The Aliens franchise has always been one of my favorites and while there have been many attempts at an Aliens game there has been little success outside of the Aliens Versus Predator series. Aliens Infestation brings in an old school format with some new flair and really shows its teeth as you play this side scrolling platformer fighting the iconic monsters. Aliens Infestation starts you out with four marines as you maneuver through Castlevania and Metroid style maps. The game starts out searching for Ripley’s lost crew. You visit a couple iconic moments from the movie and then spend the rest of the game on board the ship from Aliens which has become infested with the Xenomorphs we all know and love.
The game plays out as your squad of marines takes orders from an offsite commander telling you that you need to eliminate the aliens at all costs and that’s exactly what you intend to do. The game is pretty simple in concept. You maneuver around the ship and shoot aliens and androids. There are obstacles all over and you have to retrieve new equipment to get past them. You may find yourself using a wrench to turn off some steam pipes or blowing away debris with explosives.
The story isn’t really fleshed out. It’s a pretty simple go here and do that formula with aliens to shoot along the way. What really makes the game interesting is the character mechanics. One thing that has always made an Aliens game hard to pull off is the fact that you’re characters always seem too unstoppable because by the end of the game they have gone through way too much for anyone to have survived. Aliens: Infestation fixes that. In this game when one of your characters die they stay dead forever. The only way to get your player back is to find one of the many marines hiding around the game, and if you find one they will take the missing spot on your party. This really makes the game feel more realistic and adds to the tension of the situation, making you a more cautious player. The game is full of Aliens fan service by allowing you to drive a loader and ride in an APC. Any fan of the series will get what they want from this game.
The game is a straight up 2D side scrolling shooter from beginning to end. You control your marine with the face buttons and the touch pad is used to access your map and equipment. Because of the touch pad the controls can feel a little too spread out at times and using the map could have been made simpler. As you play through the game you gain access to new tools and equipment that will help you maneuver through the ship. You will often find yourself coming to an area you can’t get through so you will have to wait until you find the equipment and come back later. Save points are handled as being little rooms with computers and ammo caches so you can go to the computer and save your game and then reload or switch out your weapons as you only carry one gun and one pistol at a time. There are different types of enemies but mostly you encounter the normal aliens. There are the smaller face huggers that will grab onto you and later in the game you face off against gorilla type aliens and then there is the famous Queen.
As mentioned before when one of your characters dies he is gone forever. As you play through the game you will come across marines just hanging out in a room and if you are missing any marines these characters will join your squad so you can have more players. What’s impressive is that all of these marines in the game have their own personalities and will actually speak to the commander differently than the others would. There is a sequence in the game where you do ride in a vehicle and use the touchpad to fire but mostly all of the combat is done with the face buttons. The best part of this game is just how they have set up and presented the entire project and the sense of urgency they create with the fact that your characters remain dead. This is definitely the company I want handling the Aliens franchise.
Aliens Infestation looks phenomenal. It is one of the best side scrollers I have ever seen and looks amazing on the DS. Everything in the game has some of the most detailed animations and everything looks fluid as you play. You get a great sense of movement from the characters despite having an almost cartoonish art style. All of the aliens look great and are easily recognizable from the movies. Some of the environments are from the movies and are done justice but overall the game has original environments that mostly look pretty great but there are some scenes in ventilation shafts and the backgrounds seem a little bland.
I can easily say that Aliens Infestation is the best game I have ever played on a DS. This game totally justifies that entire handheld’s existence in my eyes. Shooting aliens in 2D has never been more satisfying. The Aliens franchise has always been one I have held close and this has been one of the best representations of the series in video game form. There is so much fan service that this is a must play for anyone who has ever had any love Aliens. Not only is this the ultimate fan game but average players should have no problem picking up this game and having a lot of fun with it. I found it almost impossible to put it down as I could never get enough of shooting aliens through tight corridors and listening to the iconic sound effects of the pulse rifle.
Aliens Infestation, while it may be a late entry into the DS library is one of the best games to ever grace the system. While it may seem like a title to get fans ready for next year’s Colonial Marines, this game is no slouch. Infestation is some of the most fun you can have on a Nintendo DS. If you are looking for some great 2D action Aliens Infestation is definitely right up your alley.