There have been many attempts at bringing the Aliens movie franchise to console systems. Most of those games were arcade-style shooters that never lived up to the movies or their alien creature counterparts. Aliens: Infestation by WayForward Technologies blends 2D run-and-gun gameplay with exploration and puzzle solving elements.
As the story unfolds, a group of Marines are sent to investigate strange readings emanating from inside the ship Sulaco. It is believed the readings are either from a Marine or one of the advisors sent to LV-426. After a short briefing, a group of four Marines are sent in to investigate.
The first segment of the game is spent exploring the corridors of the Sulaco. Most of the corridors and rooms look about the same and this can cause some confusion, but this changes quickly. The first mission objective is to establish a connection with the ship’s mapping system and upload it to Central Command. After the information is uploaded, your team of Marines can view the ship’s interior, making it much easier to explore.
The game starts off very slow in the beginning. The first half hour of gameplay is spent getting familiar with your surroundings, finding the Save rooms to save your progress, and collecting additional weaponry like grenades and rockets. Each Marine comes with an unlimited supply of flares; these can be dropped to mark previously visited locations.
Central Command keeps track of your progress along the way, explaining any obstacles that may happen to impede your path. There is plenty of story-driven dialog between Central Command and the Marines to separate Aliens: Infestation from previous games based on the franchise.
The bulk of the game is spent searching for keycards to unlock elevators and finding special equipment to overcome certain objectives. The iconic motion tracker from the movies is one piece of special equipment that is discovered early on, and as one would expect, it plays an integral role in your team’s survival.
Even though Aliens: Infestation offers story-driven elements, it still has plenty of combat. Before discovering the alien infestation, your team of Marines must deal with a group of droids. Combat is pretty simple; grenades and rockets can be selected from the touch screen and then fired by pressing the X button, while the Y button fires your rifle. Your Marine can take cover behind crates or roll away from attacks if necessary, but this isn’t always helpful.
What really makes combat difficult is the hit detection issues that occur. The droids seem to suffer from it frequently, becoming temporally invincible to your gunfire. This usually results in the droid(s) injuring your Marine. Ironically, the Aliens, Face Huggers, and eggs do not suffer from the same issue when shot.
Boss encounters happen to be the most challenging part of the game since the combat area is confined. The Alien Queens can deal just as much punishment as they can absorb. Alien eggs will spawn Face Huggers, wrapping themselves around the Marine’s face if they are not dealt with quickly. There is no way to block incoming attacks. Each boss has its own pattern that must be learned very quickly. If your team of Marines happen to die, the game ends and the last save point must be restored.
Moreover, if the Marine you’re playing dies, another one from the group must be selected to carry on with the mission. Basically, the Marines in your group act as extra lives. Additional Marines can be found along the way to fill in any empty slots left open by fallen team members, but there is no way to increase the size of your team.
Aliens: Infestation is a very engaging game that stays true to the films. The exploration aspect prevents the game from losing its appeal. The combat system is solid for the most part, but it does have issues, especially when battling those pesky droids.
WayForward Technologies did an admirable job of bringing the horror and suspense of the movies to the small DS screen. While it’s not perfect, Aliens: Infestation has more to offer gamers than previous iterations bearing the same name.
Platform: Nintendo DS (Also compatible with Nintendo 3DS)
Developer: WayForward Technologies
ESRB: T (Teen)
|A great amount of detail was spent on the aliens and their hives.|
|Even for a DS title, the music is quite good. It's atmospheric and fits the environments.|
|Even though the combat system isn't perfect, the few flaws that are there do not ruin the overall experience. There is about 6-12 hours of actual gameplay (give or take).|
|Aliens: Infestation is a challenging 2D platformer that offers a good balance of action, exploration and puzzle solving.|