Sunday, February 21, 2016

Alpha Blue

A common problem with rpg products that set out to capture a certain type of other media is they often don't succeed. It's easy enough to make a science fiction game or setting; harder to make one that really feels like say Forbidden Planet or maybe the sort of stuff you'd see in Heavy Metal. When I got a review copy of Alpha Blue, I was already aware of its general conceit, so I was not necessarily expecting but prepared to find that to be the case once again. I was wrong: Alpha Blue pretty much does what it sets out to do.

For those of you who haven't heard of it, Alpha Blue is a game (though OSR conversion notes are given) mostly about sci-fi adventures aboard the titular space station brothel Alpha Blue. Satanis clearly knows his 70s and 80s sci-fi, horror, and exploitation films. There are nice Easter eggs and call backs to these things throughout the text. Anybody who's read my stuff knows I fond of that, as well, so it was a touch I appreciated. The art is good, too, some of it technically better than other pieces, but all if it supports the mood and continues the call backs--sometimes to the point of distraction, but mostly spot on. One of the artists style reminded me of Niso Ramponi's concept art for Starcrash, which kind of enhances the overall vibe.

Now to be clear many parts of Alpha Blue are definitely sophomoric, occasionally prurient, and will be considered by many sexist in places. This is completely in keeping with much of the source material--but it won't appeal to everyone. There are a lot of random tables (many of them pretty humorous), though, so you don't have to dive in completely to get use of it. The writing is conversational and clearly lets you know that everything is to be taken tongue-in-cheek.


Venger Satanis said...

Thanks for the review. Glad you "got it". Love those concept pieces for Starcrash!

Trey said...

It does a good job of getting the "feel" across, for sure.