Itâ€™s awfully quiet here in the future. A million years ago on the Amiga, we saw the first of the Alien Breed franchises. Clearly an homage to the film Aliens, it involved making your way down through a variety of levels, collecting a range of weapons on the way and saving up credits to spend on more weapons and upgrades. Of course, there were also aliens to shoot. Lots and lots of aliens. So after a brief and very green comic book style introduction, what does the top-down third person shooter Alien Breed 2: Assault hold in store? Well, exactly the same apart from looking a lot better as you would expect after 20 years of technological advances.
Trapped down in the bowels of a deathly quiet spaceship, Conrad (built like a brick outhouse) must get the engines of the Leopold back up and running, assisted by MIA a female voiced computer who yes, sounds just like all the other female computer voices in James Bond or any sci-fi film thatâ€™s not a comedy. MIA spends most of her time downloading waypoints for Conrad to get to and generally saying very obvious things. Very quickly in this game you learn that your time will be spent doing one of two things â€“ either repetitively lumbering up and down corridors, accessing computers and key cards to unlock doors and lifts to progress to MIAâ€™s next waypoint or shooting aliens.
Initially armed with a pulse rifle blowing out 80 gigawatt plasma bolts, you can collect credits from lockers and human corpses on your way along the steel corridors to exchange for rocket launchers, hyper blasters and countless other white hot weapons to take on the swarms of ugly aliens, some of which are so huge, they take up most of the screen. I found it frustrating at times that the movement and camera controls though mostly intricate and smooth didnâ€™t quite get Conrad around the debris littering the ships interior nor did it keep up with the pace during combat. I had to readjust many times whilst trying to stay alive from yet another onslaught and you can only shoot in the direction you are facing. Some aliens will run at you whilst others will get you from afar and some evil blighters will heal other aliens whilst youâ€™re draining your bullets so some quick thinking and tactical weapon juggling is in order. Quite often, with only your tiny beam of torchlight shining the way ahead, you will hear the aliens coming long before you see them so youâ€™ve got to be quick with your mouse and keys to get in position to defend yourself. Limited ammo and health supplies throughout make timing and positioning a key element of the game but this also begins to feel a bit tiresome. With exceptionally detailed, shadowy locations and some awesome special effects/explosions, you can find your nerves a jangling as swarms of aliens suddenly appear from a surprise hole in the floor right in front of you and the sense of claustrophobic onslaught is sometimes exciting but sadly too short lived.
I found the overall pace to be rather slow as the cut-scenes of doors opening or generators clicking into life broke up the mood. There are 3 modes (story, free play where you can beat your time and scores and survivor where the aim is simply to last as long as you can whilst a multitude of creepy, ugly aliens attack) in the single player campaign. I couldnâ€™t find anyone online to try out the co-op mode which might be the biggest indication of all that this is not a great game. Perhaps not even a good one.
Alien Breed 2: Assault, by Team17, is available on Steam and XBLA