Game Backlog Update #2
This post crosses off one more game from my “List of Doom“. I haven’t settled on a name for that list yet, so it’ll probably change with every post. Suggestions are welcome.
Alien Breed 2: Assault
(Xbox Live Arcade)
There’s something quite therapeutic about luring hordes of aliens into a tight corridor and shooting the absolute piss out of them. This is something that the Alien Breed games do really well; they overwhelm you with countless waves of creatures and give you just enough ammunition to deal with them, but not quite enough to make you feel safe.
The obvious nods to the Alien movie franchise are numerous and not unwelcome, and they help create a tense, claustrophobic atmosphere. Assault masterfully cranks up the tension throughout. The limited ammo, the inability to fire while interacting with the environment, the constant beeps and red dots popping up on your radar all add to an incredibly taut experience.
The gameplay is simple but effective. You move with the left stick, aim with the right and fire your weapons or use your other items with the triggers. The isometric camera can be rotated with the shoulder buttons, which is a clever way of avoiding the usual visual problems that can arise from this viewing angle. A touch of a button can reveal previously unseen nooks and crannies, but do it too often and it’s easy to lose your bearings.
Visually, the Alien Breed games are average at best. For their time they were fine, but now they look like stock textures and character models from the Unreal Engine. The lighting, however, is impressive and works wonders with what would normally have been very bland, very uninteresting environments.
The story is your standard B-Movie Sci-Fi fair, but the real draw here is the solid, tense gameplay. It’s usually dirt cheap too, so there’s really no reason not to pick it up.