The sci-fi shooter Alien Rage developed and published by CI Games is here and racking up points without worry. The tongue-in-cheek space adventure follows a familiar plot of where aliens and humans can’t get along. What is the dispute over this time? Limitless energy, of course… a whole space rock’s worth to be precise. While not breaking any new grounds plot-wise for the sci-fi shooter genre, Alien Rage does boast some very beautiful graphics and sound choices, mixed with good old fashion witty banter to enhance the alien massacre.
The story is nothing new but it serves as a great set-up for the gameplay and missions. Alien Rage is definitely aware of itself and this shows up in the plot and dialogue as the protagonist Jack (a pseudo space-marine) slings one-liners with his AI assistant (who watches the action via Jack’s online video system of course). Ultimately Jack’s mission boils down to destroying the Volus (alien race) mining operation and figuring out why they betrayed humanity in the first place. While most of the plot is discussed via the player character and companions, a good deal of it is found in recordings scattered throughout the levels. While a good incentive for level exploration, it proves counter-intuitive to the “keep moving and shooting” format and, as with any game that uses recordings to give out plot (ex: Bioshock), a lot can get lost if the player isn’t a talented finder.
Nothing is more rewarding then being given points for a job well done, and Alien Rage has that in spades. Every single kill has a point reward and this is effected by a variety of variables. The more skill involved, or spectacular, the more points for the kill. Headshots warrant more than body shots, explosive kills warrant more than both, and chain combos will get you even more. To top it all off, the points will ultimately yield rewards in player character perks. There are a few tiers of perks, each unlocked as you earn more points and then per tier the player must pick one skill to let Jack have. Things such as more ammo, or less stun time are available amongst a variety of other little treats to help stomp out the Volus menace. Alien Rage uses this point system in conjunction with its fast-paced shooter action to add a great deal of excitement to a play through. Instead of simply walking down a hall and shooting aliens, the points are popping up as you’re attempting to use explosive environment pieces to chain chills, and the trickiest part is, these aliens are fast, really, really fast. The Volus also come in a variety of delicious flavors of death as some use cloaking and melee attacks while others prefer long range sniping or even firing grenades. However let it be known that the player has some nasty ways to fight back, including their own array of human and alien tech. The Volus “machine-gun” has some great accuracy as well as fire rate for precise and quick kills, or if you just want to nuts then allow the mini-gun to be your friend as you invoke the spirit of Archer and rampage.
Alien Rage is beautiful. The graphics all stand out, the aliens are diverse enough to be distinguished and nothing looks more spectacular than blowing up an entire arena with a few well-placed shots to see the clear and crisp combo tally up and the associated “combo” word deliver the final verdict of your massacre. All of the effects look excellent and its very easy to quickly discover where you are being hit from. Ample lighting also gives a clear image of the battlefield as well as potential hiding spots for you and the enemy. The only real complaint is that the color palette doesn’t vary too much which can lead to some “have I been here?” moments as well as blending of enemy and background. As far as sound goes, it’s nice. Great sound effects help you distinguish the type of shot being fired and where they are being fired from. The ambient music of the game provides a nice solid “I’m killing aliens in space” vibe and does well to not distract from the action. Clear and crisp voice acting will allow easily distinguished dialogue and allow the player to quickly identify who is speaking.
If killing aliens is your thing then Alien Rage delivers fully on that promise. It serves as a great start for any gamer who has never tried a shooter or sci-fi, albeit some areas can get a little challenging. This game serves up a fair balance of mindless violence and reward for more skillful kills help to allow multiple play styles to enjoy and flourish within the levels. To top it all off, Alien Rage is simply beautiful. Getting lost in the surroundings and graphical “WOW” of the game itself is something easily done and makes for a more rich and rewarding play through all around. Sound compliments the game and does well to not distract, and even the plot (while nothing new) serves as a great set of rails for the shoot um’ up train. Alien Rage is well worth the price for a fully fleshed out alien beat-down.