Alien Breed: Impact Impressions
To be fair to Alien Breed: Impact
, at least the combat is pretty good – though the difficulty curve is dangerously erratic. From the top-down perspective, WASD controls player movement while the mouse is used for aiming; an old fashioned input method which can take a bit of getting used to.
There are several weapons at your disposal, from paltry pistols with infinite ammo right up to flamethrowers and laser weapons, as well as several types of support item – grenades, armour, health kits and so on. In the first half of the game things it’s easy to be fairly nonchalant about the combat as, although the aliens come in swarms, they tend to go down fairly easy and you can withstand a fair bit of punishment. Later on though, when the bigger foes start striding onto the field, things can get a bit more tricky…
It’s here that weapon upgrades come in handy, as you can collect credits littered throughout the game to improve your guns or buy extra ammo from certain save-game terminals that are dribbled through the levels. Thus levelled up, you’re better able to take the fight to the aliens.
You'll be doing things like this a lot.
So, on paper, that all sounds well and good and if you’re likely getting an impression of Alien Breed: Impact
as a darker, top-down take on Serious Sam
. Well, don’t get any funny ideas – because in practice Alien Breed
isn’t like that at all and there’s one thing which steadily undermines what should have been Impact
’s core appeal; its poor pacing.
As if it were aiming to be some deeply scary thriller, Alien Breed: Impact
surprisingly rations the number of enemies you fight for the first three levels, having them only emerge in sudden, quickly despatched bursts. The rest of the time you’re left to awkwardly navigate largely uninspired levels, following your minimap to the next objective – which usually turns out to be blocked anyway.
What should be an endless rampage against alien invertebrates is instead reduced to endless traipsing through dark corridors in search of keycards or computer terminals. The repetition and predictability of it all serves only to embitter you to the later stages, when the combat scales up a bit to what it originally should have been.
Well, best not to dwell, eh?
There are numerous little problems too, such as the too-dark, dull level design and the fact that few of the weapons feel suitably powerful – the assault rifle may as well be a hiccup-powered peashooter judging from its damage and sound effects.
The only thing that would really make us recommend Alien Breed: Impact
would be the co-op campaign, as the singleplayer side of things feels like one long poorly told grind. The co-op itself isn’t much better, but it’s always easier to have fun with a game when you’ve got a friend playing with you. Be warned that you’ll probably have to bring a friend with you though, rather than relying on internet strangers – we only ever saw three available co-op games at most. Don’t expect the community to be swamped.
To be completely fair to Alien Breed: Impact
, it isn’t totally awful and, at it’s most basic, it at least looks good, controls reasonably and might give you and a pal three or so hours of brainless enjoyment. Still, there’s no getting around the simple fact that Alien Breed: Impact
is flatly outpaced by other games in a similar mould. The expansions over the console versions are sensible, but don’t provide enough reason for ardent fans to re-buy or replay, while newcomers would be better served by finding other things to keep them occupied
. It's not that it's bad, merely dull and out-of-touch.