Let's face it – while Disney or Spielberg might want you to think that aliens are cute, cuddly creatures like E.T. or Stitch, most aliens look like they'd slaughter you and every other human being on this planet without a single pause. Look at Aliens – widespread destruction. Predator – significant carnage of soldiers. Independence Day –apart from a computer virus that saved the day, the "Urf" (as Will Smith calls it) is almost doomed. Sensing the danger posed by these extra-terrestrial "visitors," Sigma Team recently released Alien Shooter – Revisited, an update to a 2003 action game that tasks you with eliminating as many of these creatures before they can escape and destroy the world. Fast paced and enjoyable, albeit limited by some technical aspects and missing features, Alien Shooter – Revisited is a fun blast from the alien killing past.
There really isn't much of a story that you need to be concerned with – in fact, with the exception of minor mission "summaries" next to an inventory screen, you don't really have much info to go on. However, the basic premise revolves around a mysterious underground laboratory that suddenly goes quiet to the rest of the outside world. You're a mercenary hired to enter the lab and track down scientists, but as soon as you arrive, you quickly discover how useless this is. Hordes of monsters have killed every worker within the lab and wander the halls. It's up to you to blast your way through every single creature, clearing out every one of the ten levels of the lab and making sure that you survive the onslaught of the creatures.
You'll face dozens of creatures attacking you at all times.
You select from one of eight characters, each of which have varying levels in four separate character stats – Health, Strength, Speed and Accuracy. From here, you're sent to an inventory screen (which you return to in-between each mission), where you can purchase new gear. At first, you're sent in with a basic pistol with unlimited bullets, as well as a flashlight and twenty bucks, which isn't enough to buy anything. However, with a decent aim on incoming monsters as well as some extra exploration of each level, you'll be able to buy extra weapons, armor or implants to supplement your character stats. Frequently, you'll earn just about enough cash to purchase the next powerful weapon and some upgrades, depending on what you choose, but there is a tradeoff – you can frequently find the same weapon within the next mission.
However, you'll find that purchasing a new firearm and ammo before each level is extremely useful simply based on the sheer numbers of creatures that you fight off. Revisited frequently tosses up to 100 monsters at a time at your character, forcing you to fend off large waves of creatures eager to rip you to pieces. The enemy selection isn't particularly impressive – there are a handful of beasts that break through walls, warp in from portals or suddenly appear in large numbers. There are a few levels of strength to these creatures, indicated by their coloring, which provides them with additional attacks or weapons. As you move deeper into the base, you'll find that they even start to utilize the weaponry of the lab to augment their strikes. What is more striking is the level of destruction that you will inflict on these beasts: you'll frequently splatter the floors and walls with the limbs and blood of these creatures, and on later levels will simply turn sections of the lab into a complete abattoir inches deep. The tenth and final mission, for example, eventually paints most of the stage red (or green, if you choose alien blood in the option menu).
This raises a number of issues. For one thing – there's no co-op, meaning that it's just you against these insane odds. On the Easy and even Medium difficulty levels, this can be a challenge for even the best action player. On Hard or Impossible, however, this is truly insane, particularly because the heightened damage resistance of these beasts coupled with the numbers of monsters will completely overwhelm you. Since extra lives are few and far between, your chances decrease significantly on these harder levels. What's more, since you don't receive the option to carry over any equipment or stats from previous games, this makes the later stages extremely difficult. On top of this, there are serious issues with the opacity of the walls, because you can easily be ambushed by the large numbers of creatures that will attack you. Since you have no idea what crawling around the next corner, you can frequently walk right into traps where you're quickly surrounded with your health and armor stripped away from you in mere seconds. Expect a lot of restarts thanks to this issue.
Despite all of these issues, however, the game still manages to be a lot of fun. When I was playing the game in the office, plenty of people stopped by my desk as I was suffering from an onslaught of monsters and the rush of fending off these things, coupled with the excitement of blasting them, caught everyone's attention. There's something cathartic in picking up a gun and blowing apart aliens, and for that reason alone, Revisited does its job of escapist amusement well.
The carnage of clearing a room will stay onscreen for the entire level.
Apart from the main campaign, you'll also be able to take on the Survive mode, which has two separate variations. Stand Firm will place you in a field and constantly throw wave after wave of beast at you until you eventually succumb to their attacks. You'll be able to pick up new weapons by killing "bosses" at the end of each wave, which you'll need, because the numbers will constantly increase until you're drowning in aliens. The other variation is called Gun Stand, and puts you in charge of a rotating gun turret behind secured walls that you can use to blast creatures apart. In-between each wave, you can choose to augment the strength of the turret in one of four ways, like additional soldiers or rockets. Based on how many creatures you destroy and how long you survive within this mode, your score will be added to the Hall of Fame, which is nice for own merits, but you're not really going to have the chance to share this with anyone, which makes the feature somewhat useless.
The top down isometric presentation of Revisited is engaging because it's surprisingly packed with a number of objects within every environment. The details of the game aren't particularly striking, especially since you only are presented with two resolutions to choose from: 1024x768 and 800x600. While you can select high details, there aren't many things that you can do to improve the visuals of the game. However, you will have the ability to smash or destroy tons of items within the environment – crates, explosive barrels, walls and other objects can be destroyed to find items or injure the monsters you face. While the animation is somewhat still, the explosions and the constant gibs that go flying in the midst of battle is truly impressive, and seeing walls get covered by the blood and limbs of the fallen enemies is fun. Musically, there's a somewhat driving rock beat that repeats over and over again, which is pretty bland. However, the sound effects for weapons is excellent, particularly when you hear shell casings bounce across the floor or the different sounds of each weapon being fired in battle.
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