Alien Breed (DOS)

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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
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Written by  :  Zovni (10648)
Written on  :  Mar 12, 2004

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Gauntlet guest starring Sigourney Weaver.

The Good

Alien Breed is really a next generation-updated version of Gauntlet (or the equally classic Robotron) enhanced for serious gameplay as opposed to just being a fun but shallow arcade diversion as those previous classics.

Basically Alien Breed thrusts you into the shoes of a space marine of sorts that lands on your typical alien-infested space station from a top-down perspective. As in the classic games I mentioned the game consists of you maneuvering said marine with a simple (yet customizable) control scheme, getting items, money and the keys required to unlock the way out of the current level while you mow down the armies of alien creatures that have overrun the station. Simple, good and effective as a game of this kind should be.

The level design is kept simple and straight with little in the way of secrets or sophistication, usually you have to go hamster-like through this top-down, sci-fi maze and whenever you get to a locked door just look around for the next key or switch. As for the action, the game includes a variety of different weapons with their own strength and weaknesses, accesible through the still working dispensers all over the station, just get enough cash and you'll be able to equip that nice plasma rifle and kill some aliens more effectively, which come in all sort of flavors and colors posing different threats with their various skills (you have the fast and dangerous alien, the strong bad-ass alien, the slime-shooting alien, etc.).

The graphics and sounds are excellently designed with moody and effective sounds complementing the excellent graphics ripped right from the Amiga original that depict in lush detail the many different decks of the station as well as the aliens and our heroes. What's that? Yeah, I said HeroeS, as in both of them. See, Alien Breed allows for two player same-screen gameplay with no noticeable lag or slowdown! How's that for an early 90's PC arcade game? I can hardly think of another title that allowed for that on DOS and delivered the same amount of fast action, smooth scrolling and arcade gameplay.

The Bad

Severe identity crisis. I really don't know how a rain of lawsuits didn't fall over Alien Breed, probably because Fox hadn't yet seriously considered their Alien franchise for videogame development and the folks responsible for Robotron where too busy doing Smash T.V. on the arcades.

Team 17 was really lucky to get away with this one, then again they deserve credit for making this happen on home computers and quite frankly this was the first really good Aliens-inspired game until Doom came around.

The Bottom Line

Alien sci-fi action for your PC perfectly ported from the Amiga classic with all it's smooth scrolling, top-down, alien blasting action intact. Bonus: super-exciting multiplayer gameplay on your PC by 1991!!!

And yeah, it's sci-fi Gauntlet, and Sigourney Weaver should have asked for royalty payments from Team 17, but who cares as long as it's as fun as this?