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Alien Syndrome was a rather decent arcade conversion but in my opinion, the graphic atmosphere could be improved. Many aspects were great however, and this selection screen was really cool. Well, with a little help from Paint Shop Pro I managed to make it even better (in my opinion of course).

First of all, I decided to reproduce the tiling effect of the original arcade picture by moving both texts to the top and bottom. To get closer to its grayscale effect, I made a reasonably easy to implement addition (see the technical bit for details). It allows the upper and lower strips to use darker colors.

On second thought, I don't like the gray, cross-shaped eyes, and the new eyes have a more mature look, don't you think? The whole thing also looks somewhat cleaner with regular dithering on the hairs and shirts.

As far as colors are concerned, I really prefer the purple background. By the way, I really don't like messages using opposite colors like green and cyan. Using green and purple at the same time is also a common mistake. Because of that, the colors of my version are not very faithful to the arcade original, but my goal was to make it look as good as possible on the C64. Better to have an inaccurate but good looking adaptation than a dull attempt to get closer to the original, that's what I think.

The Pictures

On the left the original C64 screen, and on the right my own version.

Original screenshot Screenshot++
Click here for color version
Click here for larger version

Technical Bit

This picture more than likely uses character mode.

Let's talk about the middle strip first. Colors 2 and 3 are pink and brown. I have used valid colors for color 1 (blue, yellow, red, purple) and checked that there is only one main color in each 8X8 cell.

The light gray parts of the eyes are obviously in hi-resolution and they overlap with colors 2 and 3, so I guess they are made of multiplexed monochrome sprites. The same technique applies to the white part of the eyes in my picture.

Now, the top and bottom strips are achieved by replacing main colors (respectively by black, light cyan, black and dark blue) and altering the color 2 and 3 registers to middle and dark gray using an additional color split. This adds variety to the picture, but it is not mandatory, of course.

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