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Alphaman: The New Beginning

"You've killed the housecat...you deserve a pat on the back!" ...dialog from Alphaman: The New Beginning.

How does one describe Alphaman: The New Beginning? Put briefely, I would say that this is the Rogue-like that is the least like Rogue. Set in a dystopic, nuclear future, you play the role of Alphaman, the last man alive (?) and the first in this new, strange future in which virulent prairie chickens roam the countryside, lizards blast you with fire, and gazelles zap you with lasers. Other enemies include asparagus, gas spores, repair droids, woodpeckers, and a special weak enemy you get to name and assign a color to at the beginning of the game!

For the non-Rogue-initiated, I'd recommend reading about and/or playing Rogue first. This review assumes you are familiar with Role-Playing Games in general and Rogue-likes in particular. This may not be the game with which to begin your Rogue-like career. It would probably be your last, due to the difficulty and complexity of the game.

In addition to a variety of very unique and colorful enemies, there is a large variety of weapons, armor, tech devices, and berries that can aid you on your way. You start with two unique abilities, for example, mental healing and sonic attack, which can be used with no limit but take time to recharge after having been used.

Armor is made from a number of materials, including fur, plastic, and wood, as well as metal. Maces, clubs, arrows, darts, swords, etc., serve as weapons, perhaps the sole area in the game that does not diverge from Rogue-ness. Tech devices come in many and varied forms. Binoculars allow you to see an area you have not visited, which can prove to be a huge tactical help. You can get light sabers, fusion grenades, or blasters, which have limited use but are very effective in killing the extra-bad baddies. Some tech devices are rather low-tech, such as the pepper shaker. There is a terrific tech device that causes everything in the vicinity, including yourself, to vomit, and baddies can't freeze/blast/burn/shoot for the duration. The tech devices remind me of the wonderful Super Nintendo game Earthbound and the Apple Kid and the Orange Kid.

Berries may be found lying around randomly. Berries can cause a number of different effects, both good and bad, such as increasing your intelligence, increasing your radiation resistance, or blasting you with radiation. Berries always satisfy your hunger, so you might want to keep them even if they're known to harm you.

Along with the open terrain, there are buildings and caves to explore. The caves are infested with a single type of monster, and there are lots of them. It's the original experience cave. Think Diablo II.

The purpose of the game? "You are an agent who must use all available means to save the world from disaster. These means include arms and armor, technological items you can find and figure out, mutated berries which bestow special powers and your own mutations." Good luck, then. I found the game rather difficult. The enemies are tough and many have ranged attacks and so forth. Some enemies swarm and most are quite aggressive. I'd recommend playing this on the easiest setting. There's no shame in that, and you'll save yourself from a lot of frustration borne of re-loading and more re-loading.

I enjoyed the uniqueness of the game and the funny comments here and there. The added complexity, via tech devices, berries, and unpredictable enemies as well as a very unique back story makes for a trippy experience in this non-Rogue-like Rogue-like. It can get rather difficult and frustrating, but isn't that true of any such game?

Click here to visit the Alphaman download page.
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