forced” though, just like in any vertical shooter with spaceships).

Graphically, the tiny sprites are definitely well drawn although what stands out is the graphical quality of the levels. There is no parallax in them, but they look very crisp and very clean. Bosses are also fairly well drawn too although they tend to be a bit small.

The music is again very inspired and the MSX sound chips are used to their limit to provide the appropriate quality level.

Gameplay is probably the strong-point here as Aleste Gaiden is a fast-paced shooter with a silky-smooth scrolling which provides you with cool weapons and useful “satellites” (Gradius-style) to clear yourself up a destructive path to the end-of-level boss.

For some reason, the MSX hardware is much more capable when it comes to vertical scrolling and even when things become a bit crowded with bullets flying everywhere, there is only a hint of slowdown that hardly affects the game's flow.

Unfortunately, there are only 5 levels so it won't be long before you see the memorable ending sequence.

To conclude, Aleste Gaiden is a great shooter which squeezes some serious power out of the MSX hardware. Although maybe not as outstanding as other Aleste games, it's nevertheless a game that you will want to track down if you ever decide to get into MSX gaming.

Bottom line: A nice spin-off of the Aleste series, which also happens to use the msx2 hardware like not many other games. Worth digging into...8/10










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