There aren’t many previews out there where you’ll find the writer to say what I’m about to say, but after you’re done reading this, you just might agree. But to be outwardly honest, any shooting fan who likes...well...shooting, should just buy Alien Shooter: Vengeance. While I will do my best to convince you to be interested in this game, my best advice is still to simply buy Alien Shooter: Vengeance – once the full version is released. The game, I must add, is truthfully one of the best isometric shooter games of all time, period.

Old-school Lock And Load

If you’ve never heard of Alien Shooter, that’s all right. It’s a popular independent title, and it’s about to become a popular mainstream title. Sigma-Team has released several other games similar to the Alien Shooter franchise, but the isometric extraterrestrial, Alien Shooter, is still the best that the development team has to offer. In the original you were a mercenary sent in to investigate a mishap at a research science facility. Everything turns sour for the protagonist when alien hordes breech the facility and it’s a fight for survival as players would have to defend themselves or perish.

What made the game so fun was the fact that it was intense with immense vigor. Every turn, every corner, corridor, hallway and tunnel lead players into a death-trap of innumerable enemy forces. The original Alien Shooter offered plenty of firearms and upgradable skills; it borderlined on an RPG but was still too linear and non-character oriented to make a successful cross-over. Nevertheless, Sigma-Team had set themselves up to make a grandiose step in the absolute right direction with their latest installment of the series, Alien Shooter: Vengeance.

Is That A Zombified Alien Hell-Spawn I Smell?

I’m hard-pressed to try not to compare Sigma’s newest Alien Shooter to Doom 3, but their synonymity is just too strong. Heck, I’m going to go on and type it; if Doom 3 was a third-person 3/4 view shooter on crack, meth, and speed, it would be Alien Shooter: Vengeance. The game is just that fast-paced, intense and gory. The animations are extremely sleek, and the game has a really, really dark look to it. With the graphics turned on high it pretty much looks like a isometric view of Doom 3. From the lighting to the blood-smearing, the game has a solid atmospheric chill. And unlike the first game and the add-ons, Alien Shooter: Vengeance is almost completely half-and-half between an RPG and an action-shooter.

Sigma has gone for a complete over-haul for this game when it comes to character classes, weapons and upgrades. Firstly, players will choose their gender, and a character or face. And then they’ll choose their starting stats, and then it’s off to the mission. Now the really cool part about the game is that players will level-up while fighting hundreds of aliens at once. In the level-up screen more stats can be administered to certain weapon classes and stats, etc. This coincides with a new feature in the Alien Shooter series, as players will be able to walk up to in-game electronic vendors scattered throughout the stages and purchase new equipment and items.

While at the vendor there’s a mammoth selection of weapons select from. There’s so many in fact, that they’re broken down into categories. This goes back to the player’s skill proficiencies and weapon affinity; the category of weapons include pistols, sub-machine guns, shotguns, assault rifles, and heavy. In each category there’s a page full of guns for players to select from, and just about each one has a distinctive look, feel and sound in the game. Reload time also plays a factor in choosing a weapon, as well as how good it is when dual-wielding.

Big Wheels Turn Aliens Into Fodder

If you think the weapon features are cool, this game doesn’t stop there. In the spirit of good ole’ classic drive-bys and run-overs, Alien Shooter: Vengeance allows players to stock up inside of a number of different vehicles. Each vehicle has different attributes and weapons to utilize, and they’re even better when multiple players get in and tear the house down. That’s right, in addition to a massive selection of weapons and vehicles, Alien Shooter is also a multiplayer game over LAN. The exact number of players seem to vary, but it appears the coop might come down to about four-players. Although, an eight-player option would be a dream come true.

But even if you’re tackling the single-player campaign alone, the mission and story orientation is absolutely top-notch. The voice-acting is definitely doable and the NPCs react and behave accordingly. As a mercenary, sometimes you’ll be required to escort or protect certain people in certain levels, and working with the military definitely has its benefits in Alien Shooter: Vengeance. Although, just because you have help from a squad of NPCs doesn’t mean Alien Shooter is a piece of cake. This is still one of hardest shooting games ever designed, simply because there are so many aliens flooding the screen at once: they come from the floors, the walls, from out of debris...they come from everywhere. And the aliens are complimented via an amazing soundtrack (no less) and high-quality sounds.

Even describing this game I just can’t seem to do it the justice it deserves. From the snazzy visuals to the fluent controls and the liquid smooth gameplay, everything is top-notch from what I’ve played. If the demo(s) were as good as they were, I can’t wait to see what Sigma-Team has in store with the final version. Carrying the very appropriate ‘M’ for Mature, and being published by CDV, Alien Shooter: Vengeance is due out sometime in early 2007. Whether it will still carry its “casual” gamer price is a whole other story, but stay tuned as we keep you up to date with news and info on all the latest games. You can also visit the Alien Shooter Website for a new trailer and screenshots.

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