Alien Shooter: Vengeance Review

As any PC gamer knows, there certainly isn’t a lack of shooter games. Among this crowded marketplace full of these types of games comes Alien Shooter: Vengeance. We’ll give you one guess what this game is about. (Hint: It’s about aliens and it’s about shooting.) This is the third in the series from Sigma Team, and it continues its heritage of being a little on the low tech side of games. Can a game like this make it in the world of high-end PC titles?

AS: V is a shooter, but it’s done in the old-school way of a ¾ top-down camera view. The game is sort of a blend of Mega Man, Baldur’s Gate and a little Duke Nukem thrown in for good measure. It’s easy to learn, and there are elements throughout the title that will remind you of how popular these kinds of games were back in the day. The storyline is that you, a mercenary, have accepted employment with the energy firm M.A.G.M.A; the year is 2027. Not all is normal, though, as the sunny corporate offices in California have seemed to run into some trouble at headquarters. Your first tip-off that things have gone wrong is when you are ordered to meet with General Baker of the United States Army for your first mission.

Another tip that not all is well is the disclaimer that you must agree to before embarking on your mission that is found in the instruction manual: "…you shall not hold M.A.G.M.A Corporation legally responsible for any encountered death, mutilation, decapitation, evisceration, combustion, decompression, or decomposition in any way, shape, or form, including being swallowed and/or digested by any living and/or non-living life forms…" After reading that, I started to laugh and realized that this game is actually a spoof of sorts. If you can set your mind to accept that AS: V is probably poking fun at itself and shooters in general, you should be able to understand where the game studio is trying to accomplish because, for all intents and purposes, it’s not really supposed to be that serious.

Ok, so how does it play? You have missions that will vary from just blowing the snot out of any aliens that darken your doorstep to trying to liberate trapped employees from within building complexes and more. You start out with a rather puny hand gun, and as you try to earn your living by killing anything that moves you collect money from various locations, find weapons, discover "secret places," and level up your character in order to send more aliens to their final resting places. Moving your character around is done with either the usual "aswd" keyboard configuration or using the mouse to point and click. There’s a pretty respectable character setup screen where you can arm and modify your character’s attributes, buy and sell weapons or ammo, and change or improve skills. In some ways, the game’s level up system is like those found in RPGs. You gain experience points during your mission and you increase your overall performance by going up in levels and upgrading your abilities.

One of the interesting things about this game is its attempt (or unintentional attempt) at humor. They don’t necessarily knock you over the head with it, but do it in ways that you’re not really expecting. During one of the "clean sweep" operations, I had to find some access cards and upon coming to a computer terminal, large green letters appeared on the game readout that went something like, "You have discovered various documents, billing forms and useless receipts. You have no need for these. You are sacrificing your life for this?" Ok, maybe its not falling down funny, but it still gives you an idea of what you are in for if you play this game. At the very start of selecting your character, you have the option of choosing a specific skill that you are good at. These range from being able to draw health points from your victims, (quote: "Vampire skill: This one really sucks") to being able to steal things from others (quote: "We prefer to call this proactive frugality…"). There are a lot of weapons that you can buy or find and you’ll have a blast, literally, when using the shotguns, pistols, flamethrowers, rifles, grenade launchers and a host of other devices of destruction against those nasty aliens.

Speaking of aliens, they come in all forms, shapes, and sizes. A lot of them resemble mutated spiders and crabs in the beginning rounds of play, and continue to get a little more bizarre as you advance. You have the option of setting the alien’s blood color at the beginning of the game and can have them oozing red or green goo. (See what I mean by offbeat humor?) Another feature of the game is its semi-open format of play. While you are constantly directed by little glowing green arrows to tell you where you should go, you can also stray from the beaten path by doing a little exploring on your own. There are many secret areas in each mission level and part of the fun is clearing out all the baddies on the mission and returning to see if you can find the hidden rooms and locations. Normally, you can’t do this during the real game because you’ll be too busy fighting of the bazillion monsters that are trying to turn you into the main course for their dinner. The first come at you in little groups, then in huge groups, and start to come at you in waves. They’re not necessarily hard to kill off, but you’ll wish that you had bought more ammo at the "shopping terminal" before you started.

As mentioned, AS: V is played from a ¾ top-down view and the game doesn’t suffer from this presentation. The graphics are decent and give you that retro feeling that you’ve played this game somewhere before, and in fact, you probably have in different iterations of this style of video game. The explosions, hordes of monsters and background artwork are pretty well rendered in an old-school look, but never look cheap and if some of it does, it’s probably on purpose. Not everything can be seen in some of the levels and you have your trusty flashlight to blaze a trial in the darkness. Some of the backgrounds are pretty dark, and you may have to turn up the brightness to see where you’re going in the dimly lit missions.

The sound for this game is done in the same manner as the whole game itself; it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Some of the voice acting is so bad that you’ll enjoy it. The guys who did the voices went way over the top on some of the dialogue, but that just makes the game that much more fun. AS: V has some cheap sound effects, too. For instance, if you unload your pistol into a slimy monster, you can hear the tinkle of the empty shell casings as they fall to the ground. The effect is amusing because you’ll hear this same sound effect whether you are standing on soil, water, or concrete. The sound of explosions and monsters blowing up is satisfying, and while the ever present techno house music isn’t a treat for music lovers, it does a good job of providing a weird contrast to your killing sessions with the upbeat dance tunes.

So when the people at Sigma Team named the game Alien Shooter: Vengeance, it was done with a little humor in mind and as it turns out, the game is fun and funny. It won’t stand up to full-blown shooters such as Half-Life or other titles like this, but if you’re in the mood to go back in time and have some fun with a not-so-serious approach to shooting games, you should be able to get a few laughs and a few hours of entertainment from Alien Shooter: Vengeance.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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