Do you believe in reincarnation? Well, the time is the future - or could it be the set of some 1950's sci-fi B-movie? - and what we have here are Gillius Thunderhead, Tyris Flare and Ax Battler strutting their stuff once again. Either them or their grandchildren. Alien Storm is revisited, there's no getting around it.
At least, that's the idea. Unfortunately, in the process of swapping goblins for slime-monsters, axes for flame-throwers and loin-cloths for laser-resistant shell-suits, something's gone missing. In Superman III when Gus Gorman attempts to make Kryptonite, he has the formula exactly right except for one crucial ingredient - as a result, the fruit of his labours doesn't quite work and Superman gets nasty.
It's the same with Alien Storm. Unfortunately the elusive ingredient X here is the gameplay. The result? Well, it's nasty too - a tedious hacking game that's certainly no superhero. There's none of the gung-ho hook of Golden Axe, revealing a shallow game underneath the glossy graphics.
So how does it all work? Well, as in Axe you chose to play one of three different warriors (player two can join in the ruck allowing two characters on screen at once), each equipped with an individual weapon.
It's your sorry lot to plod through six levels of slithering, oozing and scuttling aliens - the action is in forced 3D, allowing your player to walk around or somersault over the bad guys - simply, erm, killing them all.
As you make your slow but inevitable progress through the game, different formations of alien hard-nuts waddle onto the screen. Annihilate the whole gang (a brawlish business that usually degenerates into merely facing off with a bug-eyed internal organ of some description and pummeling the fire button through the floor) and a 'Go!' message is flashed in the top righthand corner. Your character walks forwards another ten yards, the background scrolls to keep up, and the next bunch of mutated trick-or-treaters are thrown into the lion-s den.
And that's it really. Every now and then s sub-plot level rears its ugly head - for example, you may well find yourself summoned to do a rentokill job in one of the buildings en route, the action now taking an Operation Wolf view point as the aliens pop up from behind shelves and inch their way towards you - but the vast bulk of the game is this rather limited scrolling beat-'em-up. Before too long, the level will suddenly finish and the whirr-clunk of your disk drive tells you that yes, there's really is yet more of the same. The whole business is really rather simple.
Technically, Alien Storm is fairly respectable. The graphics are both large and colourful, and on the whole they move smoothly. The soundtrack cuts a natty little number and (on paper) there's little missing: special weapons; forced 3D; three characters; two-player action; the lot. But lots of parts added together don't necessarily make a whole, and as a game Alien Storm comes across as sorely lacking. Very dull stuff on the whole.