Review by Sac!

"A classic game, that's worth a play"

Well, given that I run a website about this series and that I've already written a review for the sequel Zombie Wars, I figured it was about time for me to review the first game in the series. So without any more guff, here i go:

Released back in 1993 by Apogee (Though designed by the now defunct Gee Whiz Software, an Australian development team), this game was originally titled after the lead character Halloween Harry(Though this game is, as far as I can tell, unrelated to a BBC Micro game of the same name, created by the Steve Pasfield, who also worked on this game), though it was later re-titled ''Alien Carnage'' by request from Apogee, probably so people didn't think it was a kiddy game about Halloween, rather than an action game about a flame thrower wielding mercenary. This game has since been discontinued by Apogee, but if you search around, it shouldn't be too hard to obtain a copy, but keep in mind that it can be a hard game to play on modern systems (The main reason Apogee discontinued the game).

In the future a race of vicious aliens have shown up and invaded a major American city, capturing people to turn them into zombies. The Americans try to fight back but fail. Now, they have only one chance to defeat the aliens: Halloween Harry, an American mercenary known for being an expert at using both his jetpack and his flamethrower. Working with USE Marine Corps controller Diane (Who monitors Harry's progress from aboard the Space Station Liberty), Can Harry defeat the aliens, and stop them from turning all humans into BRAINDEAD KILLER ZOMBIES!?

A pretty standard game for the time, being a platform shooter. However, don't dismiss AC just because of that as it's actually quite a good one. Why is that? because while it IS a platform also isn't. The reason for this is because of Harry's jetpack. You see, Harry himself doesn't have the ability to jump, so he must traverse each level by flying on his jetpack, a feature which sets this apart from many of the similar games released around the same time.
Each level is also not straight up left to right deal, but instead requires you to explore, find switches and like, meaning that each level is interesting to play. I also like how many of the game's enemies (such as the zombies) regenerate, as it means if you get stuck, you at least won't be alone running around trying to find the switch you need to press.
Speaking of enemies, there are quite a few different enemies, with different enemies appearing depending on which of the 4 episodes you play. Now, I hear you asking ''Episode? Sac, wha...?'' Well, remember that this game was originally released as Shareware, meaning the game was split up into episodes, like most of the old Shareware games were. You could download and distribute the first ''shareware' episode free of charge and give copies to whoever you wanted, (That way, they play the game, see the ordering info and buy a copy...well, that was the plan ;) ) Each episode was set in different area, and each had it's own boss and a neat little animated ''ending''. I also liked the touch of Diane giving Harry a briefing aboard the liberty between each Mission.

Has a definite techno beat, but I quite liked it. Given the futuristic setting of the game, the music fits really well, and I have to say I enjoyed listening to it. Definitely a strong point of the game.

Some great sprite based artwork, all the characters are clear and look good, and I never found myself thinking ''that looks real bad''. Of course, I'll have to admit that by today's standard, the game doesn't stand up...but that's not to say the graphics are bad. Unless you're one of those strange people who wig out if they're not looking at anime quality 2d graphics or 3D graphics (in other words, a very silly person) you'll find these graphics don't detract at all.

Well, good luck trying to find a copy (Don't ask me, I won't tell you a download location), but if you do, you'll find a really enjoyable platform game. I really do recommend playing this game, as it's a classic, and sadly one that didn't receive the attention it deserved.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 02/10/04

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