Light Gun Game
Midway / Atari
November 26, 1996
Tantalus / Perfect Entertainment
0 31763 12284 5
1 to 2 Players
Mouse, Light Gun
Mature – Realistic Violence
Also available in a 2-ring variant. Sealed collectors can spot the 1-Ring variant by the security seal’s barcode having the first and last digit separated from the rest of the SKU. The 2-ring variant has a straight line of numbers with no separation.
- There are no known misprints.
Overview – Not a Review
A wonderfully (and purposefully) cheesy CG / stop-motion / FMV light gun game that only asks the gamer to keep the bullets coming. Lots of hidden rooms, tons of angles for enemies to pop out of, and a good set of options and practice area make this one a surprising hit. Though it has fallen to the wayside in past years (due to LCD TVs), the game really does deserve a few times through. There’s just something about stop-motion zombies that’s more endearing than animal training programs.
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Final Score: NA – No Review
- There are no screenshots for this game yet.
- Originally released in the arcades, then to home on the PlayStation and Saturn.
- Despite having a High Score setting, the game does not save to a Memory Card.
- The game supports a unique “Hidden Room” feature. Essentially, you must shoot a series of items (usually windows) in order to access a quick secret room that will give you a ton of power-ups. See the Secrets tab to explore all of them.
- The game received a short lived sequel in the Arcades called “Area 51: Site 4”.
- Another Light Gun game that doesn’t mention the option in the package.
- The aliens and zombies in the game were all stop-motion captured, similar to what Midway did with Goro, Motaro, and Sheeva in Mortal Kombat.
- The game is actually running on Atari Jaguar hardware. It was more than possible for the game to have come home to the actual retail Jaguar, but those in charge decided the investment of a light gun product would have been too little too late for the console.
- Mesa Logic, who developed the arcade version, has it’s logo on certain trucks in the game. The name on one of the admin building name plates is the founder of the company.
Area 51 is full of many secret rooms and a few programmers secrets. Let’s uncover all the secrets!
- Kronn Hunter Mode
You can become an alien and change the way the game is displayed. When the game starts, simply shoot the poor S.T.A.A.R. team member 3 times – without shooting anything else. The game will restart with a message and the entire viewpoint will be in green. Even the icons change in the ranking. Text in the ending will also change.
- Temporary Invincibility
This is more of a glitch per se, but here we are. Once you’ve shot the S.T.A.A.R. member once, literally do nothing. Every single bullet and rocket will not affect you from here on out…until the loading sequence as you enter the warehouse. Then you’re vulnerable again. This is more than likely the game waiting for the last two shots to trigger the Kronn Hunter Mode above.
- True Ending
At the end of the game., there will be a UFO floating in the upper left. You will need to shoot out all the windows of the UFO before it flies off to earn the true ending. If the ship explodes as it tries to escape, you did it!
Area 51 and its sister game Maximum Force are ripe with Secret Rooms (Essentially just ‘screens’) to be found. These are uncovered by shooting a specific set of items in a specific area. Some are far harder than others, while some give you multiple chances at it.
The rooms you will find are:
- X Marks The Spot – Shoot away panels to reveal a seductive picture of the S.T.A.A.R. female team member.
- Tank Top – A funny play on words. Females in tank tops are revealed to be in alien vats as the panels are shot away.
- Headquarters – A bathroom with aliens and destructible environments.
- Chow Palace – An alien eats the top tank woman while surrounded by a hilarious amount of power-ups. You can shoot the women without taking damage as it’s considered a “mercy killing”.
- Egg-Cellent – Shoot 5 baby alien egg shells to reveal the babies, and then shoot them, too.
It should be pointed out that in the arcade there was originally another room called “Shake Your Buddah”, but due to its contents, was stripped from the game and all future releases.
- Room 1: “X Marks The Spot” #1
Right when the game starts, the camera will eventually pan right (after your score stats) to show the outside of the warehouse on the left side. To activate the room, you will need to shoot out 10 windows. The catch is that you will need to shoot out the first 2 while the camera is panning. The easiest way to start is after the stats disappear, aim about an inch or two off the upper right corner and keep firing. You’ll nail the first 2 or 3 windows, and once the screen stops, can take care of the rest.
- Room 2: “Tank Top” #1
One of the hardest in the game to pull off. As you enter the warehouse, you now need to shoot all 15 windows from the inside. This is done in 3 segments. First, as you enter the warehouse and the game pauses for a second to load, immediately aim to the upper right and take out the first few windows where the rappelling zombies are. Second, and much later, you’ll eventually walk towards and sit inside a forklift. As this is happening you will need to shoot out every window you see. Here’s where the problem is. While sitting in the forklift, one of the windows is behind the right frame pole of the forklift. You will need to quickly shoot that out as the forklift begins to move. Third, the last 3 or 4 windows you need are to your upper left, only in view as you turn. Once you peg the hidden window, aim for the upper left corner, about an inch or two inwards and just rapid fire the spot. If correctly aimed, you’ll peg each window as the forklift makes the turn.
- Room 3: “Headquarters” #1
After shooting out the first few windows to start Room 2, you’ll make a left turn to see a red truck. On the left protruding column wall is a blue light – shoot that. There are now two remaining blue lights next to each other on the far side wall. Hit them as you pull away from the red truck, or just after the score stats are tracked.
- Room 4: “Chow Palace” #1
The easiest and most rewarding room of them all. You will need to shoot out all 15 windows on the back of the warehouse. The sequence starts as you are walking from the red truck to the helicopter. Shoot the leftmost windows first. From here the game will walk you parallel to the wall, so simply shoot out every window in the background you see as you go.
- Room 5: “Egg-Cellent” #1
So….remember that whole forklift thing from Room 2? To gain access to the first Egg-Cellent, you will need to shoot out the yellow barrels around the forklift, and then once in the lift, shoot every yellow barrel you see as it moves you to the corner of the warehouse. This includes the barrels in front of the moving stairway if you didn’t hit them while in motion. For me, the hardest part was the barrel on the left side, hidden by a stack of pallets, about half way from starting point to end.
- Room 6: “X Marks The Spot” #2
This requires you to shoot out all the black plate windows of the office that you climb up to right after the forklift. The office is two-floors tall, so we need to take this in chunks. As you’re walking from the forklift, take out the two windows easily seen, and then snag the window on the far right. Then shoot out the two window panes behind the ladder. Once up the ladder (and NOT shooting the nice STAR Lady) shoot all the panes on this side. You will then walk along the left side, so you’ll need to shoot all the black panels on your right. Once past the exploding truck, and as you turn right, now shoot the wall of windows on your right.
- Room 7: “Headquarters” #2
On the tarmac, you will need to shoot out every plane’s canopy glass. This is fairly easy as you walk among most of the planes, but there’s a destructive canopy in the background, near where you crash through the fence and gate. The final canopy to shoot belongs to the right most bomber plane.
- Room 8: “X Marks The Spot” #3
This one is tricky, but doable. As you’re in the jeep, a friendly helicopter will fly in and drop a rope ladder. Once you’ve transferred to the ladder, you will need to shoot every yellow and red explosive box you see before landing at the admin building. The hard part here is that on the right side, one of the boxes is hidden behind an FMV giant brown crate.
- Room 9: “Egg-Cellent” #2
Once dropped off at the Admin building, you will turn left into a window-lined hallway. The targets are actually any three of the lit ceiling lights and then exit sign above the door. You can shoot the exit sign first and then the lights, or the three lights and then the sign.
- Room 10: “Headquarters” #3
This is one of the fun ones. You will need to shoot two picture frames found on two-separate desks, and then two gold nameplates on successive doors. Shooting the second nameplate will trigger the room.
- Room 11: “Chow Palace” #2
Super easy – you will need to shoot every painting you see in the office. There is a single painting you can not shoot, and it’s in the office from where a chair comes flying out of.
- Room 12: “Egg-Cellent” #3
After a score screen, you will be in a gray and blue computer room. You will need to shoot out all 13 computer screens before you turn to the left wall. Not all computers are turned out, so make sure you just shoot every screen you see. They’re all in the bottom half of the viewing window.
- Room 13: “”Chow Palace” #3
You will reach an area with two barrel-throwing zombies. To unlock this final secret room, you will need to shoot every single yellow barrel in view.
- Room 14: “Get A Life”
This was apparently a tease for the then upcoming Site 4 sequel game as well as a potential contest from Atari. Near the end of the game, you will see a bunker rise up from out of the ground loaded with explosive items. You will need to shoot every single item. Every barrel, every box, etc. Once everything has been blown away, the game will trigger a video sequence of the far right door opening to reveal a giant alien. It shoots you and the message “Access Denied” appears. Once over, you’ll be whisked away back to the final moments of the game.
- Room 1: “X Marks The Spot” #1