The lights are on
I have a question; Have you been waiting for a good Aliens game or a good 2D Metroid game? How about both? If so, it's your lucky day - That's just what Aliens Infestation is. It adopts the Metroid formula, dropping you into an area that you gain more access to as you find new weapons and items. There are also countless service ducts that can be destroyed with explosives and walked into, allowing you to find ammo, health, or even upgrade your weapon. It does the whole Metroid aspect well, but the level design is very horizontal so late game back tracking gets tedious.
Game over man, game over!
The life system is brilliant. Instead of having lives, you have a squad of marines. They each have their own unique personalities, idle animations, and dialogue, and when they die they're gone for good. It makes you get attached to the characters despite their lack of depth, and it makes everything much more tense when you're low on health. If a marine dies, you can find others somewhere.
You'll fight about seven types of enemies on LV-426 and the inside (and outside) of the USS Sulaco, including Xenomorphs, ape-xenomorph hybrids, human soldiers armed with guns, and combat androids. There are also five unique boss fights, one of which is technically a repeated boss but is fought in a very, very different manner. These would often leave my squad barely intact, and the only one I beat without losing any soldiers was the first.
Wait, I fight the repeated boss in that? All is forgiven.
You get a good array of weaponry over the course of Aliens Infestation. By the end, your primary weapons will be your rocket launcher equipped assault rifle, the nearly useless shotgun, a flamethrower, and a smart gun. The smart gun is the most powerful, but the flamethrower retains value because it's necessary to access some areas. The assault rifle itself is outclassed by the smart gun, and it's very limited supply of rockets isn't enough to make it worth using. If you could increase your missile supply somehow, then it would have some use but you can't, so it's irrelevant once you get the smart gun.There's also have a secondary weapon, a pistol with unlimited ammo. You also get grenades and C8 charges, which can be placed and detonated to obliterate just about anything short of a boss. A useful noncombat item you have are the flares, they can be placed to mark a spot on your map. If you come across an inaccessible area, it's a good idea to place one there to remind yourself. Make sure to place one when you see the wrench beneath the crate, and you'll save yourself a lot of time later.
One of the ten commandments is "Thou must make a "game over man" reference in any Aliens related review". I think it's the 7th.
You move with the D-Pad, sprint with R, stay put and aim with L, and use the A/B/X/Y buttons for shooting, jumping/rolling, using whatever secondary weapon you have equipped, and opening doors. Touch screen implementation is good. The touch screen can be used for either general information (ammo counts, names and portraits of marines, etc.) and switching weapons, or the map and motion sensor. You can switch between the two, and you'll likely use the second most of the time. Looking back and forth from the motion sensor and top screen helps the atmosphere, because you're worried about whats happening on the one you're not looking at. It's similar to what Aliens Colonial Marines on the Wii U was supposed to do, before we all found out Randy Pitchford was lying about everything.Aliens Infestation is fun while it lasts, which unfortunately isn't very long. I'd say it took three, four hours at the most for me to beat it, and there isn't much reason to replay it. You could use different marines to see what they say in any given situation, but that's about it. At least the credits have this song in them.
Pretty good review of an excellent game.
Though, I wouldn't say Pitchford was just lying about Colonial Marines. I think there were a lot of high hopes and good plans for that game that, ultimately when passed to another developer for a time, got lost in the shuffle. And then they were stuck with a mess they couldn't clean up.
This, however, is a fantastic game and another one of those gems that makes the DS such a strong platform--and while developed largely by WayForward (a great company), was still co-developed with Gearbox.