This week’s videogame releases list is short but sweet. Indeed, that special time when James Cameron was not obsessed with cat-people or undersea adventures, and the film ‘Alien’ knew no resurrection, is marked by one special tribute of a game. That game is ‘Alien Breed’. Also, there’s something called ‘Aliens: Colonial Marines’, which sounds like an Arizona political pledge and could be about anything.
Aliens: Colonial Marines (360, PS3, PC)
LV-426, USS Sulaco, Hicks, Bishop, Ripley… “Mostly…” These are the trappings of ‘Aliens’, and at long last (after a series of increasingly lousy films) they’ve finally been put to some good use. ‘Aliens: Colonial Marines‘ has been wrangled together by Gearbox, along with a horde of subcontractors, into a game that’s more ambitious than substantive. Still, immersing yourself for a few hours in the atmosphere of ‘Aliens’ – especially with regard to the art, music and sound effects – is more than 20th Century Fox has managed to deliver in over twenty years.
In addition to the co-op campaign, the game has a team death-match mode and, more intriguingly, a ‘Left 4 Dead’-like Versus mode, called “Escape Mode.” A horde-style Survivor Mode has also made the cut. Sega has promised that the Wii U version will arrive sometime in March, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Likewise, a slate of DLC is planned for the game, which may be a deal breaker for many.
Not since the unfortunately named ‘Holy Invasion of Privacy, Badman!’ has a game sought to rekindle the spirit of the ‘Dungeon Keeper’ series. That game is ‘Impire’ (Imp +empire), and it’s a dead ringer for that classic strategic dungeon building game. As such, players will spend their time digging out rooms in order to hatch and attract minions of various capabilities, effectively constructing a working, defensible ecosystem that will ultimately be tested by both enemy minions and the overly righteous hero-types. The game has promised co-operative play, and seems to be based more on scenario-type levels, rather than just having to build a dungeon from scratch each time.
If you have no idea what ‘Dungeon Keeper’ is but enjoy playing PC games, I recommend trying either ‘Dungeon Keeper’ or ‘Dungeon Keeper 2’, available at gog.com.
Ys I & II Chronicles+ (PC)
‘Ys’ is one of the most popular Japanese RPGs I have never delved into. Now, with the first two titles being bundled and re-released for the PC (in English, no less), anyone can see if the beloved series has stood the test of time. When the game came to the PSP a few years ago (the below trailer is from that version), it was lauded as having an old school story (more adult than its SNES cousins) but real-time, fast paced combat. The series is also known for endearing music, and this latest version offers multiple customizable soundtrack options in addition to other features, such as multiple difficulty levels and dual artwork styles (original and an updated version).
Alien Breed (PSN, PS Vita)
Over twenty years have passed since ‘Alien Breed’ was released for the Commodore Amiga, and the game remains as classic (at least in the UK) as its inspiration. A couple of features are key for this version: First off, the game has had an HD overhaul, and the visuals can be toggled between the original and the new HD. Even more importantly, the game now has an optional mini-map and item shop to help buck the difficulty curve of that last remade version.