Writing these game reviews over the past two years has been a very fun and educational experience for me. Not only have I learned more about the American gaming culture that I grew up in, but I’ve also learned about the gaming cultures others around the world have grown up in. I’ve learned that when I was a kid playing Mega Man, gamers in other parts of the world were playing Rock Man. When I was playing Samurai Showdown, others were playing Samurai Spirits. And when I was playing Doom, others were playing Alien Breed 3D.
Alien Breed 3D was developed by Team 17 and published by Ocean Software. It was released back in 1995 for the Amiga CD32. It was the first installment of the Alien Breed franchise to go with a 3D first person look. There are three earlier versions of Alien Breed that are played from a top down perspective like Smash TV. With such a radically different approach to the Alien Breed games, this title is often categorized separately from it’s predecessors. It did spawn a sequel, Alien Breed 3D II: Killing Grounds, and a third installment as well but development of that game was cancelled.
The Alien Breed titles were very popular and highly successful on the CD32 platform. It had top notch developers in Team 17 which, back in the day, produced what I believe to be the best games for the Amiga CD32. They turned out games like ATR: All Terrain Racing and Super Stardust which are must haves for the system. This system may not have the large and robust game catalog that other CD systems have but, what solid titles it does have, were mostly produced by Team 17.
You play as Captain J.T. Reynolds, a person trapped on a base on a remote planet that’s been overrun by “the breed.” The Breed is an alien race that’s apparently based on the aliens from the “Alien” movies. Captain Reynolds manages to find some supplies and weapons stashed in the base and that’s where the game begins. From that point on, you run and gun your way through the games 16 different levels.
Alien Breed 3D Game Play
Since this game is an “out and proud” Doom clone, Alien Breed doesn’t deviate much from the game play elements of Doom. You have to locate different colored keys that open doors, find secret passages, and ultimately find the exit to each level. However, in an effort to differentiate itself from Doom, this game gets a little carried away in certain areas which make it feel more like an exaggerated version of Doom.
There’s passage ways a plenty in this game. Actually, there’s so many lengthy and narrow passage ways in this game that it made me feel a little claustrophobic while I was playing it. Also, Doom was big on sticking a monster right behind a door when you would open it. This only gave you a second to react before the monster would land one cheap shot on you. Alien Breed does this too but instead of having one monster on the other side of a door, it has a trap door open behind you revealing a second one. So after you kill the monster in front of you, you spin in circles trying to figure out what’s shooting you until you spot the guy that’s taking shots at you from behind.
Also, Doom loved to power up your character quickly with tons of weapons, health, and ammo strewn about in each level. Alien Breed on the other hand makes you earn it. I found that power ups were sparse and the game would run your ass through the gauntlet before rewarding you with meager amounts of power ups. The game may fatten you up a bit with power ups right at the start but don’t get used to that because it doesn’t last long.
Even when I would find ammo, there was at least two enemies sitting right on top of it that I had to kill in order to collect it. To make matters worse, the gun you start with goes through ammo faster than shit through a goose so, by the time you actually find some ammo, you have such a small amount left in your gun that it can be difficult fighting off whatever is guarding it.
Now, I said that this game has tons of narrow passage ways which becomes a problem due to this games poor control. If you play this game on an Amiga CD32 without any of the Amiga Fast RAM expansion cards, this game will run slow and choppy. Think of Doom for the Super Nintendo but worse. The controls severely over steer and suffer from brutal lag. It’s like you’re controlling someone walking on ice.
The bad controls and slow and choppy graphics can make it near impossible to quickly identify and take out enemies. Add this to the fact that your gun eats up ammo quickly and this game becomes nearly impossible to play. It really takes some patience to get used to and once your eyes adjust to the overall look of the game, it slowly opens up it’s world to you.
This game looks exactly like the original Doom for PC with some minor tweaks to its appearance. It was kind of a mind fuck when I turned this game on because I thought I was looking at Doom but I wasn’t. It was like recognizing someone from a distance but when you got a closer look, you realize it wasn’t who you thought it was. The status and inventory menus that boarder the screen are similar in style to those found in Doom, they’re just presented a little differently.
This game is barely playable with minimum system requirements on the CD32. The textures and details in the levels are blocky and distorted and movement is ridiculously choppy. Adding an Amiga Fast RAM expansion card to your system greatly, and I mean greatly, improves the performance of this game. Actually, watching game play footage of this game using the RAM expansions was like watching a completely different game. If you can get the expansion cards for this system, DO IT!
Alien Breed 3D running with a custom Amiga AGA display card
When the game is running at peak performance, it looks pretty good for a console-based first person shooter. It’s colorful, there’s nice textures, and movement is nice and fluid. The controls appear to settle down a bit as well.
No complaints here. It has a classic first person shooter rock soundtrack complete with electric guitar riffs polished off with smooth synthesizer sounds that mid 90’s music was so obsessed with, think Enya. As for the game sounds, the only thing I can compare them to are the sounds found in Doom because their damn near identical. Basically, everything you’ve ever heard in Doom, you will hear in this game, no joke.
Collectibility – Sought After
Finding collectibility info on this game is difficult because it was released for a system that never made it to market in the States. So, for an American game collector, this would be a gem to add to your collection. Not only is it one of the better Doom clones out there, mainly because it’s pretty much a direct rip-off of it, but it’s also a game that has it’s own notoriety over-seas. It was produced by a well known developer and belongs to a respected game franchise that was established by the U.K. gaming community. If you’re American game collector with a CD32 in your collection, this is a must buy.
Average Value – $50 Complete in Box, Based on limited pricing from Ebay as of 2/13/13
Rarity – In the American gaming scene, very rare based on the fact it was never released in the States and it’s difficult to locate for sale online.
Happy Gaming and Happy Collecting!
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