Also available on PlayStation, Windows, and in arcade
Area 51 was always an arcade favorite of mine, and its Saturn conversion remains a Saturn favorite. Light gun arcade games were pretty big in the mid to late 90s; at least in my area, light gun cabinets and driving cabinets were usually the only machines that you could still find in commercial operation after 2000. It's a shame that Area 51 never got a cleaned up port to Wii or even PlayStation Move, but as long as you held on to your PlayStation or Saturn and a good CRT TV, the glory days of the 90s can still be relived.
Receiving ports on both Saturn and PlayStation, one cannot help but compare the two. I haven't played the PlayStation version, but I've seen enough footage to make some basic comparisons. While I normally consider the Saturn to be the 5th gen's light gun powerhouse, the Saturn port of Area 51 is, honestly, just slightly inferior to the PlayStation port. The Saturn version has a slight cropping on the game area, and while it is a pretty small frame crop, it is worth noting. Other than that, though, the two versions are virtually identical as far as I'm aware. The FMV and digitized actors look the same, they seem to have similar loading times from what I've seen, and the performance of the two are equally stable.
The game's story is that you're part of a special forces team sent in to sanitize the secret US base at Area 51 after an alien contagion spreads through the base and turns the base personnel into alien zombies. In the later stages of this infection, the victim eventually morphs completely into an alien. As you move through the base on the game's rails, you have to shoot any infected personnel to clear the base. Getting shot, obviously, takes away a point of life, and shooting one of your allies takes away a point of life as well. You can use grenades (if you have any) to clear the screen of enemies, and you can find powerups in the environment that can upgrade your weapon to either a shotgun or a machine gun. All in all, it's a pretty standard rail shooter, but it's absolutely expertly crafted.
Area 51 is an absolute cheese-fest, but it's the sci-fi B-movie kind of cheese which I absolutely love. Even if that kind of cinema cheese isn't your cup of tea, the gameplay is so on point here that it more than makes up for the cheese acting. Truthfully, the PlayStation port is the superior of the two, but I'm a Saturn guy, so this is my version of choice, especially considering that the only real difference that I saw was that there's a very slight frame crop on the Saturn version. Either version you play, however, is going to give you an AWESOME rail gun experience.
My Rating - 4 Neps
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.