Aliens Infestation (Nintendo DS)
Thinking back through the Aliens games, the obvious example of Alien vs. Predator on the Atari Jaguar is a case of a quality game under the Alien banner. In fact taking Alien 3 as our next example we have a situation where many would consider the game to be superior to the movie… though whether that would have been the case had David Fincher’s original cut, or many of the previous scripts, made it to the screen is another matter.
Since those early games there has been a steady release of Alien games with the most notable recent version being Aliens Vs Predator which was released by SEGA last year, topping the charts and becoming the fastest selling game of the year.
With good sales figures from last year’s AvP it was only a matter of time before we saw another game based on the Aliens universe and that comes in the form of Aliens: Infestation for the Nintendo DS. A side scrolling shooter the latest game in the franchise takes us back to an older style of gameplay, today we find out whether it is a worthy addition to the franchise.
The story is progressed, mainly, though radio communications with our commanding officer and we are able to switch between our team of marines as the levels progress, controlling one at a time. The controls are reasonably standard with the D-Pad giving us movement and aim, A for interaction, Y to fire, X to throw, etc.
The game also makes good use of the DS’s split screen with the main action playing out on the top display and the lower being used to select characters, change weapons, view the map or perform actions as required. This of course gives us quick access to a high level of functionality which ensures the gameplay doesn’t get bogged down in frantic button mashing.
At its core Infestation is a shooter as we make our way through the game, blasting robots, aliens and the like while attempting to complete tasks set by our commander. To keep things a little more interesting there are a number of mini-challenges, problem solving essentially, which keep us alert.
Key items from the Aliens franchise make an appearance in this game, the weapons being an obvious example. We start off with our pulse rifle and flares and later on move to flamethrowers as well as the Mech Suit seen at the end of Aliens.
In addition to the single player campaign we also get access to various unlocks as the game progresses, with marine biographies and view credits being the basics… knife trick mini-game being the unlock to aim for.
Graphics and Audio
On the audio front the game performs well however we did feel the soundtrack was a little more Star Trek than Aliens in places. The highlight however is the environmental effects. Gunfire and explosions are decent but the sound of feet walking on the metal surfaces of the early levels as well as the classic beeps of the motion detector are all recreated well.
There are some minor issues for those who don’t like enemies that respawn when we leave and re-enter the room but the issues are few and far between and are far outweighed by the overall Alien experience. For example aspects such as key items from the Aliens "universe" make an appearance which give sci-fi fans a healthy dose of nostalgia and decent, responsive and intuitive controls ensure that the game is fun to play.