Alien Breed 3: Descent Review

Alien Breed 3: Descent marks the final chapter in the Alien Breed trilogy, giving closure to the alien invasion. For those of you that are new to the Alien Breed series, it was a classic game developed by Team 17 on the now defunct Amiga system. Since then Team 17 has taken the series and given it a modern day HD overhaul. Alien Breed 3: Descent picks up where Alien Breed 2 left off, discovering that the ship Leopold is on a crash course with a nearby planet. Once again you play the hero Conrad, on the ship Leopold on his journey to free it from the clutches from the A.I. construct, Klein. The game starts off with a small back story of what happened in the first 2 episodes, then it places you right in the story line ready for action. Conrad’s android companion has been taken over by Klein at this time, leaving you all alone on a doomed space ship headed for disaster.

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Throughout the game you’ll discover why Klein, the evil A.I. genetically engineered the insect-like aliens and the reasoning behind it. Alien Breed take a different approach when it comes to playing it, instead of playing like a FPS, 3rd person or side-scrolling, this time you have a top down shooter. Team 17 continues to use the Unreal Engine for the whole Alien Breed series which gives is appealing graphics to say the least, Team 17 really knows how to use the finer points of the Unreal Engine for their environment. The Alien Breed series was re-released with improvements for consoles and PC alike. Now I do enjoy playing on my PC but it has been a long time since I have used the W, A, S & D keys in a top down shooter like this. It took some time getting used to it again. New players to the series will understand the controls if they get the PC version.

As the Leopold slowly disintegrates during the game, parts are breaking off outside the ship as it enters the atmosphere, while on the inside of the ship is covered with debris and destruction. The environments are wonderfully detailed, even though everything looks about the same throughout the levels. The graphics are impressive though with water effects, particles and explosions, oh my. Later on in the game you get to move to the outside of the Leopold and the camera angle shifts to a shoulder height view behind Conrad. You get to see how bad things really are from Conrad’s point-of-view while assessing the amount of damage to the ship close up.

The insect-like aliens are still as ugly as ever but nicely designed. You get a chance to meet a new alien, the water born Electro-Shocker alien. There is also 2 new weapons introduced, the Electro-Link gun and the Project X. The new weapons are nice but just a little overpowered and balanced with limited amounts of ammo to find, more so for the Project X weapon. Besides those, you’ll still have access to your secondary weapons like grenades, med kits, sentry guns and so on. One good thing is the hand gun with its unlimited ammo supply for when you run out of everything else, your handgun is there to hold your hand when everything else is gone. Its very easy to unload all your ammo quickly if not paying attention trying to kill off wave after wave of alien hordes.

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Now Alien Breed 3 can feel a little repetitive at times because all you do is run and shoot. By no means is the third game in the series boring with not much to do, you are always being attacked by something or have to find your way around. Entering a dark room is a good warning sign that you are about to get your butt kicked by an alien horde. At first the aliens come at you in small groups, later on they come at you in large hordes and if you don’t watch out, you will be overwhelmed quickly. Once nice thing is the kiosks located throughout the ship, when you find a kiosks, walk up to it and interact with it to be able to upgrade weapons, purchase ammo and save your game progress. You should always upgrade your weapons, so as your character progresses and the alien horde gets harder to fight, your weapons will still have enough stopping power to stop them in their tracks.

The story mode offers a linear campaign, go to point A, open door, find money, point B, shoot lots of aliens, cut-scene, boss fight and then rinse and repeat. Free Play allows you to run through the campaign to beat your time for high scores you have already played through. Survivor mode has three different survival modes which is more or less the same survival mode set in three different levels as you defeat wave after wave of alien hordes with a variety of weapons. Before you get to a Boss Fight, you’ll get a unskippable cut-scene and then its off to the fight for Conrad. However if you end up dying from the boss fight, you’ll have to start over at the beginning watching that same cut-scene you just seen before. So make sure you have enough health and ammo before battling it out with a boss.

One of the only things that didn’t make sense to me was the option to use a flamethrower in the vacuum of space, yes I did say a flamethrower in space. Flames need air to burn and with space having no air and being a total vacuum, I don’t see how this weapon even is supposed to work. Granted this is just a video game set in space and anything is possible with a sci-fi background but there has to be some kind of reasoning to real life objects as flamethrowers in space. Besides that, the unskippable cut-scenes became annoying if you ended up dying during a boss fight and had to repeat it all over again. Its reminded me of the Ground Hog Day movie but in a game setting. These aren’t total deal breakers for me but just some things to point out. A lot of people might not get into the game so much as people these days are expecting way too much when it comes to what the game offers, but the Alien Breed series is only $10 USD for each episode on Steam. So for that the game becomes worth every penny spent on it. It would be a different story if the game cost $50 and didn’t have a lot more. You also have to remember that this is a classic series when games were much more simple in nature, it sure does bring back some memories.

Fun levels to explore that are vast but it is a little repetitive at times. Unskippable cutscenes are annoying too.
Levels look great on the Unreal Engine with realistic particle and water effects.
The sounds effects are great and matched well.
9Final Score

Alien Breed 3: Descent is available on Xbox 360 on XBLA here, PC via Steam here and PlayStation 3.


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