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Super Aleste

Super Aleste (Space Megaforce in North America) is a game that I wanted to write about on this site not because it does weird, over the top, exotic things. I wanted to write about it because it does all of the conventional things so very right. It has some fun power-ups. The level layouts are bang-on. Boss fights are well put together. The graphics are nice. It’s just a very well-made shoot ‘em up.

Story is light on details and also varies depending on whether one is playing Space Megaforce or Super Aleste. The former is the game’s North American localization, while the other is what Japan and Europe got. Basically, a huge sphere arrives on Earth from space and proceeds to attack a number of cities before settling over South America. With that, humanity’s last chance at stopping the thing and its reinforcements is a newly developed space fighter. From there it’s off to blast legions of aliens and save the world. In Super Aleste, the game does go a little further, adding a backstory to the pilots of the vessel, but that got cut out for Space Megaforce.

While blasting through the stages, it quickly becomes apparent that they are often very big. Compared to other shmups, these things just keep going and going. The layout of enemies, turrets, and obstacles are very nicely laid out as well. It feels like there’s always something to watch out for and hardly any dead space. Folks will have to take a bit of time to learn what objects are and aren’t obstacles, though, because there is a lot of destructible stuff in the game and it’s hard to tell what is what.

By the second stage, things start getting a lot tougher. The first one eases people in, but stage two cranks things up. There are a lot more enemies on screen as well as bullets and missiles to dodge. Suddenly, players will have to work a lot harder not to die. It’s impressive how much the game was able to have going on at once and not cause slowdown. Luckily, players’ ship isn’t a one hit wonder. The first enemy hit will power down your ship’s weapon systems, making it very weak. Then usually the second strike is what will blow people up. Bosses also take some doing to bring down. Usually they require figuring out some mechanics and dodging quite a lot of bullets. Par for the course, but a challenge nonetheless.

The game also has a lot of power-ups for players to use. These include a spread shot, directional shot, a bunch of options that follow the player’s ship, lasers, missiles, and more. There are a lot of really helpful weapons in the game. However, there are also some sub optimal ones, so people will sometimes find themselves skipping over these things. On top of having a slew of weapons at your disposal, they can even have their strength increased significantly by collecting gold orbs. On the whole, power-ups are very nice in Super Aleste.

Visually, this is quite a pretty game. As mentioned earlier, there is a ton going on at any given time. Most of the time, I’d expect there to be slowdown with this happens, but that’s not the case in Super Aleste. It’s very impressive. Also, there is often a lot of detail in the backgrounds as well as the bosses. The developers don’t seem to have held back in making the game as pretty as they were able to. On top of this, the game has a top-notch soundtrack. Each stage has very catchy tunes complimenting the action and that I suspect will get suck in a lot of folks’ heads.

There are a ton of very good shoot ‘em ups on the SNES. Generally, stuff like R-Type and Gradius get the lion’s share of people’s attention. However, it’s definitely worth giving Super Aleste a shot. It just does so many things right that it’s hard not to fall in love with the game.

- IroIro
October 22, 2019
Platform: SNES
Genre: Shoot 'Em Up
Developer: Compile
Publisher: Toho
Released: 1992

Super Aleste Space Megaforce Image 1
Super Famicom Box Art

Super Aleste Space Megaforce Image 2
Flying in deep space

Super Aleste Space Megaforce Image 3
Taking on an enemy fleet

Super Aleste Space Megaforce Image 4
Facing off against a boss