Alien Breed Review—Aliens: Genocidal Marines
Alien Breed’s ending is anticlimactic, abrupt, and not worth a spoiler warning. You simply fight the final boss battle, and then the epilogue scrolls down the screen. The battle in question involves fighting the fearsome alien queen, a queen with such fierce attacks as moving around a room. Yes, this is the game’s climax. Its supposed “high point.” You unload a few clips of ammo into the final boss, and the game is finished.
The original Alien Breed, released on the Amiga in 1991, wasn’t so much about shooting but rather surviving, conserving ammo and keycards to cautiously press on. You couldn’t run or strafe while shooting. Enemies were tougher. It was a survival-horror game at heart, and that’s why the game was such a hit in the UK at the time.
The modern “remake” of Alien Breed is a joke. By adding dual-stick functionality, Team17 has turned the game into a shallow dualstick shooter. Enemies are fragile imbeciles that aren’t worth being wary of anymore. In the PSM version, there’s mysteriously no reloading involved in gunplay, and clips of ammunition are strewn everywhere. Any tension that Alien Breed may have had is gone forever. By “rebalancing” gameplay, the game is a cakewalk, one that destroys the identity of the original. More importantly, it makes a tense game an utterly boring one.
At least the levels look great. Everything’s been given a new coat of paint, and you have the option of switching to classic visuals, which also makes aiming lock to 8 directions but changes little else otherwise. It’s a shame that the awful flatline narrative hasn’t been addressed since 1991, though. The pacing never gets better. You’re dropped into a level—alone—with some specific instructions, and that’s all you need to know.
The maps are all here from the original, but the floorplans are laid out so disingenuously that you’ll wonder if the aliens did some remodeling for the sole purpose of confusing you. It’s bad enough that you’ve got to detour all the way around the floor to get to a specific room, but when you see straight empty hallways with about 10 different keycard doors, you start to wonder who designed this ship. By some stroke of (presumably human) genius, just about every floor of the ship self-destructs when you reach your objective. Somehow, the aliens didn’t trigger this feature when they captured the ship.
The original game had a store at which to purchase supplies in a pinch, but it was nothing like the new one. Why bother finding keycards and lives? They’re all cheap, and can be bought with credits found in-game. There is a function to buy credits with real money, but since money is spread across levels generously and resources carry over across all four of the game’s [almost identical] campaigns, who needs more?
Alien Breed is the most dumbed-down, outright offensive remake I’ve ever played. It totally abandons the tension of the original game and spits in the face of nostalgic fans who want to relive their fond memories, turning a tense and involving survival game into a bland and horribly repetitive top-down corridor shooter.