Alpha Prime Preview

The State Business Federation is harnessing a profitable but potential poisoned metal for evil purposes, so it’s up to seasoned scientist Arnold to make things right again. So how does that premise feel? If you think of an FPS filled with wonderful visuals, gritty action and a dank and dark atmosphere, then Black Element Software’s upcoming FPS Alpha Prime is right up your alley. While it may be a European import for State side folks, I would recommend checking this game after I sampled a single player demo. The demo included two levels; the first level acts like the tutorial while the second level takes place deeper in the game.

The potentially poisoned metal is called hubbardium, and it’s used as fuel for ships. Since this, of course, is the future, space travel is very important and thus, mega evil corporation State Business Federation stamps a monopoly over hubbardium. An asteroid named Alpha Prime is discovered that possesses plenty of hubbardium, so said evil corporation springs to action. Unfortunately, hubbardium screwed with the human workers and caused mechanical problems, so the Federalism abandoned ship. Of course the lure of harnessing such a powerful and profitable metal didn’t go away, so freelancer soldiers and marketers are flocking to take the hubbardium for themselves. You play Arnold, who is called in to help with this problem. The game takes place on the asteroid and you’ve got yourself some trotting through metal corridors, outside in space and the leftovers of a corporation.

What would an FPS be without weapons? The demo shoved a few weapons in my hands; they range from your melee weapon, a hammer, to a pistol, shotgun and a machine gun. For some reason, the weapons lack the ‘oomph’ that make them seem like an actual weapon; must be the sound. Nonetheless, the design of the weapons are very sci-fi inspired, like the whole game. For example, the machine gun has a gatling gun barrel mocked up in its design.

The AI is kind of a mixed bag; some displayed intelligence, for example hopping over fences and rails to change their position, while others tended to bump into nearby walls and objects during a firefight. At some points during bigger firefights the AI was organized; they shifted positions, fell back when necessary and took appropriate cover.

The visuals are potentially the biggest selling point. The atmosphere of the game is of a run-down and dank asteroid base and the game engine definitely captures the mood. Dark passageways and flickering lit corridors are aplenty, a la Doom 3, but it doesn’t rely on the campy, jump-out-at-you tactic. Various effects, including fire and smoke, are very well done and the game features a heavy focus on textures. The engine also features a rather robust physics engine. Generally you can pick things up and fling them around; you can also adjust the amount of force behind throwing something. There were also a few puzzles which involved picking up and using some object.

In a bitter move, Black Element added the rather over-used bullet-time gimmick, which uses a drug made from hubbardium. In terms of its usefulness, I didn’t have to use it during any of the demo, but it can still generate some cool moments. In a surprising move, the game has a rather neat hacking system. During the first level, a poor English-speaking technician gives you a hacking tool that measures nearby hackable things (the scale is like the bars of a cell-phone) and then allows you to hack them. You basically stare at whatever it is and in due time, you activate it.

Like most European ported games, one of the main faults of the game is the voice acting and dialogue. The translations usually never escape unscathed when making the trip across the ocean, so prepare for that here. Nonetheless, if at a budget price, Alpha Prime is a pretty decent FPS. Nice visuals and fun FPS action never seems to get old. The game has been available in Europe for a few months, but it’ll make its way to the U.S. online only on Sprocket Games on May 1st.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.