Review by KFHEWUI
"Excellent story and solid gameplay makes Aliens: Infestation a game worth playing"
The story begins with the U.S.S. Sulaco embarking on a recon mission to the small moon LV-426, and their mission is to restore contact with the colony at Hadley's Hope since the last transmission was brief but cryptic. Sadly the Sulaco never made it to the gateway, and a search was started immediately. Shortly thereafter the Sulaco was found a drift near Gamma Leporic in the Outer Rim and initial bio scans indicate a single life force. Since radio contact cannot be establish with the survivor, a squad of four Colonial Marines is sent in to find the survivor.
Aliens: Infestation has a great and well written story, and while overall the story is the same, the dialogue changes depending upon which character is being used. There are around twenty marines in all, and this does add to the replay value of the game.
The controls are solid and responsive, and they are easy to grasp. Holding L allows the player to stand still and free aim, and R is used for running. The D-Pad is used for movement, Y is used for throwing grenades while X is used for firing weapon, B is used for jumping, A is used for rolling, and the stylus is used for selecting weapons, sub weapons, and a few other options.
Aliens: Infestation has great graphics, and the sprites are well drawn and detailed. The backgrounds also look amazing with the mountain background with purple skies on LV-426 or the different room designs in the Sulaco which each have a distinct look. The storage rooms have boxes and shelves which hold tools, and the break room houses chairs and tables which helps with the atmosphere. The most impressive part of the graphics has to be the Colonial Marine's drop ship which is huge and detailed. The enemies also look great, and the animation in the game is top notch. Colonial Marines and enemy soldiers move realistically, and they can duck behind cover and jump over boxes. The Xenomorphs are just impressive when they jump out of the air ducts and can climb on the ceiling by running up the walls.
The music is excellent, and the quality is crystal clear. Each track fits the moment perfectly. The first track sounds mysterious and fits the mood of an abandoned ship, and the track for the air ducts sounds creepy and eerie that the feeling of desolation.
Aliens: Infestation is a 2D platformer that is similar to Metroid. The game starts the player off with a squad of 4 Colonial Marines, and they each have their own dialogue. If one of the Colonial Marines die, there is a small window where if you find them, they can be saved however if a character dies during a boss fight well, game over, man, game over for that marine.
If the Colonial Marine does die, there are fifteen bonus marines that can be found and join your squad to replace their fallen ally however some of them can only be obtained in a small window of time. The only difference between each character is cosmetic with the looks and dialogue. This is an area where I feel that some potential was lost. Each marine has a distinct look, and let's say a larger marine could have had more health but moves slower while a smaller character moves faster but has less health however every character does have a sprint ability which is used by R. The catch with this is that under the health bar is a red bar which represents stamina, and when the bar is empty, the character cannot roll or run until it fills up some.
Combat is a satisfying experience, and killing the Xenomorphs is thrilling however Xenomorphs are not the only enemies to fight. There are Androids, Face Huggers, baby Xenomorphs, Simian Xenomorphs, and Soldiers. Also over the course of the game there are several bosses and some of the bosses are for the most part not that difficulty to defeat with the except for the simian boss which can be pretty cheap. The most memorable boss fight recreates the battle where Ripley fights the Alien Queen with a power loader from Aliens in which the player get to use a power loader to fight the Alien Queen.
The weapons are very limited with smart gun, pulse rifle, shotgun, and flamethrower, and each weapon has a strength and flaw. The smart gun has a few second delay after you hold the fire button, and the shotgun has a downside where if you shoot the Xenomorphs, acid blood will spray towards you and will cause damage if it touches the player. The flamethrower can set Xenomorphs on fire and can also be used to burn the purple goo off certain doors that open up new short cuts. Each weapon can be upgraded three times, and the upgrades carry over with each marine. This is another area where I feel that the game comes up short. It would have been great if the upgrade system was more advance and allowed you to select which area you want to upgrade the weapon in let's say like range, clip size, and power.
In addition to having the above mentioned weapons, there is a pistol as a side weapon and several sub weapons like grenades, C4, and rockets. The pistol can be upgraded however it is not worth it since the pistol is completely useless, and the game only allows the player to carry only one main weapon at a time (i.e. shotgun, pulse rifle, smart gun, and flamethrower). Once found, the weapons can be swapped in a save room which also refills ammo and health and has an unlimited amount of health and ammo.
The main bulk of the game takes place in the USS Sulaco which is a large ship that has many rooms and in addition also has a large air duct system which houses secret ammo and health caches, but also open up short cuts. There is also a short lived zero gravity sequences which happens late in the game, and sadly this area is the only part of the game that I truly hated. The main problem is that there is a lot of platform leaping, but some of these leaps are pretty difficulty to see what is below and also house Xenomorphs which leads to some cheap hits.
The Sulaco is more open and allows for exploration however most of the areas are not accessible until the right access key card is collected which happens over the course of the game. Besides the Sulaco, there are two other areas in the game which are a UPP Facility on LV-426 and a research facility, but the downside with these areas are that they are straight forward with very little branching paths.
Aliens: Infestation is about a six hour game which replay value is the different story for each character and a knife mini game which is the knife trick from Aliens which is the scene where Bishop places his hand over Private Hudson hand and stabs a knife between the fingers quickly. This mini game houses a score, and it is not too difficult to rack up points however it does wear thin after a few plays.
Aliens: Infestation is an excellent game that anyone can enjoy even if you are not an Alien fan however there are several references to the movies that fan will notice. Despite the linear nature of the game, this is a solid game that every DS owner should have in their collection.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 06/11/12, Updated 04/25/13
Game Release: Aliens: Infestation (US, 10/11/11)
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