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Aleste 2 [Neo Bio Cyber Shooting]

version: jp - year: 1989 - developer: compile - publisher: compile - format: msx2, 3 disks - condition: near mint, w/o paper plane - rarity: very

This excellent package includes the game's manual, an amazing b/w art book and it should also come with a paper plane.


































Review - Along with Space Manbow, Aleste 2 is the reason why I decided to get into MSX gaming.

Maybe the stylish cover art reminiscent of Studio CLAMP works, or maybe its incredible rarity (I have never seen this one on ebay!) turned it into some sort of elusive Holy Grail. It took me about 6 months to get a hold of it and when I inserted the 1st disk into the drive, I was crossing fingers hoping that it would load properly and that it would have been worth the cash thrown at it!

Anyways, as I discovered later on, loading time has been optimized so you'll hardly notice the game runs on disks.

The 1st Disk is for the intro and ending sequence, disk A is for levels 1 through 4 and Disk B is for levels 5 to 8. By the way, you should make sure not to miss a great hidden cutscene which can be viewed after finishing Level 4. You'll be prompted to insert disk B but instead insert the first disk (labelled DEMO) and you'll see a very cool animated scene...

The beautiful manga-style introduction with its atmospheric music immediately promises great things to come. From the beginning, Aleste2 let's you choose the default weapon you want to start with.

After choosing the laser, the game loads for a few seconds before leaving me in control of the spaceship which flies madly at ultra high-speed over green marshes. There, all kind of mutations like pulsating plants with tentacles try to put a violent end to my speedy advances in enemy territory.

Compared to Aleste, this sequel has a more organic look and feel, where it is clearly visible that hostile alien vegetation is taking over humankind 's industrialized cities. The level of detail of the backgrounds has been greatly increased while the game retained the trademark ultra fast scrolling which is now smoother than ever. Some flickering and slowdown persist in the most chaotic moments, although they have been reduced by a great margin compared to the first game.

Interestingly, the mini-turrets boss theme has been almost entirely dropped since Compile decided to let loose its creative verve: here, end-of-level bosses look gorgeous and innovative.

The graphical overhaul has been pervasive. Richer backgrounds coupled with cooler explosions and a better use of the color palette make Aleste2 look like a game running on Mega Drive. Add to this the outstanding soundtrack, and you easily have the ultimate killer application for your MSX2. I must point out that the graphical improvement came at a cost: sometimes bullets can be hard to see againts vividly colored backdrops and this can be a bit frustrating and will force you to learn the enemy patterns. This makes the game harder than it needs to be…

Another thing I should mention is that weapon-spread isn't sufficient enough so this will make you move a lot more than in Aleste1, so you'll become an easier target for the constant bullet waves which persistently cover the screen and which most of the time have the nasty habit of following you anywhere you go! Also, upgrading the main weapon takes a long time and once you lose a ship, you lose all your weapons upgrade (just like in Aleste 1).

Some stages are harder than others (I am thinking specifically about Stage 4 and Stage 8) and sometimes, they seem to stretch for too long.

Chances are that after trying for what will seem to be like the millionth time, you'll get discouraged and you'll be tempted to give up and recognize the superiority of your MSX2 computer. Those of you who won't concede defeat will have no choice but to understand the nature of the enemy threat by falling into an almost hypnotic state and “becoming one” with the action taking place into the screen. The interferences of the outside world will gradually fade away, the phone ringing will seem so distant as to come from another reality. Your brain cells will get synchronized to the primitive Artificial Intelligence routines of the enemy patterns. The separation between your world and the game's world will shrink and then disappear into inexistence. You'll gradually interiorize the man-machine interface that connects you to Aleste2 universe to the point that you'll find yourself sinking into a cathartic state before being reborn and ascend to new glory! Congratulations, you just finished the game!!

Bottom line: The ultimate MSX2 showcase and one of the best vertical shooters on any system....10/10










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