App Reviewed on: iPhone 4
Graphics / Sound Rating:
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I never had a chance to try out an Amiga when I was a kid, and the more I encounter games such as Alien Breed, the more I'm beginning to regret that. Alien Breed is a top-down shoot 'em up that pits players against a massive onslaught of aliens inside a labyrinthine space station. There are hazards everywhere, and resources are limited. Alien Breed is as much about survival as it is about going on an extensive bug hunt.
Like other remakes of classic games, Alien Breed includes a "retro" mode, featuring the original Amiga graphics and gameplay. Although the modern version sports eye-pleasing retina-display quality graphics, I can't say the original was all that bad looking, perhaps a bit aliased and with a much lower color palette, but not bad! However, it's the modern touches to the gameplay that make it stand out. For one, the game ditches the original control scheme, where players could only shoot in the direction they were facing/running, for a dual-stick shooter scheme, allowing players to shoot and move in any direction at the same time.
Other modern touches include an objective pointer to give players a hint of where to go and an in-game store to purchase more ammo, keys and health kits. I can't say these are all "improvements," as they take away some of the survival aspects of the game, but they are viable options to players who are having a little trouble getting through it.
Unfortunately, the game is very short. I was quite dismayed to see that the original game features a meager sum of just 6 levels. Even with the included 12-level Special Edition from 1992 and the Convergence pack which offers 4, all-new levels, it still seems a bit short. However, I can't ignore the inviting "Coming Soon!" icon, teasing fans with the promise of more adventures to come.
One major overlooked feature is the co-op multiplayer mode from the original game. It would be nice to have a playmate along locally, via Bluetooth, or even via the Internet to help deal with the infinitely spawning alien menace. (And their assistance would be especially welcomed after getting myself locked behind a firewall door with no one to open it. Then again, being forced to restart a level is a painful reminder that "guns blazing" isn't always the way to go in Alien Breed.)
I can't say I got the biggest bang for my buck out of Alien Breed, but I can see why it was so hugely popular when it first made the scene in 1991. There have been many, many top-down shooters since then, and while Alien Breed may have been ahead of its time 20 years ago, these days, I think players are going to be looking for just a little more.