Ah, Aliens…Ever since I was a little kid, it was the first horror series I ever laid eyes upon. And to this day, I love pretty much every movie that has ever come out, even some of the more infamous movies, such as Aliens 3 (I heard Spoony ranting about it, and my friend hated it because they killed off one of her favorite characters) and Aliens Resurrection. If you had to force a movie that I didn’t like out of me, it would have to go to Aliens vs. Predator 2. People complained so much about the darkness in the first title, that it just had to be amped up so much in that movie, I couldn’t even tell what the hell was going on! And despite that movie, my joy for the movies has not ceased.
My run on the games however…not so much. I only ever played Aliens vs. Predator, and even then, it was an online demo. Playing through that demo was a nightmare, with awkward controls from what I was used to, not being able to form teams unless you are friends in real life so you would have Alien vs. Alien matches, and I just hated dealing with the online community. And aside from that game, the others were not so appealing to my eye, such as Alien Resurrection on the old Playstation 1. But when I found out about an Alien RPG coming for the DS that featured a large cast and their deaths could be permanent, and that it takes place during, and feel free to correct me if I am wrong, but a bit before the third movie.
You start off with four Marines, and your squad is sent to investigate the Sulaco Ship, and for fans that may not have paid attention, like me, you will know that this was the ship that Ripley, the main character of the movie series, and her crew had managed to escape to after fleeing the colony LV-426 from the rest of the Aliens. Everything seems fine, aside from destroying some pesky robots that try to interfere with you, until the game starts to slowly drag you into what is going on. With the creepy music building up suspense, you soon find out that the Aliens were on the ship, and have pretty much taken most of the population and killed it, all the while trying to breed more of their breatheren!
Throughout the entire story mode, you will be fighting in some interesting locales from the movies, and exploring them to find supplies, soldiers, weapons, and clues on how to better survive this mess and move onto the next stage. Each environment stays true to the movies, with nicely detailed animation, and even the aliens do what they do best: sneak attacks. Okay, by the time you find a radar and the map, you can predict these, but they won’t always be with you until you obtain them. And during those times, it can make the tension all the more present, as you may not even know when they’ll strike, or how many. And while some do just pop out seemingly out of nowhere, they also come from the vents, or, staying true to the movies, blend into the dark environments and strike like ninjas! …Well okay, if you squint, you can see a small outline of them, but it’s still cool! This tension and bit of fear will wear off as you play more through the game. But can the game be challenging to make up for this? Indeed it can!
As every fan of the Aliens movie knows, and from now on, I shall refer to them as Xenomorphs for the fans’ sake, these guys bleed acid. How does that factor here? Well, if a Xenomorph is hailed by gunfire, and you are too close, that blood will take off some of your health. And since there is no close range attack, it’s always best to stay in mid-range combat. You can thankfully run while shooting, or take a page out of Kingdom Hearts and dodge roll out of the way, but these actions consume the stamina bar. As such, you want to learn the enemy’s pattern very quickly. Aside from that, you can fight Xenomorph chestburters and facehuggers. Chestburters are pretty much babies that, as you expect, can burst from your chest if a facehugger manages to lay an egg inside of you.
There are also variations of Xenomorphs, even one that reminds me of a Charger from Left 4 Dead! And while those aren’t too powerful, spoilers, the boss is. And bosses can range from a Xenomorph Queen, to alterations of them that are, quite frankly, deadly with a capital D. Expect to lose a lot of marines to them if you don’t use strategy and the right weaponry.And aside from those enemies, you will also be forced to deal with robot sentries, as well as other soldiers early on in the game. I still find it puzzling that they are willing to gun me down as Xenomorphs are taking them away and killing them; their payroll must be amazing, but it ain’t enough for this! There are even cyborgs like Bishop from the movies you can fight later in the game, though they go down with little trouble with some upgrades.
Speaking of upgrades, sadly, they are on the short side of things. You start out with your basic machine gun and pistol, which is weak, but has unlimited ammo, and eventually gain grenades and missiles for it, but other weapons you can gain are the fan-favorite flamethrower or even the unstoppable Smart Gun, aka, Rambo Machine Gun. Sadly, these weapons can be missable, and you can’t go back to gain them in previous levels. And despite some characters dual-wielding pistols or using knives, you never get to use them.
As for squadmates, there are a total of 19 marines you can find, with up to four in a squad. You cannot swap them out during fights, only in save rooms, nor can you heal unless you find a power-up item. Same goes for reloading, and you can only do so once a clip has run its course. Each Marine is unique in terms of personality and lines with NPCs and enemies, offering some colorful dialogue, but the fact remains that gameplay wise, there is no difference between them. So don’t go just killing off Marines because you want to. Still, I at least felt an attachment to some of the Marines in my squad because of their personality, and as such, before boss fights or hard sequences, I would switch to a Marine I didn’t care for and try to beat the stage with him. I had to have lost about 8 or 9 Marines by the time I finished the game. And even if you die against an Alien in combat, you may not even die. Your character may be dragged off to the hive, where you have a limited amount of time to save them before the chestburster kills them.
Now for some more bad news: the environments, while cool, also have vents you can sneak into, but a majority of them tend to be useless. That doesn’t mean don’t explore, but just expect that as they may either contain plot items, upgrades, dead ends, or even other Marines and necessary alternate pathways. The major bad news…The game is only about 6-7 hours long. That’s it. Not only that, but the ending is…It’s more of a set-up for Aliens 3, I know, but it doesn’t tell us what’s going to happen to the other Marines. Did they escape? Did they die? NEVER EXPLAINED!
Also, why do the rocket, grenade, and bomb counters have two or more number digits when you can never upgrade how much ammunition you can gather? Never explained. I am glad that there is a knife mini-game and a dossier of Marines, but the extras brought up one important point: Only ONE save slot. And for an RPG, there are very few upgrades you can get, and they are only for weapons to boot. Not to mention that there is one driving sequence, but it is done so terrible, you may have to repeat the stage over and over again!
The final verdict…was tough for me. I loved the challenge the game brought to me, especially since I suck at games like Metroid and Castlevania, and there was so much fanservice with the amount of material put into this game, but the negatives nearly outweigh the positives. In the end, I do admit that I like the game. But thirty dollars for a game that is only 6-7 hours with this many problems? Only as a rental can I recommend this.
Aliens Infestation earns a 3 out of 5. Developers, I applaud your work and had quite a bit of fun, and surely with more content, this could have easily gained a four, maybe even a five out of five. But for now, fans and other interested gamers, just rent the game.
Edit – Ya know, I completely forgot to add this, and I deserve to be punched for not mentioning the ending song at the credits. It’s….it’s retarded and bad, but it’s so retarded and bad, it is awesome! So, allow me to save you thirty dollars right now by posting the link of the song:
Thanks should go to DukeofOmnitrix for actually putting this up!