Review: Alien Breed Evolution, Episode One

Back in the early 90s there was a game on the Commodore Amiga that always raised my eyebrow. It was Alien Breed and it was on a system I had no access to at the time. I could only look at my buzzing C64 and NES and pray to the game gods for this title to be released on either of those systems and fast. It never happened, and all I was left with was a couple screenshots in an ancient gaming publication. Snap forward to today and I finally get my chance to step into the falling spacecraft and battle the Alien Breed in an Evolution of fun. You saw what I did there, I’m not proud of it, unlike this game.

Alien Breed Evolution thrusts you into the middle of a crisis – that being you are on a ship that collided with a supposedly abandoned ship, and are both taking a dive down to a nearby planet. You must grab your guns and ammo and fight your way through five harrowing chapters of guns, bullets, squishy aliens and babes. Well one babe really, and I don’t think she was even real, but I digress. Situating the player from a top-down isometric view you will have to navigate Theodore J. Conrad through the dangers presented before you. Mostly appearing in the form of nasty aliens who would like to tear at you given the chance.

As you guide your character through the spacecraft, you are able to spin any direction and shoot as you move in whichever direction you want. It can be a little tricky to get the hang of at first, but can be very beneficial when fighting swarms of enemies or even if you are running from a group in pursuit. Being familiar with your terrain is a boost as well, you will quickly learn how to tackle your enemies from distance or to pull them to a place which is more strategic, depending on the situation. Tactics can change quickly when you suddenly find your left with your pistol of unlimited ammunition and you still have a decent sized swarm to wade through.

What did irk me at first was the camera control. Your left and right buttons control the camera positioning and allow you to swing it in any of the eight directions. I constantly found my fingers reaching for buttons that were just out of reach, as they were pressed on others at the time. Running along with aliens in pursuit while trying to scramble through my inventory and at the same time positioning my camera was a little frustrating to begin with. It continued to irritate me for the most part, but by about the third stage I was getting the hang of it. It actually got to a point where I thought I might not even mention it in this review, but then it was heavily on my mind in the beginning. I think it could do with some tweaking, perhaps automatically swinging to the direction of the player is facing and allowing you to manually change direction if need be.

The resemblance to the James Cameron film,¬†Aliens, is uncanny and I am sure Team 17 had this in mind right from the get go. You are on a mostly empty vessel, it’s as¬†claustrophobic as can be, everything is blowing up around you and to top it off the aliens are after you in mass. This is actually fine and dandy. It’s everything I’ve wanted in a game being similar to the film Aliens. If you think of the sequence in Aliens where Ripley encounters the Queen alien, then you will have a good idea of what your in for in Alien Breed Evolution. If you have no idea what the film Aliens is, firstly shame on you, secondly you can still appreciate this game for what it is.

Alien Breed Evolution is a fantastic first step into the series and gives you enough arcade action to leave you satisfied with your 800 Microsoft Point purchase. If you are unsure whether this game is for you, there is always the trial to appetise, but if you love the film Aliens or you fondly remember the original on the Amiga I am positive you’ll find something here for you and with co-operative options to boot it could be well worth bringing a friend along for the ride.

Team 17, I await the arrival of Episode 2!

Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

About the Author

Dan co-hosts the Gameolio Podcast and handles the administration of the website. Occasional poster and frequent deleter with a strange love of the colour green.