In Amiga Games no-one can hear you scream...
Well that is if I am playing Alien Breed from Team 17.
Team 17 were known for producing quality games for the Amiga, and this one was no exception.
It had it all; superb gameplay, excellent graphics, top notch music, brilliant sound effects and a claustrophobic and terrifying atmosphere.
The game would go on to spawn several excellent sequels, but this is where the alien horror all began for us Amiga gamers...
The game was set within 'Intex Space Research Centre - Number 4' where you as a character named Johnson stepped into action to see why no contact could be established with the base.
In two player mode (which was brilliant fun) a character named Stone was also along for the ride.
Basically you had to negotiate your way through each level, killing lots of aliens, collecting money, keys and ammunition.
All of this led to the completion of a particular task allowing you access to the next level, but first let's talk about the games presentation...
The loading screen was simple yet effective.
Anyone familiar with the Alien movies knew what lay ahead - and once the game loaded and you got an earful of one of the greatest ever tunes composed for the Amiga you were into excitement overdrive.
The atmospheric and downright scary theme-tune to Alien Breed:
This quality continued with the game itself.
The background graphics were superb to look at with each level complete with huge spaceships, compact corridors, tiled floors and computer terminals. There were neat little signs around pointing out certain areas, fire doors, moving machinery and air ducts. All of these features made it seem as though you really were on a research station on some distant planet.
On top of this the character and alien sprites moved realistically and the in-game sound effects and speech were a pure joy.
"Player One Requires Ammo" still gives me the chills to this day.
There were lots of neat touches in this game that added to the overall class and polish, moving it from being a good game to great.
Dotted around the levels were Intex computer terminals which you could log onto. The way the developers created the screen menu and the soft female voice samples used which announced "Welcome to Intex systems" was a stroke of genius.
On deeper levels the screen would crackle and break up as you logged on which really added to the already creepy atmosphere.
You could use these terminals to view a map of the current level and also to purchase items such as extra ammunition and weapons.
Being able to upgrade your weapons added a lot to the game - it was fun blowing those aliens away with your new powerful flame-thrower.
Also as you progressed through the game different aliens would appear - and they would also begin to popup through the floor. Sneaky bast*rds!
Throughout the game there was also a steady background 'hum' which was almost heartbeat like, which again added to the overall opressive atmosphere.
I remember the first time I flicked the switch to escape from the second level and the same soft spoken 'Intex systems' voice announced to me that destruction was imminent as the whole screen darkened to a deep red colour and an ominous warning klaxon began to sound.
With only sixty seconds to haul ass to the escape elevator it was nerve jangling stuff. If you didn't make it there in time it was game over man, game over.
I have to say that two player mode was a real blast. You could really plan your way around with one player covering the other and doubling up on firepower in those heavily infested areas.
The only niggles I have with this gaming classic is the fact that you can only shoot in the direction you are facing and the re-spawning aliens can get a bit much some times.
Aside from this, as far as top down arcade games go this is a total classic. The one were it all began.
We recommend getting hold of the real Amiga hardware - but if not then download an Amiga emulator and download Alien Breed. Alternatively you could try and play it online.
Please see our other Amiga retro game reviews - all links are listed in alphabetical order. Cheers guys.
GENRE: Arcade Game
RELEASE DATE: 1991
RELEASED BY: Team 17
DEVELOPER(S): Rico Holmes, Stefan Boberg, Peter Tuleby, Andreas Tadic, Allister Brimble
PRICE: £24.99 (UK)
Classic Arcade Action - Play It In The Dark:
Are you interested in space games? Then you should have a look at Bigpoint's Battlestar Galactica or try some sim games or a fantasy game!
Classic Games, Arcade Games and Amiga Games