Title: Alien Shooter Vengence
Publisher: Sigma Team
Genre: Shooter – top-down
Platforms available:  PC
Platform reviewed:  PC
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Review:  I’ll be honest and say that I only bought this game as part of a clearance of old offline PC games from a local tech store.  I’m not generally a fan of shooter games (I’ve never bought one before this!), but given the price this was going for I thought I’d try this out and I’m glad I did. I never expected to really get into it that much, however I’ve been pleasantly surprised with just how much I’ve enjoyed playing this!  Alien Shooter Vengence is a top-down shooter which means you get a top down view, always from one angle – no ability to spin the camera around.  The game I have and am reviewing is an offline PC version but this game has since been re-released onto Steam and is available with added features, but it’s now known as Alien Shooter 2: Reloaded.

Installation and basic info:

The game, which comes on one disc, installed easily on my Windows 8.1 laptop (and which I plan to backwards install onto Vista in the future (yes I still own a Windows Vista PC! 😮 ) It doesn’t need the disc in the drive to play, once you’ve installed the game, and works well once the game starts.  I have a pretty basic laptop so the game runs with occassional brief seconds of lag here and there (usually at the start of a mission) but it’s not really that noticeable and on slightly higher spec machines it should work fine.

The game is set in the near future, where alien creatures have infiltrated top secret military facilities and it’s up to you to shoot and kill the alien hordes while getting to the bottom of what happened.  The game takes a while on my laptop to actually load, the loading screen sometimes taking up to two or three minutes before finally changing to the menu screen but after that, the game just launches without an intro movie and plays very well.  You control one character who goes on the missions to shoot the alien creatures and you get to choose what your character looks like (from a small selection of heads), the sex of your character, both male and female heads are available in equal amounts and also their clothing colour.  Throughout the game as you level up you can attribute skill points to your character like accuracy in shooting, total hitpoints, ability to heal, etc.  Because of this it’s not just a basic shooter game but has a feel of an RPG (role-playing game) too.  It’s probably this aspect of gameplay that makes me like this so much, I’m always keen on games that allow me to be a female character as it just makes me feel more involved!

Gameplay modes

There are three modes in the game: Campaign, Survival and Multiplayer.  Now, as someone who doesn’t play online I can’t tell you what multiplayer mode is like but the other two are for single players offline.  Campaign mode is where you follow the story and complete missions.  There are only about nine missions in the game, which is a bit disappointing as I’d like there to be a lot more, however, each mision is pretty long with lots of aliens to shoot, different areas to explore and a good amount of gameplay.  Every mission gets increasingly more difficult than the last, with more aliens to shoot at and much tougher creatures to beat and the difference between two levels can be big.  I’m still not through all of them and keep dying on mission 8 🙄 which leads me back to the menu screen where I can pick the same mission of tackle a previous one. The game does remember the missions you’ve played though, and your characters stats so you can continue the game again, replaying the last mission you failed on.

Survival mode is, as the name suggests, trying to survive for as long as possible in one location.  The areas pretty large so your character gets to move around a lot, which you need to do while shooting to avoid the aliens hurting you, but the area is still a closed space and it can sometimes get tough when you get stuck around an object near a corner with aliens right next to you blocking your escape.  What I like about survival mode though is you can take a Campaign character you’ve created into the survivial mode rather than starting from scratch with an unknown character (although you can also create a new charcter if you like!)

Controls

You use both the keyboard and mouse to play the game, moving your character with the W, A, S, D buttons and your mouse to point which direction your character faces as well as the mouse button to fire.  You can change the controls around in the menu screen but I’ve found that the left keyboard and right mouse is the most intuitive way to play.

Moving the character around is easy, and the general gameplay and graphics are good.  Most of the space is dark which you can light up with a flashlight your character carries.  You can upgrade this and other things your character carries in the inventory, like armour, weapons, implanted chips (that make you more skilled at things) and you can carry a whole host of things in your inventory including medical kits, drones which help shoot aliens and a whole lot of ammo.  but there’s a limited space in inventory and I wish the space could be a little bigger as keep finding myself a little annoyed at the message that I don’t have enough space to carry something, so I’m constantly checking my inventory for what I can throw away/sell.

Shooting aliens is literally pointing the mouse in the direction you want to shoot in and then literally pressing the left mouse button.  There’s a cursor on screen for targetting where to shoot and it helps if you get your character to face the same direction with the keyboard buttons, especially if you are retreating while shooting.  There’s not much need for perfect acuracy on shooting the aliens, it’s more of a case of point the cursor in the general area of the aliens and just shoot.  Keeping the mouse button pressed down when using a minigun will keep the rounds firing which is less tiring than clicking repeatedly.

It’s not difficult to get into the game, the controls are very easy to get used to, but getting through the missions is hard as aliens get ever more powerful and you face more and more of them, and I’ll be honest, I’m still stuck at mission 8, although to be fair to the game, I haven’t dedicated as much time to it yet as I have with other PC games.

Age range/concerns?

The game is rated 12 in the UK and this is due to the fact guns are used.  There is a lot of shooting and the aliens do spill a lot of blood onto the floor (and there’s the occassional blobs of alien flesh exploding from an alien that’s just been destroyed) which in default mode is red but you can change this to green, which I prefer as it just looks less creepy/gory.  All this does look a bit gory and I wouldn’t obviously recommend for the youngest players, but it is from a top-down view so it’s not as close to your view and means you don’t really see it that graphically, making it less gory.

There isn’t any swearing in the game though and the violence is purely shooting alien creatures which look horrible and  of course your own character getting hurt by them, though you don’t physicaly see that just see a red rim around the game screen for every hit and your character screaming briefly if they run out of hit points/die.

I’d be cautious if you are squeemish about blood and shooting in general but apart from that the game doesn’t have anything else to be upset about and teens and older would enjoy it.

Conclusion

Overall I like this game, more than I thought I would.  There’s a good sountrack playing in the background, a solid beat, which only really picks when you face a large horde of aliens.  Prior to that there’s this eerie almost silence which makes you feel the atmosphere!  The graphics are good too, for a top-down shooter, although colours are a bit muted to reflectthe cold atmosphere of the game.  And as I said the game runs well on even basic machines so anyone with higher specs should have a very smooth gameplay experience.

This PC version of the game on disc only runs in a traditional aspect ratio, rather than widescreen although there are options to improve graphics and change the resolution and volume to suit your play style.

I haven’t encountered any bugs while playing this game, and while I’m not quite through the last three missions, the game is a solid one and does suck you in with the good sounds and overall interesting gameplay.  I still think it could have been a bit longer though, and while I do enjoy playing this game, it’s fun for a while, it’s not something I am desperate to play.  Maybe if it had more missions or another gameplay mode I’d feel a bit more interested in it, but overall not a bad game, especially considering the price for this PC disc version.

-I did try to get screenshots of the game, but each time I captured an image it would show up as a black black box, so unfortunately no screen shots available, sorry.


Have you played this game or its predecessor?  What do you think about shooter games in general or top-down shooters?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂