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Alien Massacre

For: Mobile

Run, turn around, and gun

Product: Alien Massacre | Developer: Inlogic Software | Publisher: Inlogic Software | Format: Mobile | Genre: Shooter | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | File size: 761Kb | Reviewed on: K800i other handsets | Version: Europe
Alien Massacre Mobile, thumbnail 1
I’d have thought space marines would have figured out that a lonely distress call is bad news by now.

Unless they stopped making sci-fi films between today’s date and 2382, the year in which Alien Massacre is set, it seems rather odd that the armoured protagonist is so surprised by the presence of creepy extraterrestrial life forms.

This contradictory nature unfortunately carries over to the gameplay of Alien Massacre, which is fast, furious, and entertaining, yet extremely frustrating at the same time.

In the pipe, 5-5-5

The action takes place in an overrun laboratory, with your marine trying to discover the reason why a distress call that was sent out 12 years in the past has only just made it to command.

While the plot isn’t going to win any awards for scriptwriting, it does make a pleasant change from the usual shooters that just dump your man in the epicentre of disaster and tell you to slaughter everything for no real reason.

Shooting the denizens of the lab, which vary between small bug-like creatures to massive rows of teeth-on-legs, is performed via the ‘5’ key. Usefully, this can be held down, so exhausted thumbs can catch a breather.

And they will be exhausted after a few levels due to an aiming system that forces you to fire in the direction in which you’re moving.

While this is fine on certain gaming systems, it’s awkward and tiring on a keypad and makes an already tough game that little bit tougher. A slight auto-aim or a system like that seen in Zombie Infection would have been far preferable.

Substantial dollar value attached

Another aspect that doesn’t help the difficulty is the obscene prices for buying new weapons.

When you inevitably die from the rarity of health drops and difficulty in aiming, the game asks whether you want to keep going with the weapons you have, minus all your points and, most importantly, money.

The problem is that killing standard monsters earns 80 credits and the first unlockable weapon costs 8000. I did manage to gather 7,600 in one heart-breaking game, but only because I skipped upgrading my starting weapon for a good eight to nine levels.

Tracker’s off the scale

These crazy design choices are made worse by the fact that the rest of Alien Massacre is exemplary.

The graphics and animation are excellent, with special praise reserved for the weapon effects that appear to sizzle into the scenery (and the aliens themselves). Even the sound is decent – the weapons sounding satisfyingly meaty to fire.

There’s no issue with game length, either, with the long Campaign and Survival modes both coming in three difficulty levels, calling out for passing games marines to respond to it’s beacon.

But if you do respond to Alien Massacre’s distress call, don’t be surprised by some of its less than extra-exceptional features. 
Alien Massacre
Reviewer photo
Will Wilson | 30 July 2010
Hampered by restrictive controls and extremely high upgrade prices, Alien Massacre ends up being merely a good shooter, when it should have been great
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