Developed by Compile and released in Japan only in 1989, Aleste Gaiden is the third Aleste game to come out for MSX home computers – specifically: for the MSX2.
In Japanese, the word “gaiden” means “side story”, which is what this is – a spin-off from the previous two Aleste games. In effect it tells the same story as the first Aleste, but with a different story and setting.
Unlike the previous Aleste games you’re not controlling a spaceship this time, but a robot running along the ground. The robot can jump over holes in the ground – which is a feature new to the series – and, conversely, can also lose lives by falling into said holes. This new feature at least brings a welcome new dimension to the gameplay.
Said robot can collect various power-ups as it progresses, ranging from diagonal lasers, to making clones of itself.
There are five different stage in total, each with a boss battle at the end. Graphically, Aleste Gaiden is on a par with previous MSX Alestes. That is: nicely drawn and coloured, with smooth scrolling. Gameplay is challenging and fairly exciting, and shows off what the MSX2 is capable of.
Like a lot of Compile creations, Aleste Gaiden is a game worth tracking down and playing, if you’re into vertically-scrolling shooters.