Some of you may be shocked to know that Team 17 have done more than the Worms series. I know, I bet you’re glad you were sat down for that revelation, but in 1991 they released a 2D shooter, heavily inspired by the Alien/Aliens movies, called Alien Breed. It met with much critical acclaim, and as these things generally do, produced a rabid fan-base.
In 2009 they released a sequel, or re-imagining, or whatever it is, it’s a new game and it’s called Alien Breed: Evolution, but can it live up to the pressure put on it by their previous classic? Read on to find out.
There is no denying that the game is graphically impressive. Lighting, particle effects and awesome animations all pile together to make a smorgasbord of joy out of Unreal Engine 3. As you make your way throughout the torn up ship, amongst wreckage, fires and aliens wanting to chow down on your gooey insides your goal is to power up and get inside the elevator to deeper levels and more hazardous challenges.
It is these challenges which become incessantly frustrating as there is no checkpoint system in game, only a system of save points which have luckily managed to avoid the devastation that has plagued the rest of the ship.
This lack of saving can be argued from both points of view, from the one side it should in theory fill you with a sense of tension, a sense that every corner could be your downfall, however, it ends up becoming a matter of annoyance and frustration as you are jumped upon by an ambush of aliens and have to replay the last twenty minutes. This is particularly apparent on the higher difficulty, which is the setting the developers urge you to play on.
The gameplay is largely handled smoothly, however there are a few elements that add a certain amount of clunkiness to the matter. When switching weapons or searching bodies it can sometimes just drag a little long and kicks out the smooth running and gunning action. However, the ability to move the camera seemed such a simple innovation in an isometric view game such as this, which you don’t often see in other titles.
In a recent editorial, this site stated the need for a good narrative in games; a good story to be used as a linchpin in the release, the need for such an element is made apparent here. The story is so generic and the pairing of scripting and voice acting so bland that you feel nothing for the characters nor the situation and you become more aware of any element that isn’t up to scratch. It is because of this that after a while of playing, the repetition soon sets in and you feel that when re-booting a classic title perhaps slightly more needs to be done. The pedigree the game may have come from is not enough to keep you fully interested, such as with games like Bionic Commando and Golden Axe. However, games like Shadow Complex have proven that there is still life in old classics yet, with its remaking of Super Metroid.
That isn’t to say my experience with Alien Breed was entirely negative, as the game still has alot of fun residing within the 1′s and 0′s. Also, it contains a co-op mode, for those willing to brave the dangers of deadly deep space perils with a chum.
With this being only episode one of a trilogy, there is still hope for improvements from Team 17 along the line. However, it is unfortunate that the first of the series was not used as effectively as it could have been, making fans foam at the mouth in anticipation for the next titles. Keep checking back with Gamer Limit for more information on the next iterations, as maybe Team 17 have it in them to outdo the classic from the 90′s yet.
The finest aspect of the game is clearly the graphics, as they squeeze every drop of juicy goodness out of Unreal Engine 3.
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It is hard to deny that the game is anything but fun, however, it doesn't take too long before the very action at the heart of it all becomes repetitive.
Good music and appropriate sound effects are let down by some atrocious voice acting.
Perhaps more variety could have given you a reason to jump back into the game, but unfortunately you are offered very little incentive to do so.
It's a shaky start to Team 17's episodic content. There is an ample offering of explosions and aliens, but the fun starts to fade long before the credits roll.