REVIEW: Alien OverKILL

Alien OverKILL (80 MSP, and yes, I’ll capitalize the latter half of the game’s name once as the developer does, but I refuse to accentuate it unnecessarily from this point on) is a first-person shooter in the style of an early Doom or Wolfenstein, replete with the same-y corridors and heavily-fogged environs that characterized the genre at its birth.

Much like those games, the story is relegated to a few lines of inconsequential text. All you need to know is that something somewhere went wrong, aliens have overrun everything, and you need to right it with the business end of your gun. Stages are open and free to explore, but there is no exit or finish line. Instead, you’re instructed to hunt down a set number of aliens roaming the claustrophobic halls of a space station, and clear the infestation level by level.

Disembodied female screams and ubiquitous electronic paneling give it that familiar early-90s, low-rent sci-fi horror feel, which is sometimes a nostalgic bonus. Here, it serves only to visually dull the senses, as each corridor and level blends into the next. Combined with the fogging / already dark levels, this makes backtracking to find stragglers (your Alien-esque radar charts nearby enemy movement) or sort out where you’ve been more frustrating than need be.

The gunplay too, is competent, if uninspired. The old standby rifle and shotgun feel solid enough, and aiming is responsive. Really though, you could swap either out without noticing a change in effectiveness, regardless of range. Not that you should get too close, as it’s silently hazardous to your health. There are damage indicators, but they’re subtle (as are the enemy attack animations), making it difficult to know when you’re being drained of life. This is partially offset by health pickups and an unlimited number of continues that don’t reset progress or otherwise harm you, but the annoyance is enough to mention.

Alien OverKILL - Screen

For extras there’s Gestation mode, which carries over the pea-soup fog and so-so combat from the campaign, that features respawning enemies and a running clock that adds time with each alien destroyed. At best it’s a quick one-off you’re not likely to revisit. And while it’s evident in the story levels, here you’ll notice the framerate dip at times when too much is happening onscreen.

These little marks against it all add up, which is unfortunate given the rather excellent FPS controls and handling. With a more focused design and gameplay that feels less like a glorified shooting gallery, it could have been much better. Purists may love it, but as is, Alien Overkill makes for one boring bug hunt.

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35 thoughts on “REVIEW: Alien OverKILL”

    1. Thanks Saansilt. I think it feels a lot better now with the suggestions from you guys here.
      Also you have inspired us to try our first Xbox Live game, after weeks of learning we are underway with out new Multiplayer game. A 3D submarine stalk and destroy online game.

    2. A) Awesome Music
      What is the track’s name?
      B) Looks interesting.
      C) I reall like this game(AO) because it kinda captures the whole 90’s sci fi athmosphere. One man on a ship alone and surrounded by terrifyingly hostile aliens. Its neat. Real neat.

    3. I agree. Looks like an interesting concept, especially for XBLIG. Once it’s further along in development, and you have another trailer and / or screenshots, I can run a preview for it.

    4. Thanks Tim, will let you guys know about that.

      Now is a good time for any suggestions that anyone would love to see in-game? Can`t promise anything tho, but open to ideas!!

      Thanks
      Steve
      RetroCoders

    5. Okay.
      Maybe you guys should have:
      A jaggy sea floor, with caves and rocks and even sunken ships.
      A ship attack mode where you have to take out as many ships as possible while avoiding depth charges and torpedos.
      That could be cool for multiplayer and single player.
      A “Hardcore” mode where you can only see via sub side camera, periscope, and have to rely on sonar.
      Sub customization, just a liitle of that.
      Using sonar as the in game radar, complete with sweeps and the authentic “ping, whoosh, ping” sound.
      Sea monsters as easter eggs.
      Lastly: NEXT GEN FISH AI!
      Thats all I got for now.

    1. Never lose sleep over multiplayer… 🙂

      Local multiplayer works for some (like Saansilt), but not for others (me), though if you do figure out a way to make it all come together with as little fuss as possible, it’s worth it. If you do plan on (or already have) a PC port, it makes sense to expand it.

    2. Update to Alien OverKILL in the pipeline of Peer Review..
      Added Damage Feedback to Player.
      Reduced damage area on player.
      Increased Alien speed by 25%
      Increased Alien Hit points by 100% in campaign mode.
      Added Invert Y control option.
      Removed Random woman scream.
      Reduced File size by 0.2MB.

    1. Heres thing I noticed.
      Aliens get hung up on doors, if the doors opened for them it would be better.
      There is very minimal feedback for damage, maybe add a grunt like “ow” or “ah”. And a bit of a flash.
      The aliens need an attack animation, or at least a vastly more exaggerated one.
      Like I said below, its fun, just fix these issuses and You’ve got a winner.
      Also add a normal infinite wave mode please.
      And couch co op.

    2. Thanks for your thoughts. If I do an update then I will do what I can to fix those issues. Co-Op would be abit hard to add to the engine at this stage tho!!! hehe

    3. I can see how some of the other ideas would be hard to implement, or not worth the time, though I do second the notion that you add some kind of increased indicator of when you’re being attacked. As is, it’s barely distinguishable.

      As for the game itself, it wasn’t my cup of tea. Too bland to be fun, though I am just a single opinion. I do have to congratulate you on the controls again, as they are truly great. Best of luck with the game going forward!

    4. @Saanslit and everyone else, You`ll be glad to hear that we are hard at work on our first Xbox Live / Co-op multiplayer game. Gonna be a 2D overhead for now to keep things simple. But coding the routines to allow for a 3D Multiplayer game after that 😉

    5. Very cool, and good to hear! Once you get near release, I’ll be more than happy to run a preview article with any trailer / screenshots you have.

    6. @Tim, great Tim. Will be in touch in many months time I imagine 😉 Alien OverKILL took us 18months, but we hope to Smash that time down with this next game hehe

    1. It actualy catches the aliens vibe extremely well for me. I was having fun, being all tense and wander alone with only the motion tracker to rely on.

  1. After reading this, playing the game has been removed far from thought. Indie games have been receiving deeper wound in later days. I will save my coin for better purposes, to meet Blubbergut in the Arena. My soul screams for Blood, and my rage screams for Bacon, only that can ease the pain caused by recent games.

    1. Yes, but as the saying goes “Big boobs surpass talents”. As long as boobs are around, XBLIG will keeo up living. Also, Vintage Hero looks fun. Im not much into Megaman, but I enjoyed 9 and 10. I will give the demo a try. I was able to download the Arcade games at last. Also got Scott Pilgrim, that game is very fun in my opinion.

    2. Boobs are fine. Boobs are good. Wrap them around a decent game in a way that makes sense, or is at the least not -the- focal point of the game, and I won’t say a peep. It sells a product, no doubt, so use it without relying on it entirely.

      Vintage Hero does look good. I’m the opposite. I played the earlier numbered games (1, 2, 3, etc.), but haven’t touched the latter part of the series. Hopefully I’ll get to a review soon, and hopefully it’s a positive one.

    3. “Boobs” and “peep” and “touched” in the same reply? That’s gold, Jerry! Gold! (any day to quote Banyan is a good one)

    1. Yeah, I think saying it was ‘subtle’ is generous. Basically, if you get within scratching range of any enemy, keep an eye on that health bar.

      Maybe putting in a map would be too easy, spelling out alien locations, but at least an objective arrow, then, something that pops up if you wander around a few minutes without finding anything.

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