Everyone in the world of Amiga games knows about Alien Breed. The Gauntlet clone that managed to better the original in terms of plot, playability, and good fun.
The first version of this Amiga institution first appeared way back around Christmas time of 1991. Since then, it's seen many incarnations, notably Alien Breed Special Edition and Alien Breed 2.
There wasn't a great difference between one version and another, although Alien Breed 2 boasted a hardness that saw the average gamer throwing their arms up in surrender at the 90 degree difficulty curve.
Alan Bunker assured AF that Tower Assault was the last venture into Alien Breed land that Team 17 would ever produce. Which, while assuming the mantle of retrogressively "no, don't go, don't go" weaned sentimentality, seems like a good thing.
As a glorious tribute and an excellent send off. Tower Assault boasts 55 levels and 275 different methods of completing the game; a feature more than welcome to those who found the linearity of the originals more than exasperating.
Alien Breed fans will appreciate the gesture and find that there's a lot of meat in here both in terms of difficulty rating and plot. They're going to be able to indulge in a gore fest while at the same time test their mental faculties like never before.
Run to the hills
There's also some new mechanics and ideas thrown in to add more variety, such as the use of a two-button joypad to activate a retreat mode which automatically faces your man backward so that he can shoot as he runs away. This opens up the possibility of having two players venture through the corridors back to back, guns blazing as they go.
And speaking of two players, a toggle's been put in so that player's shots can hurt each other. Quite why they would want to is another matter. The game's difficult enough as it is and peace through superior firepower is a maxim that can almost be reached with a duo of players.
Every level has its own separate mission to be fulfilled before it can be considered completed. To find out what it is, the player first has to jack in to one of the computer terminals dotted around the various complexes. Just like the original, weapons, ammo and other info are accessed from these handy devices.
To help navigate, a limited map can be accessed. Full maps of each level are stumbled upon from time to time, and these can prove invaluable. They help the player calculate which doors need to be opened and which don't. So, over-reliance on the map never happens. Use of memory is necessary in order to make efficient use of door and colour-coded key passes. Multiple exits from each level also add to the variety.
The game has extra gory parts which have earned it a 15 rating from ELSPA; mostly for mutilated corpses with loads of blood. An alien feeding from the body of a dead human is shocking. But in a good way - it adds extra impetus to wiping them out.
Tower Assault rates as the best Alien Breed yet. I didn't like it much as a one-player game - it was too hard. But as a two-player game, it's compulsive, fantastic to play and one of the best blasts seen this year.
Last episode of the 2D Alien Breed series. It has enhanced graphics, very good atmospheric sound. The gameplay is not linear like in the previous Alien Breed titles. You can enter different levels, explore the whole base, the way you go depends on your decision. Tower Assault also runs on OCS machines, but it will switch to a low color mode and will turn off many speech to fit in the smaller memory.
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