Alien Breed

Slow on updates? Me? Naaaah…

Alien Breed is a 1993 top-down shooter game made by Team17. You know, the Worms people. Worms happens to be on a revival in my dorm, with the people around here using my PC to play it because apparently I’m the only one running XP and it doesn’t run on newer Windowses. Here I am, trying to write my master’s thesis with the sound of exploding worms in the background. And my dorm-mates are way too damn good at Worms. Did you know you can use weapons (in particular dynamite) while still hanging on the ninja rope, thus allowing you a quick getaway to safe ground? Yeah, neither did I. Anyway, Alien Breed…

Title Screen

So, what’s it all about? The storyline is not that original. You investigate some sort of station where things are going pretty wrong. I’m not entirely sure about the backstory but it’s clear what is going on. Aliens have taken over, everyone is dead, go investigate, save the world. Typical.

Alien! Alien! Shoot it!

You move around top-down, shooting aliens, collecting money, ammo and keys, and generally trying to achieve your objectives. With the collected money, you can buy upgrades at terminals scattered around the station. These are upgrades to your weapons, but you can also buy more keys, health, ammo and even a mini-map. The key system struck me as original. As you might imagine, keys open doors. However, it is also possible to open doors by shooting them. This uses quite some ammo and takes time though. So it might be better to try to conserve keys by not opening non-critical doors or shooting doors from a distance. That way you can keep your keys for when you are in a hurry trying to escape. Of course, you don’t want to run out of ammo doing this…

Level 1 mission briefing

This game is intense. An example. On deck 2, you get the mission to destroy four “power domes”. Destroying these puts the base in overload mode though, giving you 60 seconds to get the hell out of there. This requires some planning. You want to destroy the dome closest to the exit last. And you want to find the way out quickly. At the terminals, you can study the map and try to come up with a plan. Sticking to your plan on the field, with the countdown timer running and aliens respawning around you is pretty hard however. And that’s just level 2.

The screen turning all red doesn't really help to calm you down either.

The music doesn’t make it any easier for you. It served to make me completely paranoid and adrenaline-filled. There’s none of the advanced context-aware music where the tune gets more intense when there are aliens around. This fails anyway, the intense music starting too early (giving you an advance warning) or too late (missing the effect). Nope, that’s for casual games. Here, it’s just downright creepy music from the start until the end, giving the whole thing a really unsettling get-me-out-of-here atmosphere.

The level 3 map as seen ingame on a terminal

It is apparently possible to play this game with two players. I haven’t tried this (mainly because I have no friends, pathetic little bastard that I am) but if anyone has experience with this, let me know. It sounds completely absolutely awesome.

I honestly believe this game is pretty much perfect. I had brilliant fun with it. I suppose it gets all boring and stupid and hard near the end, but hey, I don’t care. 10/10! Whoo!

Leaves me to say that Team17 is currently reviving the Alien Breed series in the form of Alien Breed Evolution, with the first episode already available on XBLA, and to be released on PSN and PC. If you played this, leave a comment with your experiences!

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One Response to “Alien Breed”

  1. Alien Syndrome « Let's play oldies! Says:

    […] Let's play oldies! An exercise in willpower « Alien Breed […]

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