The Average Gamer

Alien Breed 2: Assault Review (PC)

Weefz asked me the other day if I knew anything about a game called Alien Breed and would I like to review the latest game in the series – Alien Breed 2: Assault on the PC. To which I replied “yeah, I know a little about it, I’ll play it ;-)” Well, I played the first Alien Breed game on my Amiga 500 when it was first released back in 1991. I followed the development diary of Alien Breed 2 in Amiga Format every month. Unfortunately when the game was finally released I was a little put off by how insanely difficult it was to play. But, at least it was an interesting development diary though.

I also remember watching the awesome intro to Alien Breed: Tower Assault at the consumer electronics show Live ’95 in London. Wow, that intro was really amazing for its time. I also played Alien Breed 3D on the Amiga A1200, which I enjoyed more than Doom. So, yeah, I’ve had a long, long history with Alien Breed. Getting back up to date, I wrote a post last week announcing the release of Alien Breed 2: Assault last week. So now I’ve had a chance to spend some time playing it, here’s what I think.

Starting off, slowly….

Everything starts off well, with a nice cartoon summary of all the events in the previous game (Alien Breed: Evolution), but for some reason I couldn’t start the game. It just kept looping through the intro again and again. So after 30 mins of trawling through the Steam forums I found the answer. AlienBreed2Assault_KillingAllTheAliensI had to recheck the game cache, which then identified 2 missing/corrupt files. New files were downloaded (automatically) and installed and a few mouse clicks later I was finally playing Alien Breed 2: Assault. Mmm, not the greatest start I think you’ll agree.

Anyway, the game itself is an isometric third person shooter/handyman/FedEx delivery person game, set on an Alien space ship, filled with nasty aliens (surprisingly!) and darkness. There are 5 levels to play in the single player campaign all of which involve you getting from point A to point B (following all the waypoints) whilst killing and repairing almost everything that you come across. With a lot of backtracking. There’s so much backtracking that it is almost pointless exploring some of the corridors and rooms that make up the levels as you will cover every inch several times. This got very irritating on the 2nd level, when I had to backtrack to practically the very beginning of the level from pretty much half way through as I had to retrieve a personnel database for a security door that had just broken. Annoying, and a little bit dull. Fortunately each level only takes about an hour to complete, which was just about the limit of my interest.

Dad, it’s broken!

In space, every thing’s broken or will break, at least that’s what I learned form playing Alien Breed 2: Assault. If you touch things there’s a strong chance it will break. Doors, windows, computers, pumps and generators to name but a few of the things that suffer from your killer touch. So you either have to either divert around the broken bit or (more commonly) locate a part to fix (which usually involves backtracking). AlienBreed2Assault_RobotSuitYou also have to be very careful of all the explosions (nice, pretty explosions), as everything explodes when you get close to it. Must be that killer touch again! Oh, and the ship shakes. Like, shakes all the fricking time. For virtually the whole of the first level the screen constantly shook. Wobble, wobble, wobble, explosion, door fuse blow, wobble, explosion wobble! I get the fact that the ship you are on is a bit broken (having just crashed our own ship into the side of it), but seriously, enough with the screen shaking. I get it. After about of hour of playing I needed a break, as I found it too tiring to deal with for any longer. The shaking got better (i.e. less) after this, but it is still something to be aware of. It can be quite off-putting.

Save when you can

The graphics are pretty good throughout with some nicely detailed spaceship interiors. There are lovely smoke effects and lighting effects in the game which really show off the power of the Unreal 3 engine as you wander around with your little torch. The aliens are varied in design and size with some of them are right little nippy buggers and quite a challenge to kill, especially when about 20 of them gang up on you and attack from all angles. Clever.

Weapons are equally varied, with flamethrowers, rocket launchers, shotguns and the trusty pulse rifle all ready for action. AlienBreed2Assault_ElectricityAmmo and items like health packs or frag grenades can be found throughout the levels either out in the open or by searching dead bodies. You’ll also find supply terminals dotted throughout each level from which you can also buy ammo, weapons and items. As there are only a few of these terminals on each level you have to be very careful not to die before you reached one. They are the only places where you can save your progress. This does lead to some fairly tense moments as you battle through waves of aliens to get to the save point. I did quite enjoy the sense of urgency and mild panic that these fixed saved points added to the overall gameplay. Tension is further heightened by the in-game music which bears more than a passing resemblance to the music from the Alien films. A very welcome addition to the game ;-)

You will get about 6 hours of gameplay out of the single player campaign which isn’t really that long to be honest. Obviously there is a lot more fun to be had with the 2 player co-op and the survivor modes both of which are great additions the the game. The survivor mode is really good as you are pitted against endless alien attacks and you have to last as long as possible. This is total alien carnage on a grand scale.


Alien Breed 2: Assault is a simple, well constructed shooter with a few problems (screen constantly shaking and incessant backtracking). It is the kind of game that you can play for an hour or so to kill some time. However, it is not a game you will come back to again and again as the gameplay just isn’t that complex or fulfilling. For the price, I’d recommend it as a great casual purchase and it’s a decent enough addition to the Alien Breed game series.

Alien Breed 2: Assault is out now on Xbox 360 (800 Microsoft Points – Xbox Live Arcade) and PC (£6.99 on Steam).

Update 9th Oct 2010: It just played Alien Breed 2: Assault with an Xbox 360 controller hooked up to my PC (using the Wireless Gaming Receiver For Windows (Xbox 360)). Unsurprisingly, given that the game is also on Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA), the keyboard controls map perfectly to the Xbox controller. In fact, I prefer playing this game using a joypad than the keyboard. I can just sit back, put my feet up and blast away at the aliens ;-)

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