Aliens: Infestation for Nintendo DS Review
24/02/13 15:47 Filed in: Video Games
So the long awaited Aliens: Colonial Marines isn't the definitive Aliens game adaptation people had hoped for (to say the least). It's apparently linear, ugly and full of bugs other than the kind you wanted to hunt. I guess SEGA and Gearbox Software just didn't have what it takes to release a good installment to the series after all. Well that's great, that's just fucking great man. Now what the fuck are we supposed to do? Game over man! Game over!
Or is it? You see, there's another Aliens game which those two released way back in 2011 for the good ol' Nintendo DS and they did so with the help of one of my favorite studios, Wayforward Technologies. It's called Aliens: Infestation and it is by far the best thing be released with the name "Aliens" on it since 1986.
Being that it is on the DS, Wayforward wisely chose not to make Infestation another FPS. It's not that the DS is incapable of running good horror/sci-fi first person shooters, but this title decided to instead take inspiration from a game that was itself inspired by the original films. Aliens: Infestation is another example of the 2D action/puzzle platforming castletroid sub-genre. The original Metroid drew heavily from the Aliens films for its H. R. Giger styled visuals amongst other things so it only seems fitting that an Aliens game should do the same in return.
Aliens: Infestation however, also builds upon that by throwing in a little bit of survival horror taken from another game heavily inspired by the Aliens films, Dead Space. Like Metroid your character will explore the labyrinthine corridors, finding new equipment that opens new paths & areas but like Dead Space, there are limited amounts of ammunition for your Pulse Rifle so you had better not wander too far off without finding supplies otherwise you could end up dead - or worse.
If you do however, then there's an interesting added hook. You simply take over as another Marine in your squad or as one you rescued along the way to continue the adventure. There might even be opportunities to rescue your previously fallen characters as well and get them back into the game if you're lucky. In all, there appear to be dozens of possible characters to choose from and each one has their own unique sprite with their own unique animations, such as standing on their helmet or playing with their flashlight when idle.
It's wonderful little details in the presentation like this for which Wayforward is known. Enemies are very well animated too, sometimes filling almost the entire screen and the locations are beautifully drawn, often with layers parallax scrolling. Likewise, this game does an excellent job with the sound from the pulse rifles, to the motion tracker to the eerie soundtrack that plays or stops depending on where you are or what is happening on screen.
If I had one complaint about Aliens: Colonial Marines, it would be that enemies spawn at the exact same spots every time you re-enter an area. This takes away from the tension a little because backtracking is a big part of castletroid type games so I always knew where something would jump out at me in familiar areas. New areas were always gripping though and that made me always press on.
If you love Aliens, Metroid, Survival Horror, 2D art, have a DS or 3DS then I would easily recommend Aliens: Infestation. It is ridiculously inexpensive now, I got mine new for 5 dollars because it came out so late in the life cycle of the system that I think it went under a lot of people's radar. As such it can still be found easily even at department stores, probably in their bargain bin, which is a shame because this is an excellent title that you should pick up before it becomes another rare cult classic.