Alien Breed. It’s an Amiga classic. I’ve never played the game sadly. That changed yesterday! I took my GPD XD with me on the train yesterday, bound from Doncaster to Sheffield and sat down with an Amiga classic in the palm of my hands. My journey was about to begin. I was excited. I often have people tell me that Alien Breed is one of those games that is unlike any other on the Amiga.
I’m a massive fan of the Alien franchise as well. I recently went back and watched all of the films with my wife who had yet to watch the films herself. So when I was researching the series, the influence from the films was clear as day. However, the impact hit me even harder when I started the play the game properly. I didn’t expect it at first since the intro I was treated to had some pretty unrealistic artwork. It had charm, but I expected to be playing something with a much more cartoonish style.
Instead, I was dropped into a top-down shooter with that influence I mentioned earlier. Like, this isn’t so much taking a bit from the films. You could EASILY stick ‘Aliens‘ on the title and sell it on as a licenced game, and it’d be just fine. It’s not bad, it’s just a bit strange. Almost a bit like finding Chinese bootlegs of various products. Sure, I love Pepsi. But Bepis isn’t fooling anyone. Regardless, I got ready and started to play. It was a pretty standard affair at the start. The gameplay wasn’t getting too pumped, but I didn’t feel hindered by it. I could easily shoot and kill something.
But then the A.I started to kick in. It was a bit strange to watch these aliens flail around and just sort of fail to be a real threat. They seemed to get caught on the sides of walls easily and didn’t pose much of a threat. It was a bit hit and miss. They would act normal and be a standard fare for a real firefight, and the next second I was about to breakdance against the alien considering how much they were spinning all the time! So needless to say, the threat of the aliens wasn’t very present half the time.
One thing I appreciated was the lack of music. I was a bit taken aback at first because I expected some dark and looming tunes to greet me on my adventure. But it was a nothing but silence and my enemies. It would have made for a rather engaging and creepy atmosphere if it wasn’t for the previously mentioned AI that I had to deal with. But overall, I do give it points for doing something different.
To finish things off here, one of the interesting factoids. I managed to finish Alien Breed! I did cheat a bit here. I didn’t beat it in an hour. I took it home and kept playing. I’m not sure why I did, but I laid down and kept playing for some reason. I had work in the morning, sure. But I kept playing it!
I expected a pretty lengthy playthrough, but as I was escaping from a ship about to explode. Everything ended with very little warning. I had expected some fantastic ending. Especially since I had finished fighting a few giant bosses a few moments earlier. Those bosses were the real challenges as well, not because it was tough, but because I found it to be pretty frustrating. I would get torn limb from limb with little warning. Combine that with no saving. I almost threw my GPD XD at the wall a few times.
But the ending soured it for me. Six levels for what ended up being a pretty anticlimactic ending. It left me wanting more, sure. But it was more than a little disappointing,
Would I continue Alien Breed?
Yes. I would. Despite my gripes. I enjoyed myself quite a bit. Jumping back into a few of these titles let me get back to my roots of what gaming meant to me. I’ve been playing so many modern titles; I forgot what it was like to have a game that was so rough around the edges but loveable.
I mainly found it fun to see how the series has done. Much like the film series Alien Breed has taken inspiration from, there are a BUNCH of Alien Breed games. So I think I should be able to find the one for me!
Big shout out to Mike over on Twitter for my next game! The Mega Drive classic, Comix Zone! It’s a game I have played, but not in some time.
@FunStockGames well I just discovered you, but if you haven't already, Altered Beast, Comix Zone & Ristar on SEGA are childhood favs of mine
— Mike Donahue (@BlueOfShoe) March 8, 2017
It’ll be fun to tackle this one again! If you have a suggestion for something I can play, make sure to let me know!
Check back tomorrow for my next Retro Journey!