Alien Breed 2: Assault - review

VINTAGE gamers of the old school may well look back fondly on sepia-tinted memories of the Commodore Amiga and one of the more pleasurable experiences it had to offer; namely a neat little top-down shooter (pretty much the only kind of shooter in 1991) called Alien Breed.

Tuesday, 19th October 2010, 6:26 pm

A shameless piggy-back on the hugely successful pair (at that point) of cinematic masterpieces, there were aliens, there was atmosphere, and there was searching, power-ups, mini-games and more.

Fast forward the best part of 20 years and Team 17 continued their modernisation of the series with last year’s Alien Breed: Evolution and Alien Breed: Impact (PC and PS3), before now launching Alien Breed 2: Assault, on PC and XBox 360.

Few games so prove the essential superiority of solid gameplay over literally everything else as the Alien Breed games. Still a top-down shooter, despite the obvious alternatives one can REACH for nowadays (sorry), but still bally good fun.

The graphics and sound have been updated (thank you Unreal Engine 3) but the solid essence of the game remains roughly the same.

Help bald-headed action man Conrad fight off the aliens while searching the decks of the Leopold, a deserted, infested spaceship you are determined to restore power to, for ammunition, credits and computer terminals with which you can upgrade your weapons.

The game is filled with nice aural and visual touches, such as the continuing build-up of dead aliens as you despatch them mercilessly, leaving a cadaverous mess which constantly reminds you of murders yet to come, and the quintessential motion sensor, which remains one of the single greatest devices for creating tension in the history of gaming and cinema. The guns feel chunky and effective, just like the original, and the sound is magnificent - energetic, explosive and atmospheric.

Searching, pillaging and looting are cornerstones of Conrad’s development in the game, but ammo must be managed and time wisely spent if growth and progress are to continue unabated by a gruesome demise.

A co-op mode exists for buddy-buddy alien slaughter, and a satisfactory survivor mode asks you simply ‘how long can you last?’.

On PC, the game costs about seven quid, with the XBLA price not far off, making this one of the most cost-effective, enjoyable journeys back in time and space you will ever have to make.

9/10

Alien Breed 2: Assault

Team 17

PC (Steam)

XBox360 (XBox Live Arcade)