Xbox 360 Review: Alien Breed Trilogy

The trilogy on one disc, but is it value for money?

I had only previously played the first episode of Alien Breed, but always wanted to get around to playing the other 2. I got my chance last week when a review copy of the trilogy arrived on my doorstep. The shooter from Team 17 was well designed, although perhaps a bit basic in its design and I had hoped that the next episodes would improve things and luckily, that’s what they did.

The Alien Breed games focus on a pattern of going to a waypoint on a map, killing the aliens that get in your way and then going to another waypoint to either collect a key card or activate a switch. After a while, it all becomes routine and you can pretty much guess where the aliens are going to attack from, which is a shame as it becomes predictable…unlike games like Dead Space. But as far as XBLA games go, the Alien Breed trilogy is damn enjoyable.

The story follows Conrad, an engineer on the spaceship Leopold when it drops out of hyperspace and has a collision with a mysterious ghost ship. Alien creatures cross over from the ship and overwhelm the Leopold, devastating the crew. Conrad must take up arms against these invaders and fight to save his life and the ship. It’s pretty basic, but it does a good job nonetheless.

The later episodes included survival and multiplayer modes which mixed things up a bit, but the fun for all episodes were playing the campaign, collecting the data logs and wiping out as much alien scum as possible. Ammo is usually in high supplies, but there are times where you can run low and need to run to find some, even though your pistol has infinite ammo…it’s hardly the strongest weapon.

You can play each episode through co-op locally or online, but I found it more enjoyable to do solo. Although some achievements require you to play with others and some even drag the game out to the point you’ll be playing it over and over just for kills. There is a good challenge to be found with each game, especially trying to do it on the harder difficulties. The one problem that is still present with these XBLA collection games is that when you quit one episode, you go back to the Game Library in the dashboard and have to re-select the disc in the tray to choose an episode. This is a problem solved by tapping the Guide button and reselecting the game in the tray from the menu, but I find it silly that you have to do that. Visually, the games are average to look at…but the framerate is steady for the most part and the level design is decent. Sound effects and the soundtrack are a mixed bag.

The major problem with the Alien Breed Trilogy is the price. It’s far too expensive…you can pick up all 3 games through XBLA for 1600 Microsoft Points (roughly about £13.60 according to converter sites) but the game costs £20-£25, depending where you get it. So really, there’s no incentive for the customer to shell out extra money just for a disc version of the games. Shame really considering the price of the recent XBLA collection discs have matched or been close to their digital counterparts.

The Verdict

Alien Breed Trilogy is a good collection of games, but it’s sadly the wrong price for customers, especially those with Xbox Live available to them. It’s a shame about the price, because the games themselves are highly enjoyable and I would recommend them to anyone. So get them online if you can…