Thursday, 4 August 2011

Alien Breed 3D (Amiga)

Why is this marine yelling at us? You've got the gun mate, just shoot the bastard!

Well I can actually read the pre-mission text clearly, so it's a step up from half the the games I play. Not that I really want to read it.

Wow, the text lied. I can see the sky just fine! I can't see much of anything else though. Plus there's no music.

There were a few attempts to get a first person shooter to run on the Amiga in the wake of Doom, and this was one of the first to pull off full textured mapped graphics. Though to get the game running fast they've had to put it at half resolution and put a huge frame around it. The actual game resolution inside that window is 96x78, small enough to fit into a fraction of an original Game Boy screen.

Actual size

I open the first door and get a face full of aliens. They not the ones from the title screen, but they'll do.

It's a shame that I have to be standing up close to an enemy to even see them at this res. Any further back and they're just a collection of twinkly belligerent pixels. It makes figuring out where I'm being shot from a little tricky sometimes.

Oh right, of course. This was made in the mid 90s, so I'm gonna have to go hunting down keycards to proceed.

One good thing about old school first person shooters though, is that they always have a map. Except for this one. So I'm just going to have to remember where all the doors are.

Hey, it's a pool of transparent water. Duke Nukem 3D couldn't even manage to pull that off and that came out a year after this. On the other hand, DN3D has a jump button, and I'm a little hesitant to go near that water without one.

I collected the blue keycard, and suddenly hidden doors opened to reveal enemies laying in wait to ambush me!

And then the enemies just kind of rotated on the spot. So I shot them and moved on. Shame they don't actually drop anything like ammo or health.

Wow, when did I pick this up? I was getting worried for a second because I'd ran out of pulse rifle ammo, and the game apparently has no melee attack. But then I found this double barrel shotgun sitting in my pocket.

It would have been nice if they had used all that wasted screen space to show me something useful, like what weapons I have and how much ammo I have for them.

This is like the third time I've gotten stuck on these damn barrels coming through here. Time to see if these things are destructible.

Well, it turns out that they're actually explosive barrels, and I just lost half my health. It was worth it though... bloody barrels.

I don't know why, but I'm getting a tiny bit of a 'Doom' vibe from this level exit. And that switch on the left there.

I barely had any ammo left by the end of that. They're really stingy with the ammo pick ups.

Wow, it just dumps me back to the menu between levels. It wouldn't be so bad if the menu didn't look like ass.

That looks like a room on top of a room to me, Doom definitely can't do that. But then again Doom was two years old when this game was released.

I think I'll need to see what level other first person shooters were at by the end of 1995 to put this game in context.

Battle Frenzy (MegaDrive/Genesis)
Released in 1994, Battle Frenzy/Bloodshot was one of the most advanced first person shooters ever made for the Mega Drive. Though it didn't have much competition, there were only around four fps games ever released on the system.

The resolution of the screen is over twice as wide as Alien Breed 3D's tiny window, but it looks like Wolfenstein. Totally flat levels and no floor texture.

Doom (SNES)
No floor or ceiling textures either on the SNES port of Doom, but it's running in twice the resolution of Alien Breed 3D. And by running, I mean crawling.

It still looks way better though, to me anyway.

Killing Time (3DO)
Killing Time on the 3DO manages a much better resolution, but it's back to Wolfenstein style level design. Alien Breed 3D has this beat just by having stairs. And also by not being entirely crap.

Alien vs Predator (Atari Jaguar)
Alien vs Predator on the Atari Jaguar has the same problem. It can throw textures on walls well enough, but those walls are entirely flat and boxy. At least Killing Time has the occasional 45 degree wall to mix things up.

Alien Breed 3D has corridors that curve. A bit.

Dark Forces (DOS)
This is much better. The cartoony graphics look flat compared to Doom, but the engine is capable of similarly imaginative multi-level designs. Plus it can do a few things Doom doesn't do, like the occasional full 3D object, water, jumping and ducking.

Alien Breed 3D meets it halfway with water and ducking. It's not quite advanced enough for a jump key.

Alien Trilogy (PSX)
Oh, also by the end of 1995 the original PlayStation had been released, and was already doing stuff like this.

Okay fine, I'll get back to playing the boring Doom wannabe.

Whoa, now they're shamelessly ripping off Doom's Cacodemons. Though to be fair, Doom was ripping off the design of the Beholders from Dungeons and Dragons.

Actually these things look basically identical to a Beholder, so that's way more shameful than Doom.

Well they killed me. And then I somehow screwed up and had to play the game from the start again.

But it's fine, I'm back now. And this time I have a rocket launcher. Maybe I had a rocket launcher last time too, who knows?

Level 3: The sewers. I really hate sewer levels. I do like transparent water though.

Come on, it's right there... just go up the bloody step, the health kit is right there! My kingdom shotgun for a jump key... GAME OVER.

This game is basically Doom for Amiga owners it seems. It doesn't come close to comparing to the original, but at least it has some ambitions beyond simply copying it. But I have no ambitions to get any further in it. Next game.


  1. That was a really good mash-up. You should do a few of those with different years and genera. Then just have everything all nice and organized on a separate page.

    Hell I might go do that.

    1. Thanks man. I threw it in out of desperation as I had nothing else to say about the game, but hey I'm always eager to compare things to other things so I'll give your idea some thought.

  2. "Whoa, now they're shamelessly ripping off Doom's Cacodemons. Though to be fair, Doom was ripping off the design of the Beholders from Dungeons and Dragons."

    Cacodemon's design is basicly a severed head of Dungeons and Dragons monster called the "Astral Dreadnought" copied from one of the manual covers.

    1. Whoa, I can definitely see the resemblance there.


Semi-Random Game Box