Alpha Mission

A vertical space shoot 'em up game originally on Arcade machines which then moved to the NES. It was SNK's first game for the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Overview

Alpha Mission (or ASO: Armored Scrum Object, as its known in Japan) is a vertical-scrolling shoot-em-up from SNK, released in Arcades in 1985 and on the NES a year later.

The game is a typical scrolling shoot 'em up of the era, though one of the earliest to adopt an idiosyncratic power-up system when the genre was first experimenting with the concept. Unlike, say, Gradius, in which the player collects a currency of sorts and spends them on their desired power-up, Alpha Mission requires that players target pyramid structures on the ground (similarly to Xevious) and collect the letters that appear. Each letter provides a different type of power-up, and also includes the "energy" (represented with the letter E) required to use them. There's also a few negative "power-downs" included as well, including a backwards E that will actually deplete the player's remaining energy reserves.