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Nov 25, 2010

Alien Breed 3: Impact Review and Hardware Requirements

Right off the bat Alien Breed: Impact feels like a game that's only half-finished. A month or two more could taken this game from being very mediocre to very good.

The graphics are generally pretty and detailed in a grey and blue sort of way. The first three stages are extremely repetitive whilst the last two, the hydroponics level and the ghost ship do mix it up a bit.

The sound is all over, there are really chilling alien noises mixed with the silly pew-pew of the laser gun. The voice acting is generally good but only in the cut-scenes.

The point where Alien Breed really falls down is it's game-play. You'll probably find fighting the camera and map far more challenging than fighting the aliens. If the character was moved slightly further up the map and zoomed out a bit more a lot of problems would be solved. Redesigning the stages so a non-rotational camera could have been used would have been a huge plus. Shooting aliens at the bottom of the screen and trying to find items and doors hidden behind walls is... annoying.

The map will show you your objective in the HUD but no ship layout. To see the ship layout you need to use your tablet but then the objective is only shown if it fits on the immediately visible piece of map. This isn't helped by the controls opening the map with one key and closing it with another. Did I mention annoying. Yeah am sure I did.

The initial stages, despite having repetitive graphics will then also see you running from one end of the ship to the other making for even more repetitive play. This artificially lengthens the stages as the game designers contrive sillier and sillier reasons to need to run back through areas you've already been through. This wouldn't be so bad if you were constantly under attack but they are mostly long walks with nothing happening you can only run for a limited period of time.

Things get somewhat better later on. The aliens start swarming from all corners making for a lot more action. The stages are still back-and-forth but at least there's stuff to do.

And now I come to the aliens my next big gripe. There are about 4 or 5 types of alien but they're practically indistinguishable. I think they're all supposed to have special abilities and that would have been awesome if they used them and forced tactical play. But they don't, they run straight lines towards the player and as they don't collide with each other usually form an easy to shoot pile.

There's little satisfaction in shooting them as they don't throw out gouts of green alien blood, only the odd particle. They get knocked around easily by even weak weapons and this before dying with barely a whimper and a quick death animation.

This sounds really negative and it is until later on when for instance wading through dozens of aliens in Hydroponics is a complete blast. Then you don't notice the silly bullets, lack of blood or mind the quick deaths.

Moving on: the last issue I have is with the story. The main character is the chief engineer of the space ship The Leopold. The Chief Engineer. But he has no security rights and no understanding of engineering consoles he breaks just about every one he touches. Using a generic space marine character would have made more sense. Like the Doom Guy.

Also the Leopold has crashed into a giant derelict ship of unknown origin. Except the name of the ship is written on the side. In English. And it's an Intex ship just like the Leopold. Surely someone would have kept a record of it somewhere.

I'm going to stop complaining now and recommended Alien Breed. It may not be great but it is worth a couple of your dollars and few of your hours. For all I've said I did enjoy it but suspect I should have cranked up the difficulty.
Verdict: 60/100

System Requirements
    • OS: Windows® XP SP2 or later
    • Processor: 2.0+ GHZ Single Core Processor
    • Memory: 1GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA 6800+ or ATI Radeon X700+ Video Card
    • DirectX®: 9.0c
    • Hard Drive: 1.5 GB
    • Sound: Windows Supported Sound Card
    • Other Requirements: Internet connection required.


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