When contact was lost with the ISRC-4 Space Research Centre, the big cheeses at the Interplanetary Corps got a little bit jumpy. After all, they'd all seen Aliens at least twenty times and were starting to get an acute feeling of deja vu So, better safe than sorry, they rerouted two of their toughest marines from their earth-bound course to investigate.
Having their voyage home interrupted to check out some stupid Research Centre did nothing for Johnson and Stone's already violent temperament, and they docked with the station in a pretty grumpy mood.
Disembarking from the shuttle they were greeted not by a gaggle of bemused scientists, but by an eerie silence. They started to move into the tomb-like Research Centre, guns at the ready. Circuitry hung, torn from the walls, like entrails. An acrid acidic stench hung in the air. The motion tracker started it's haunting beep.
"Blimey, this is just like Aliens isn't it?" commented Stone.
"Yes, our current situation is rather reminiscent of that cult sci-fi thriller, directed by James Cameron of Terminator 2 fame, in which a handful of space marines investigate an abandoned colony and get eaten by slavering, biomechanical creatures," replied Johnson.
'Like those slavering, biomechanical creatures over there?" asked Stone, noticing the swarm of razor-toothed armoured killing machines scuttling towards them.
"Yes, those are the ones." Johnson called over his shoulder as he legged it back to the shuttle, a strange smell emanating from his trouser regions.
Thought so, Urk" said Stone as the slavering, biomechanical creatures tucked into their djnner.
Yes, boys and girls. Alien Breed is possibly, only possibly mind you, inspired by that top movie. Aliens . It's just the vibes I'm getting from the game. It's not just that the plot's the same, or that the alien graphics look identical to H R Giger's Alien design, or that the front cover of the game features a drooling likeness of said Alien.
No, it s just that I'm getting these little voices in my head whispering "Aliens. Aliens' over and over again while I'm playing it. In fact, I'm going to sock my neck out and declare that Alien Breed is blatantly Alienesque. Probably.
Not that it's a bad thing to nick the idea behind Aliens for a game, cos all that skulking around and blowing smeggy Aliens to pieces is bloody good fun. In fact seeing as Activision made such a pig's ear of the official Aliens game, this could be just the ticket for all you gore-starved Afcens fans.
First of all, the presentation is excellent. You get the obligatory story disk featuring some nice cartoon stills and some pulsating ray traced space ships, but this is a standalone disk and needn't be sat through every time you play the game. The story disk is good fun, but ultimately cosmetic as it tells you nothing that you couldn't read in the instructions. Nice touch though.
Once in the game proper, the emphasis is on atmosphere. The graph- ics are nicely detailed and recreate the claustrophobia that's needed to keep the suspense going, but without restricting your movement. The alien sprites are, believe it or not, rather Alien-ish in appearance, as are the tiny face hugger things that zip around and bite your ankles.
Keep your eyes open for the aliens who punch through from tower levels and climb up through the floor. They may look great but they're a tad on the deadly side.
The graphics of the two marines are good as well, especially the way the blasts from their guns flickers over their faces. Rather than see the bullets fly across the screen, you just see the muzzle flash and the little explosions as bullets hit their target This, while only a little touch, adds a great deal to the realism and the beefy gun FX make it hard to resist bellowing lines from Aliens at the top of your voice as you rip into a corridor full of monsters. Also included is some soft, sultry speech that calmly tets you that you're about to die., or that you've run out of ammo. Add a stonking tune, and you've got a package that's more attractive then a gift-wrapped Winona Ryder.
There are plenty of features to keep you busy while you try and stay alive. Each level has an objective which must be completed before you can move down to the next
Level one is simply a case of making a dash for the lift from the shuttle, with the aliens at your heels, while level two requires you to destroy the reactor and escape before it blows.
Erm that's as far as I can get actuary, but I'm sue the other levels are just as buttock tightening. To help you in your missions you can find keys, ammo, first aid and credits lying around the corridors every now and then you'll discover an Intex Terminal where you can log on for some info on the current level, buy new weapons and tools, and even enjoy a quick game of bat and ball!
All is not roses though, as there are many hazards to avoid, as well as the aliens. One-way energy doors, uneven floors that slow you down and pools of acid are just a few of them. There are also emergency doors that slam shut if their control panels are destroyed, which can be used to your advantage., but can often leave you trapped.
Despite all the wonderful cosmetic bits, it's the gameplay that really shines through. Two-player mode is by far the best as it becomes a race to get to all the collectable goodies before your mate, and the race to the exit can become really frantic as you dive into the elevators with hordes of hungry aliens behind you.
If you're a thoroughly "nice" person then you can opt to share all the collected credits, so it needn't be the one who grabs all the cash who gets the best power-ups. Strictly for wimps of course, but it does make it easier to save up for the really bitchin' weapons.
The difficulty is set just right, with the first level acting .as a perfect introduction to the game. The second level is a lot harder, but unlike most other g.ames of this genre, you won't care. Just playing the game is fun enough.
Firmly in the tradition of Gauntlet and Crackdown, but with the action and atmosphere of the Alien movies. Alien Breed is a game worth selling your family for. Tippex the "Breed" bit off the box and just pretend thait it is Aliens.
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