Itâ€™s clear that Alien Shooter, by Sigma-Team, has been influenced by many games; but thatâ€™s fine, because it was influenced by *great* games like: Gauntlet, Alien Breed, Diablo, Doom, Serious Sam etc. Itâ€™s a manic isometric shoot â€˜em up for PCs set in an alien infested military base and itâ€™s right up my street.
The game is actually pretty old â€“ it was made in 2003 – but itâ€™s still selling because itâ€™s cool. I wanted to review it because at the moment I canâ€™t find any other Indie games like it and I thought that it would be good to introduce it to those of you that havenâ€™t heard of it. I also played a demo of the sequel the other day, and it looks promising; kinda more of the same but with modern graphics (hopefully weâ€™ll review it soon).
So anyway, you have to clear each level of aliens using a variety of weapons whilst staying alive (not easy later on). Also on some levels there is no power and you have to find the power switch before the doors work, and sometimes you have to blow up generators to disable security laser beams that are blocking your path. Later on the levels have holes in the walls and portals through which aliens are entering the level, and you must seal these with dynamite (which you have to find first) to complete the level.
The weapons are very like the doom standard ones: two pistols with infinite ammo, a shotgun, a grenade launcher, a minigun, a rocket launcher and so on up to a magma minigun, which totally rocks, but by that point in the game, youâ€™ll need it – believe me! You can find these weapons in the game but most of the time youâ€™ll probably buy them first in the shop that appears at the end of each level. Money can be found when exploring rooms and blowing up crates, and dead aliens drop money as well (quite what they were doing with the money in the first place I donâ€™t know). You also get ammo and health packs the same way. The shop has a few other items like armour, a torch, night vision goggles, a drone etc. Oh yes, and there is a little RPG element in that you can upgrade your characterâ€™s speed, accuracy and health, which I did very early on, but I canâ€™t say that I noticed much difference.
From the start of the game, you are confronted with hordes of aliens; I mean the entire screen is filled with crazy aliens trying to take you out and you have to mow them down and stay alive. In this sense the game is like Doom and Serious Sam. In fact I wish more modern games had â€œhordesâ€ because a lot of games since Quake seem to focus on fewer enemies that are harder to kill (perhaps because of the popularity of death match games) and this never appealed to me as much as mowing down hordes with a minigun or rocket launcher. Anyway, this gets quite hard later on; you have to have the right weapon and decent tactics to defeat them. Each dead alien leaves a splash of gore and by the end of level whole areas are just caked in gore, you canâ€™t even see the floor! A few levels have a big stationary gun that you can sit in and use to take out hundreds of aliens as they charge at you â€“ this was a nice touch.
As for controls, initially I was using the mouse to right click where I wanted to run and the left button to shoot (you can shoot in the opposite direction to which you are running). However, this soon became too slow and cumbersome so I checked the controls menu and realised that I could use WASD or arrow keys to control the character, thank God! In fact Iâ€™ve got a Nostromo N52 (which totally rocks by the way) and I used that instead so that I could become the ultimate alien mowing machine â€“ and it worked too J
The graphics are great, but I guess a little old school as they are pixel art (no 3D card effects are used). The sound effects do the job and the music is fine â€“ itâ€™s one long music track which is part techno and part metal. The scrolling is totally smooth on my PC (P4 3.2GHz) and there was no slow down at any time even though tons was going on. My two only criticisms are that there was no real change in scenery, it was the same alien base the entire time, and that the game was too short really â€“ I blasted through it in a couple of intense hours. However, there are mission packs that you can buy for it called The Experiment ($14.95 – 5 levels) and Fight for Life ($12.50 – 5 levels) which could be worth checking out.
Anyway, a thoroughly enjoyable game, I totally recommend it, and so Iâ€™m gonna give it a great score.
I'm an Indie game developer with a couple of titles under my belt. I've been programming for 23 years on a variety of platforms. Currently I'm using BlitzMax, which is great.