Well...there ARE aliens, and you DO shoot them...
- True to its name, you do shoot a lot of aliens
- Retro-esque graphics remind me of the original Fallout games
- Plenty of blood n' guts and absolutely mind-boggling numbers of enemies
- Handful of weapons to purchase
- Long, so it's a good...value? At $5?
- Gets really boring, really quick
- Persistent leveling system is nice, but needed to be fleshed out
- Animations look poor and stiff, and it can be hard to see where you are shooting
- While I appreciate the retro look, the environments come off as bland and repetitive
- Highest resolution is 1080x720, with no windowed option. Great.
- Game was originally in Russian, so plenty of weird translation issues
|If there's anything I hate, it's aliens|
So indie games and dual-stick shooters seem to go hand in hand. I guess they are just easy to make or something, because I swear a good 80% of the indie side of my Steam library is just a bunch of dual-stick (or in this case, keyboard-moves mouse-aims) shooters. Now, I like dual-stick shooters a lot, so I'm actually pretty forgiving on this front. So I installed the four "Shooter" games I own and burned through all four. We'll start with Alien Shooter, the original "classic" from Sigma games.
And, to spoil the upcoming review, I'm going to say this: I'm not a huge fan.
|Things start simple enough...|
There's no story to speak of. You can pick either a dude or a woman with pre-determined stats (the guy has more health but does less shooting damage and isn't very agile, the woman is agile and does high firearms damage but has low health) and you are just dropped outside some facility. Once you are inside I really hope you like looking at similar gray corridors over and over, because you are gonna get a lot of that.
After a surprisingly slow start you finally get to some aliens that you shoot. The initial batch isn't very intimidating and killing them is actually quite droll. Luckily the pace picks up quickly as you gather money to buy more weapons (you can carry an arsenal), level up and slowly raise stats, and encounter bigger and bigger hordes of enemies. If I can say one thing good about this game, it's that they make do on their promise: in the later areas, there are loads of aliens.
|...but quickly you'll be going "HOLY CRAP!"|
I'd say more but that's it. That's the game. Experience is basically dropped by enemies or boxes, so you have to shoot all of the many, many boxes around the world to both get ammo and level up. As you get more and more guns you get more powerful, making the old ones pretty much useless. It's a simple concept, perhaps too simple.Alien Shooter's problem is that it is repetitive to the point of boring. While the above scene looks intense, you could easily beat it by equipping your best gun, standing just behind a doorway, and shooting through. I literally ate dinner while playing an intense firefight, holding my mouse button down in one spot while I ate with my other hand, and nothing came close to touching me. Aside from a minor amount of circle strafing (if you can't find a doorway to hide in), the strategy here is relatively low, at least early on.
Yes, you get to aliens that shoot back and require some dodging, but it's hardly strenuous. If anything they are more annoying and feel cheap; the rest of the little bastards never reached me, but those jerks never seem to miss. What a pain.
|You have four stats to pump and nine guns to buy, but after that there's no real point to it all.|
Aside from getting bored easily, the graphics look...well, it's hard to say. They look old, which I guess is ok because this game came out in 2003, but they look like Fallout, which came out in 1997. And while I love this era of retro PC gaming (the isomeric, 256 colors just on the cusp of being able to render 3D graphics in game) it still feels clunky. Animations, especially, look bad, with both main characters being very uninteresting to look at in their bland, generic action-hero style.Sound design is ok, with some decent music clips, but all the guns sound weak and as much as I love hearing the same alien death squeal over and over, it gets old.
|But hey, at least battle aftermaths are nice and gory.|
As it stands, Alien Shooter is a relic of a not-so-ancient past. While it's sort of neat Sigma's design philosophy is to make simple, inexpensive games that provide lots of content in the form of time (and it's true; Alien Shooter is several hours long, like 2-3), it doesn't do me any good if I get bored if it in the first 30 minutes. Adding the fact that they've made like 10 of these things since this one, and you should probably just ignore the original Alien Shooter. I got it in an indie bundle so...whatever, but the $5 on Steam is still too high. It just really isn't worth your time when there are so many better versions of this available (and by the same developer).Avoid.
One out of five stars.
|If anything, they deserved to die for being pallet-swapped.|