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Aliens: Infestation (NDS)

Aliens: Infestation NDS
Genre: Action
Perspective: Side view
Visual: 2D scrolling
Gameplay: Metroidvania, Platform, Survival Horror
Setting: Sci-Fi / Futuristic
Published by: SEGA of America
Developed by: WayForward Technologies
Released: 2011
Platform: Nintendo DS (NDS)

Every modern, timeless person has his own fandom tastes. Someone flutters before the Ring of All-Power, pouring left and right fiery cries about the need to unite their forces in these hard times so that evil falls on the ground. Others seriously discuss the balance of the Force that permeates every atom of the universe and try to design light swords. Others sometimes present themselves in the role of trapped in the trap of space paratroopers, fighting for their lives with dangerous creatures. And no, it's not Warhammer 40,000 and not StarCraft. Speech today will go about the forerunners of tyranids and zergs - strangers.

More than three decades have passed since the time of reaching the wide screens of the first film in the Alien movie epic, and the entertainment industry does not think to throw away such a favorite setting fond of fantasy fans. You may be surprised to find out how many different products follow the motives of any popular source - comics, books, movies, table games and video games. Even if you take only the last - tell me, do you know how many official games based on Alien? If we take into account the fact that the Predator series enters the same universe from a certain time, this number is correct, even if not so fast, aspires to fifty. And adding more and informal games and games based on the motives in which the origins of the brainchild of Ridley Scott are clearly visible ... I doubt that even the most ardent fan of the series can accurately call this figure. However Aliens: Infestation, which I will talk about, is still an official game. And if you are just interested in the phenomenon of "Alien", but, like me, you are not a special fan of the series, this game could well elude your eyes. Especially since it was released exclusively for one console - the Nintendo DS. Let me draw your attention to it. The final verdict is, of course, to endure, but, perhaps, my review will assure you that on Aliens: Infestation it's worth spending time. Or - bypass it by side.

The game was developed by WayForward Technologies. Guys are not the first time have already created 2D shooters and massacres based on various fandom, and they turned out to be quite good. In particular, I would like to note their remarkable Contra 4. But "Alien" - the case is an order of magnitude more subtle. It's not you who flashed and died in oblivion a year later, "Thor: God of Thunder." Not a series about a prizma-like marine creature, suffering from mental inferiority. And even not mentioned Contra, let and gained great fame on the game consoles, but almost anywhere for them not going out. In the commercials made for the public, the developers beat themselves with a heel to the chest, proving that their new project will not just be a commercial craft, but a game that will please the most notorious fans.

And the first trump card flies in the face of the admirer of "Alien" immediately after pressing the Start button with the stylus. The game takes place not anywhere, but on the legendary spaceship "Sulako", the main stage of the film Aliens! Moreover, the player will have time to visit the LV-426, ride the APC, see the space jockey (or engineer, if anyone), with the due bad luck to kiss a sucker with a face attendant ... and this is not a complete list of numerous references to the original.

Undoubted advantages of the game include its remarkable graphics. Artists can eat their bread and butter peacefully, and even put olives on top. The guys deserve it. Amazingly executed not only backgrounds, but also animation of movements.

The composer can also stretch a sandwich with sausage. Music let and does not cause admiration, but rather fits into the entourage, emphasizing the intense atmosphere of space horror.

Programmers, I would, perhaps, soft French rolls did not give. In the process of passing the game twice managed to hang me tightly. In some missions, if you do not perform tasks in a strictly sequential order, the new label on the card does not overlap with the old one and simply erases it. Animation of running after climbing off the ladder by pressing immediately the keys up / down and aside - buggy. The soldier glides happily for a few seconds in a fixed pose. But it's all forgiven. In the end, can you expect a fairly comprehensive game of complete absence of flaws? A little overlooked here, a little prokononili there. It happens to everyone?

Perhaps you are wondering why I suddenly justify programmers? And the whole point is that after us we have game designers. For them we have a bag of stale crackers ready. And then you can not get off with just one paragraph. I'll have to sort everything out in order.

I apologize for the fact that so far, mentioning various parts Aliens: Infestation, not a word is said about the actual gameplay. This was done deliberately, so that time holding the most important aspect of the game, his rant and rave like a madman Tuzik poor heating pad. Because I deserved it.

So, the game can be attributed to the genre of research platformers. As it is customary to say in the west - metrodivaniya (because a significant pioneer and a role model is the console series Metroid). Much to our happiness, perhaps even run'n gun'ov - then jump through the hole in the floor will have a little, and die after falling into a bottomless abyss of space, we can only do one last level area. But it will be necessary to run a lot, roll, cling to the ledges and pull up. And, of course, shoot. But first about the research part.

Formally, the game is divided into five levels. In fact, there are three of them - twice you will have to descend to the surface of the planets, but basically you have to run exactly on "Sulako". A spaceship in size, of course, to the Castle of Dracula (Castlevania: Symphony of the Night) does not hold out, but still it can not be called small. And if in the first level only a relatively small part of it is open, then in the latter it is fully accessible. And to run from one end to the other, without delaying a fight with the enemy, it will take five minutes, or even all ten. It sounds, probably, not too impressive, but, believe me, in an unexplored zone, such a sprint will be fatal for a player controlled by a paratrooper. And if you still remember about the number of ship decks and actually a separate map of ventilation shafts ... In general, there is where to turn around. True, on the first pass you are unlikely to take more than eight hours - the game is rather short. On the second, of course, it will take one and a half times, if not two, less time. But is there any point in tackling the game a second time? What can push it? Secrets and nonlinearity.

However, the secrets in Aliens: Infestation are hidden badly and do not differ in a particular variety. Here you do not "hit such a step," do not "go into the room with a clock with such and such an artifact, when the hands on the clock will be in a certain position" and, of course, do not "play the game on the hidden ending, as a result of which without that the huge card will double "(spoiler). All secrets here are in the palm of your hand and are absolutely clearly divided into the following types: unlock the welded door, overgrown with biological rubbish, the door is heated from the flamethrower, illuminate the dark room, close the valve with steam, blow up the ventilation grill or pile of garbage. With awards, it's still sadder - ammunition and health are easily replenished at the point of preservation, and in sufficient quantity and already scattered almost everywhere. Upgrades to weapons are useful, but frank boring: plus one to damage, no more than three upgrades per gun. And they are clearly more than necessary. To the last mission I found, it seems, three upgrades, which already had nowhere to be applied. Unless the search for new brothers and sisters in arms (or rather, in misfortune) supports some interest. And they almost always do not hide too much.

In any case, they should be focused on. For they just represent the notorious "nonlinearity". Sarcasm is not accidental here, because the choice of the game character only slightly changes the dialogues (I am sincerely condolent to the scriptwriter, who had to do nineteen almost identical lines of conversation) and supposedly changes the ending. But honestly - I do not care if the soldier decided to stay behind to cover the retreat or join the team. Since the end is always the same - the dialogue of the soldier with the commander and the subsequent titles. At least the picture of an individual as shown ...

But I know that writers and artists are people who are servants. They only do what they say. And in the case of the characters, they did not hit the dirt in the mud. Avatars, the color of armor and leather, the unique animation of the regime of rest for each soldier, slightly different styles of conversations ... Here the developers really managed to create nineteen individualities, among which each player will have his favorites: here you are a nervous rookie, and a thug maniac , and obtuse glutton, and card player. There is a choice. Personally, my favorites were a self-willed blonde and a gloomy gothic girl. It would seem that everything is fine, right? Fig you! Stunningly sad game design solutions are manifested with might and main in this field.

First, there are more than four fighters not to be pushed into the detachment, but it's okay - the mission is enough. Secondly, the soldier does not join the team in reserve, to replace the fallen comrades in the next mission, but sticks out on the spot. Excuse in the style: "It seems, my whole platoon was devoured, but I still for some reason I'll wait here" looks extremely unconvincing. Why should a player run every time again, once the platoon is losing? And it's all right "Sulako", where the guys who found themselves in the very first mission, will wait for us until the very end of the game (although one of the parts of the ship is only available in a single mission, and in this zone there is also a potential game character), but if you did not enlist in their detachment of paratroopers met on the planets, then in the future you will not see them any more. Third, between the fighters there is absolutely no difference in the style of the game. Ideally, of course, I would like to see everyone have some unique ability or individual auxiliary weapons, but even with the weapons already available, one could have acted smarter.

Basic armament includes a pulse rifle and a pistol. To the pulse rifle there are already three stores with ninety-five cartridges in each, which is objectively large. She also has a grenade launcher with a possible supply of ten grenades. True, for some reason they do not fly along an inclined trajectory, but on a straight line. But conventional grenades, which is very nice, fall as it should, and also bounce off the floor and off the walls. But, unfortunately, they explode in a few seconds, as well as in contact with an enemy or a ventilation grill. It would be better, of course, left the timer exclusively, but increased the radius of the explosion and the damage from it. The pistol is a complete lasciviousness, which can only be used to save the ammunition of the main weapon. But with infinite ammunition. True, you will hardly have to use it.

Then there is a fairly solid machine gun smartgan with a stock of two boxes of two hundred and fifty cartridges each. Alas, not too homing. Another player finds a flamethrower. The weapon is extremely interesting. The fact is that a stranger, taking a cloud of lead on his chest, will be completely ill-mannered to splash blood in all directions. I recall that, according to its properties, it is identical to acid. As a rule, it is much less dangerous than bites, paws or tail strikes, but in a melee can eat half the strip of health at a time. The flamethrower bakes the enemy to a crisp crust, absolutely not stingy using his paratrooper. At the same time the ammunition of this weapon is infinite, but the intensity of the flame is the less, the longer the player holds the fire button. Plus - a fairly small lethal power, in order, apparently, to compensate for the lack of need for replenishment of cylinders. However, I really liked this weapon.

In general, all this good is in a different order, but I specially changed it so that to mention the shotgun in the last place. This is a really powerful gun, which has only one minus, which, again, is aggravated by clumsy game design. For some reason the fighter likes to repeatedly distort the fore-end when shooting from a sitting position. To combat bosses, weapons are not suitable - few of them give enough time to even recharge the smartphone - what can we say about the twelve cartridges of the pump gun? Charging, however, can be interrupted on any cartridge, but you can not move during it.

Oh yes! Even closer to the end of the game is a plastic explosive, which is roughly equivalent in power to grenades, but, unlike them, for some reason can destroy rubbish heaps that block the passage. In combat, you can find use except in a skirmish with the last boss.

In general, the balance is more or less in the possession of weapons. It is chosen freely in the same preservation room. Unfortunately, the difference between the main means of destruction used is not so great, and it is aggravated by the abundance of boxes with cartridges that respawn with the same frequency as the enemies. But if we reduce the amount of ammunition scattered in the level, bring the pistol, grenades and plastic explosives to the mind, making them a full-fledged weapon, introduce a loss condition, if there are no fighters with flamethrowers for the plot doors with infection, and nobody has the story trash heap there is an explosive, then it would be possible to assign each fighter his own pair of deadly toys. Enough for as many as twenty-one unique pair (at least one non-viable - grenades with explosives, but the stock by characters was already on the release of the two least adequate pairs).

If you think that this is all, then I hasten to upset you. In the game, in addition to others, there are other opponents. This, of course, is good, but ... Combat androids, who can even climb ladders, can not sit down or drop their arms with triviality, because of which it is easier to shoot nondeterminators from a sitting position and not to snap them from the bald place easier than taking away the candy the child (if you imagine that the candy is very, very tasty, the child is a stranger to you, and there will be no witnesses of the atrocities ... I certainly could not restrain myself). Soldiers can already squat. And they like to hide behind drawers. But then the developers for some reason overdid it and have the opportunity to lean against the box and fire because of it without sticking out. So the mountain-warrior against the player has no chance. Strangers - comrades are more dangerous, but in some places for some reason the animation of their occurrence is played twice, because of which they manage to catch twice as many bullets before rushing into battle. In addition, the motion sensor is absolutely independent of whether the lighting of the room is turned on in dark areas. And he does not have any batteries. Thus, it does not make sense to switch it off in principle, and all ambushes (unless otherwise provided by scripts, which occasionally still happens) are visible in advance.

Probably, after all my claims you may think that the game is bad. But - unexpectedly - no. Despite numerous flaws and shortcomings, Aliens: Infestation is a very entertaining metro-version. Brawls with strangers at first very pleased, and given the short duration of the game, do not have time to really bother. The most difficult bosses did quite delight me. It is for them just to keep their fighters in order to, by choosing the least favorite for the role of cannon, to weaken a huge creature, and then finish it off with their favorite. Extremely successful came out the system of endurance - the scale, like in Diablo II, is gradually consumed when running and is noticeably taken away when falling from a height, as well as with somersaults. Flips in the game in some battles are very useful, and with bosses - they are necessary. Although the developers should have removed the opportunity to back off, shooting back, but this is a trifle compared to the mentioned shortcomings. QTE should be complicated, because the game clearly emphasizes the fact that the loss of soldiers is a sad thing, but commonplace. And then somehow even hurt for face-criminals and strangers, who could not win me a single QTE. Here, by the way, the developers again slightly blundered - in the fight against a stranger, the paratrooper, having won, does not just repel the monster, but also adds a few shots from the pulse rifle, even if it is not available.

Let's be frank: Aliens: Infestation would not be a masterpiece. To do this, she needed to be a completely different game. WayForward Technologies was very careful about the setting, made a whole ton of beautiful game graphics and animation, did not get into a puddle with sound and music, but openly disfigured with game design. Personally for me, this game became a barrel of honey with a fly of tar. Fans of meteorology, probably, it is better to pay attention to some more solid representative of this direction. For fans of the genre, the game will be more like a dose for a complete addict - it will bring satisfaction and remove the breaking, but it will not give you much pleasure. But if you are not indifferent to the setting Alien, then the game you should like. The same for whom this universe is a favorite, - to familiarize without fail. Not on the console, so at least on the emulator.