Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Little-Known Sega Genesis Shooter You Probably Never Played

Originally released in 1995 for the Sega Mega Drive (a.k.a. the Sega Genesis), Treasure's Alien Soldier might be one of the best shoot 'em ups you've never played. The game starred a strikingly designed character named Epsilon-Eagle, who was literally a half-cyborg-half-eagle humanoid with an Epsilon tattoo on his arm. Through a series of high-octane battles, it was up to Epsilon-Eagle to save the planet from an invading army. While that description sounds like a zillion games before it, there's never been anything quite like Alien Soldier before or since.


Alien Soldier's gameplay, which Hardcore Gaming 101 said helped to make it "an unequivocal technical masterpiece," was varied and exciting. Eagle-Epsilon had several different skills at his disposal, including six different guns, a teleportation ability, and a brilliant counter move that would actually convert enemy bullets into health power-ups. There was even an ultimate attack that transformed Epsilon-Eagle into a fiery phoenix that devastated all enemies on the screen. 

For fans of action games, Alien Soldier provided a difficult but thrilling experience. However, the unfortunate circumstances of Alien Soldier's release meant it went unplayed by a huge number of gamers.

How can you play Alien Soldier?

Sadly for North American and European gamers, Alien Soldier never received a proper release outside of Japan back in the day. The game was released in 1995 toward the end of the Mega Drive's lifespan, which was also after the Sega Saturn had already been released (and was not doing well). 


This was a bummer for the developers, as well. In a 1995 interview with Shmuplations, game director Hideyuki Suganami said, "I've thrown my life away on the Megadrive [sic], and gambled it all on Alien Soldier."  At the time, it seemed as though the legacy of Alien Soldier was over before it even began.

Thanks to more recent re-releases of Alien Soldier, however, gamers have the opportunity to experience the mayhem for themselves. Currently, Alien Soldier is readily available through Steam as a stand-alone title. It can also be purchased as part of the Sega Genesis Classics collection for the Nintendo Switch. For fans of nostalgic Sega games, that collection is pretty much a no-brainer, since it also includes such classics as Altered Beast and Comix Zone. Sadly, Alien Soldier was not included among the games on 2019's Sega Genesis Mini console.


Why is Alien Soldier such a big deal?

Alien Soldier has achieved something of a cult classic status since it was released back in 1995. In particular, Alien Soldier has been praised for its wild character designs, soundtrack, and interesting gameplay mechanics. In a modern review of the game for IGN, reviewer Lucas M. Thomas compared it favorably to another shooter classic from Treasure, Gunstar Heroes. Thomas wrote, "Alien Soldier is a long-lost piece of Treasure's action gaming legacy."


In a review of the more recent Nintendo Switch port found on the Sega Mega Drive Classics collection, Eurogamer's Martin Robinson wrote, "[Alien Soldier has] an anarchy that's peerless ... a full-on torrent, a non-stop assault of enemies and ideas and bullets and mayhem and noise and just about everything. It's easy to find yourself lost in the chaotic mix of it all."

If you've never played Alien Soldier, seeking out one of the re-releases might be well worth your time.