It's becoming harder and harder for games to succeed in the first-person shooter genre. There's just so much competition and if you don't have tip-top production values, seamless gameplay and a good incentive to keep on plugging through, it's easy to get lost in the crowd. This, is unfortunately the fate that Alien Rage is destined to suffer from, as although it attempts to go down the OTT FPS route, it doesn't so much to make you sit up and take notice.
The game kicks off with an introduction sequence that attempts to explain the deep political justification as to why you're about to lay a huge beat down on an alien race. It doesn't do a very good job. The details are there, they just isn't engaging in the slightest. In fact, diving into the gameplay can't come fast enough. And you will dive in, head first, into a world of hurt.
Almost from the off, Alien Rage pulls no punches. Don't let the "no nonsense" feel, terrible one liners, huge guns and intense gore fool you, this game isn't for the feint of heart.
Although the opening mission eases you in gently, it doesn't take long before you're having to deal with swarms of enemies, most of which just teleport in and/or are cloaked. This all starts happening round about the second mission and by the time you get to the first boss, you'll be wondering what you've let yourself in for.
Now, there's nothing wrong with games being difficult, but Alien Rage just starts off feeling downright unfair. Taking the first boss as an example. On the default difficulty, not only is he hard to deal with on his own, but he also has minions that spawn and gets progressively harder as you go through the fight. Beating his sorry behind will grant you a significant sense of achievement - perhaps more so than most games do these days - but it's only out of sheer relief more than anything. So why is this bad? Because instead of commending your increased skill levels, you're more likely to be thanking your lucky stars and dreading what's still to come.
Outside of the difficulty, there isn't much else that allows Alien Rage to stand out. You play as a generic marine who looks like he's been pumped with a ridiculous amount of performance enhancing drugs. Thus, he wields big guns. However, none of these guns are all that impressive - nor are their secondary fire modes. There are some slight differences with the "default" weapons and those picked up from aliens, but not much will inspire you.
It's at this point that we should delve into the perk system, but it's all rather broken. You can change your perks at any time, and once you start to unlock them, they change things in quite dramatic fashion. At this point you've probably gathered that the game is frustratingly difficult. However, it's not a frustration that continues. No, as you go through the game things get easier. It's a rather odd turn of events, but as you upgrade your character, the enemies stay the same.
Alien Rage just doesn't have that much going for it, because so many different things are either bland or broken. It's clear that they were trying to target the game at a certain demographic, but it all seems so bad that you might wonder who would actually be interested in it.
Granted, scoring a headshot is rather satisfying, and blowing up a cloaked enemy with a shotgun just as they were about to pounce doesn't get old. However, hearing the announce booming things out with great aplomb does. This isn't Unreal Tournament, it's not needed.
The game's presentation on the whole, suffers. Characters look rather poor, the music is rather nondescript and the visuals just don't offer anything creative. The cutscenes are good for a few laughs, but there's so much testosterone flying around that it all gets rather embarrassing.
Once you finish the game, there isn't much you can either. There's a decent number of levels and they aren't all that short. However, the sheer lack of variety with the enemies will probably prevent anyone from wanting to play through them again - even if there is support for leaderboards thanks to the game's scoring system.
Alien Rage is a game that tries too hard and ends up failing as a result. There's very little about the experience that different from what's already out there and in many ways, it's often worse than what it's trying to emulate. You'd be best off leaving this game well alone.
|When you actually get through a level.|
|The first time you hear the headshot announcer.|
|Seeing the huge explosions.|
|Presentation is very bland.|
|When you keep hearing the announcer.|
|The rage you'll end up feeling.|