Area 51 Site 4
by Atari Co.
Area 51 introduced players worldwide to the exploits of STAAR, the top-secret alien-busting special: forces team, whose mission was to thwart the invasion plans of the fearsome alien parasite from the planet Kronn.
Now the STAAR team has learned that the Kronn alien species was not wiped out during the first battle at Area 51 as previously thought. Secretly, a rogue branch of the military has established a stronghold in the decrepit S-4 labs, deep beneath the sprawling sands of the mysterious base. Renegade scientists are performing cutting-edge genetic recombination experiments in hopes of creating a stronger, deadlier and more controllable alien. But if we have learned anything from previous experiments with Kronn DNA, it's that things can quickly get out of control, and they do.
Once again, the STAAR team is the world's only hope. This time, players will undergo intense physical and mental training before going to war against the resurgent Kronn. In each of 18 different training waves, players will hone their reflexes and sharpen their targeting skills in preparation for the coming invasion of the Site 4 labs. Once they are ready, players jump into battle with experience on their side. However, this time the Kronn are more than just cannon fodder. They have gotten smarter, stronger, and deadlier. And this time, they have a leader.
Site 4 is a light-gun game, employing the same technology as Atari's other recent gun games Area 51 and Maximum Force. The game consists of the training waves, divided into three "sites" (Sites 1, 2 and 3), and a roughly six-minute long, full-blown movie-style gameplay sequence similar to Area 51 (Site 4). To play Site 4, the final all-out battle against the Kronn, players must complete one of the first three training sites, and complete ("pass") the six events within the training site. Each event has a quota, a certain number of targets that must be hit in order for the event to be successfully passed. These events typically involve accurate and fast shooting of aliens, spaceships or other targets. In some events, players can pick up shotguns and machine guns that can help them perform better. Shotguns, for instance, have a wider blast radius and make it a lot easier to hit tough objects. The placement of the power-ups can sometimes be a distraction, though--a good player will master the timing of objects to pick up the power-ups when they will cause the least distraction.
Some of the same aliens return from Area 51--including the Stage 1 zombies and Stage 3 Kronn aliens. Now, each one takes multiple shots to bring down--they have gotten tougher! The zombies and aliens can now be hit in one of several places--either in the arms, heads or torsos. The latter will knock them down, and if it isn't the fatal blow, the aliens will jump to their feet again and continue their onslaught.
The aliens now have a Boss--the big bad Kronn Queen. She is a sight to behold--standing nearly 20 feet tall, she has a demonic look and appendages that hurl fireballs. In several lock-down stages in Site 4, the Queen shoots fireballs, chunks of concrete and even her own minions at the player. For the most damage, players can aim for her sweet spot.
Like Area 51 and Maximum Force, Site 4 will be rich with shootable objects--objects in the environment that are worth points as you blow them up--things like crates, lights, windows, etc. Also, there will, of course, be plenty of secret rooms.
One thing that seems to be missing in Site 4 is the meter that tells you which of the two players is shooting the more targets. This was an excellent incentive to shoot as many enemies as you could, and brought in a level of competition previously not seen in a light-gun game. It is also unknown if the cool streak feature will be included in this game. Streak simply meant that you continually shoot enemies without missing. This would exponentially raise your score and, once again, added an air of competition to a two-player gun game. It is likely both of these will be added by the time the game is shipped.
As for the hardware, the new Cyrix Media GXi chip (running at 20Mhz), 16 MB RAM and 2.1 Gig Quantum IDE hard drive produce a richer and more vibrant look than either Area 51 or Maximum Force. The level of detail is amazing, and the new hardware allows us to have interactive aliens, which take multiple shots and can have selective hit reactions depending upon where on their bodies you hit them.
Area 51 was a very popular game. It might be that we in America seem to be in a bit of an "alien frenzy" right now, or it might be the fact that it was a simple gun game utilizing a hard drive, offering awesome rolling backgrounds and effects. The reason for its longevity is the plentiful secrets, and Site 4 appears to be no different. Add to that the fact that this game has even more ground to cover, more strange and different aliens and more intricate Bosses to destroy, and you have a game that will probably be #1 as long as Area 51 was.
MANUFACTURER - Atari
THEME - Light Gun
NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 or 2