It all happened so long ago now. Doom, that is. Actually, that's not true at all, because Doom only happened about a year and a half ago, and that really isn't that long is it? It just seems like ages because there have been so many different Doom clones In the meantime. That is, of course, on the PC. The Amiga has unfortunately had to wait all this time to receive it's third Doom clone.
Of course, if you want to find out what I think about the game, you'll have to go and read the verdict box that's hiding over the page because as usual all you'll find out in this extensive overview is what the game is about, how it works and the whole caboodle. So, what have we here then. It's Alien Breed 3D, the latest in the Alien Breed series from Team 17, and to be perfectly honest it's easily the best of the bunch. That's not to say the others were no good though!
Storyline? Well, not much of one to talk about really, the usual marine type chap forced to go into battle because of escaped alien meanies kind of thing. But what of those of you who have never seen or played Doom, how about if I described the whole thing to you? How would that be, eh?
Alright then. Many of you Amigaoids out there must certainly have been envious of your mates with their Atari STs at some stage. You see, they had the master of all dungeon games, the undisputed king Dungeon Master on a paltry half meg at least a year before the Amiga's slow 1 meg version appeared.
As you might recall, Dungeon Master was set In a maze with textured walls and floors which simply flipped between screens as you moved. Well, Doom takes the idea just one step further. Instead of simply flipping between screens, Doom actually had the wall moving backwards as you walked on, so you could watch the texture wall move by. Not only that, whereas in D.M. you could only turn at exact right angles, and every room was a rectangle of some description, in Doom rooms could be any shape, and you could turn through a full 360 degrees at any angle you liked.
Now, bearing in mind this amazing moving maze, you'd have thought the game-play wasn't up top much. Wrong sucker. Doom played one hell of a game, and had you as a marine sent In to clean up an escaped alien menace (surprise, surprise). Blood, and gore scored heavily on the graphics front, and everything was generally over the top. Well, the Amiga's first Doom pretenders Gloom and Fears weren't bad actually. They captured some of the great game's features, and generally made Amiga owners happy. However, Allen Breed is an entirely different kettle of fish. This games takes the Doom mantle and adds lots of bits of gold braiding to make it even more special.
One of the best examples of this is in the water. In Alien Breed 3D you can go underwater, and search for weapons and health, etc. This water is physically different to air too, because you move slower, and the sound effects become noticeably more echoey. As well as the water, AB3D also allows you to duck to proceed under low areas, and under half open doors. The main game is identical though, with a choice of five weapons each doing a greater amount of damage than the last, health constantly diminishing from alien attacks, and keys to be found for locked doors. To cap it all the game has sixteen levels of action for you to overcome, and as you progress the aliens get bigger, faster and more deadly.
The controls are a cinch. If you want to use the keyboard you can, and the mouse control too is excellent. I found by far the best way to move your character around though was with a CD32 control pad, which allowed all the possible keyboard functions on the pad, from running and opening doors, to selecting weapons and ducking.
So, what else can I tell you before you lose interest In the whole thing and head for the verdict box? Well, I could always tell you about the fact that the game allows you to remove the high definition floors and ceilings, and make then either gouraud shaded, standard texture mapped, solid coloured shaded or simply black. Naturally on a standard A1200 the game shambles along a little bit, but with solid colour floors it fair zips along. Anything else then? Alright what about the two player link up mode, which lets you join together two A1200s and play a two-player death match between yourselves? What else do want to know? How about what I think? Why not head to the verdict box then fools!
So, what is it like then? Hmmm, it's actually bloody good. It is the best of the Doom clones on the Amiga A1200 by far, and is far more like Doom than any of the others. Of course, that could be held against it as a lack of originality but with the added extras of both ducking and underwater sections it is an unfounded claim.
It's not all good though, unlike Gloom the window area cannot be resized and the resolution cannot be changed to help with speed. The only option you have on this front is to lower the resolution of the floors and ceilings, which does help speed up the game a great deal. Generally the graphics are fine, although really they are of too low a resolution for my liking. I found myself being shot by a small group of pixels in the distance and was forced to move forwards taking more hits until I could actually see what has hitting me, before selecting the appropriate weapon and firing back.
The game is certainly challenging enough for even the most talented games players, and as yet I have been playing for several days and haven't beaten level four yet. Secret areas abound on the first few levels, and by level four I had already amassed all the weapons that the game had to offer. Perhaps a more gentle learning curve would have been better?
In any case, the game is excellent. Although I might have minor gripes about the graphics there is no doubting that the gameplay is superb. The atmosphere generated by the combination of graphics and the excellent sound effects is quite terrifying, and you find yourself wary of travelling down the corridors In case you come across one of the monsters.
And what monsters! Certainly some of the designs are base on doom, including the giant fireball-throwing eyes, but the hounds of hell that attack you on early levels are original to say the least. As I explained I have yet to see beyond the early stages, but I'm sure bigger and better creatures await the full force of my rocket launcher in the chops!
I really have nothing left to say on the game except this. If you have an A1200 or A4000, and have yet to buy a Doom-clone because you thought this would be the best, you were right. Go and get it now! Should you be lucky enough to have a friend who also owns an A1200 then you are in like flint mate, with some of the best two-player blasting I've ever seen. Just think on this though, if you have already bought a Doom-clone then this really isn't that different to warrant another purchase, and If you're waiting for the best, then I have a feeling the improved Gloom Deluxe might give Alien Breed 3D a proper run for its money. Time will tell...
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