There's only one thing I know about Alien Soldier, and that's that it's super hard. It doesn't mess around, demanding mastery of the controls to even begin to think about getting through what is actually a pretty short game.
Basically, I know that I'll be judging this game on the first five minutes, and whatever I then watch on YouTube, so let's hope those first five minutes are pretty damn good.
When I say that it's super hard, I mean that it's super hard. Even on the Supereasy difficulty, Alien Soldier doesn't pull any of its punches. You will die, often, and you will need practice and patience to get through what is essentially a boss rush mode with some 'easy' levels in between.
Those bosses are the core of the game. The plot is a bit ridiculous and is only brought up in a massive text dump at the start of the game, so you might as well ignore it, which means Alien Soldier is about you, Epsilon-Eagle, versus boss after boss after boss, all different and all determined to kill you.
So how do you combat them? You're armed with four weapons, which you pick from a selection of six at the start of the game. Those are your only choices, but you can test out those weapons and put them in multiple weapon slots in order to mix up your gameplay a little, with some weapons naturally being better in some situations than others.
There are even 26 types of HUD for you to chose from, should you have a preference for bars over numbers, for example. Once you've selected your arsenal, you can play around with the controls before committing to your first failure of a run through the game.
You need to switch weapons on the fly, and ammunition control is essential. You also need to play it smart with the shooting mode, allowing you to strafe and fire, or sit in one spot and shoot in whatever direction you want. Knowing how each move can work together in order to defeat your foes is also on your to-do list.
The game is so heavy on bosses that the short stages serve as downtime, and the enemies in them are cannon fodder. If you're unsure of what they're going to do, though - and you probably will be at first, because their designs won't make it obvious how they're going to threaten you - then you can easily lose too much health and ammo in your downtime before the boss.
You're not getting the greatest of screenshots here, what with me desperately trying to get further into the game at the same time, but in motion, Alien Soldier looks and sounds pretty damn good. I can only judge that on anything up to the first boss with my first-hand experience, but I've watched it since my utter failure of a first attempt and there is a solid game here.
The bosses - of which there are many - are equal parts superb and ghastly, with strange move sets and animations, and designs that mash together insects with Transformers with aliens and all sorts.
If you're up for a challenge, you can certainly find it here. If that's not your thing, then it's definitely worth watching instead.
With the Sega Mega Drive coming to the end of its life and the lead developer essentially making much of the game himself, Alien Soldier would be released half-finished, lacking more story elements and with graphics that could have been improved - and it still made the 1001 list.
Alien Soldier, developed by Treasure, first released in 1995.
Version played: Sega Mega Drive, 1995, via emulation.
Version watched: Sega Mega Drive, 1995 (TheSw1tcher, World of Longplays)