Alien Siege

Alien Siege is a clone of the 1980 Atari classic Missile Command, a game that predates my birth by almost a decade.  Yet, it’s one of those rare games from that time frame that I can actually enjoy today.  It’s frantic, scoring driven, and a lot of fun.  And that’s coming from someone who never has had the privilege of playing a proper game of it using the trackball.  I’ve played lots of clones of iconic arcade classics on XBLIG, and most of them are honestly not that good.  Alien Siege is one of those rare exceptions.  It’s a lot of fun!  No, really!  What, I can’t enjoy knock-offs of ancient games just because I’m me?  Hey, I can if they don’t suck.

My latest XBLIG review or the Republican reaction to the recent election?

So what can you do with a modern take on a classic game that appeals to fans of the original while appeasing people of my generation that don’t give two squirts about nostalgia?  Well, improving the formula is a good place to start.  Alien Siege does that, by giving you upgrade points you can spend to improve the launch speed of your rockets, the firing rate of them, or to improve your gun.  Instead of just intercepting missiles, you also have to fire on UFOs and meteors.  Missiles don’t work on them, so you have to split your time between intercepting enemy missiles with one button and fighting everything else with another button.  It sounds like it would be too much to juggle, and it is.  But in a good, old-time arcadey way.

There’s even a co-op mode, and I had enough fun playing it by myself that I actually wanted to play it as more than an afterthought.  Now sure, I could use Brian.  He’s 29 and thus the right age to have played something similar to this as a kid.  But Brian was one of those odd kids who never owned a console and played outside like a savage.  What I need to test this thing is someone old enough to have played the original but decrepit enough that they’ll barely remember it.

Ohhhhh Dadddddddyyyyyyy!!

Thirty Minutes Later

Ugh, so here’s where things like my killjoy label come from.  Daddy thought it was okay, but liked the original better because of the trackball.  Seems to be a common theme.  I showed this to the oldest, most GET OFF MY LAWNish gamer I know, and he responded with “no shoes, no shirt, no track ball, no service.”  Exact quote, which I think was a joke, but it also shows that games like this start with more ground to make up.  It seems almost unfair that something that’s mostly well made, like Alien Siege, could be the victim of its own legacy.  But it happens.  For the record, it controls better than any console version of Missile Command I’ve seen, but that won’t be enough to win over your average geriatric gamer.

And I’m not giving Alien Siege a free pass either.  No online scoreboards, bad sound design, mediocre graphics, and backgrounds that often unintentionally hide missiles.  Check out this screen:

Notice how the color of the missiles matches the color of the mountains.  Annoying?  Oh yea.  But that’s the only major complaint that have, because all the other stuff takes a backseat to gameplay.  Alien Siege is a lot of fun, and worth your time and money.  It’s a great example of taking something old and making it new and fresh again.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go hit Craigslist and find a vintage Missile Command coin-op for my Daddy.  It’s either that or super glue his mouth shut.

Alien Siege was developed by Lost World Creations

80 Microsoft Points want to know why aliens were firing ICBMs at cities.  They’re fucking ALIENS!!  Shouldn’t they have better technology?  I know they had to stick with the theme, but the guys at Lost World Creations should have come up with something else and I’ll shut up now in the making of this review. 

Alien Siege is Chick Approved and ranks pretty high on the Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard.  Perhaps the developers should cue up some Myra before checking it.

No trailer, no game footage.  Sorry 😦

Space Command

What do you get when you cross Space Invaders with Missile Command?  You get an Xbox Live Indie Game that I could play in about fifteen minutes so I could get a review up while I wait to finish EvilQuest and XBLA House Party title Warp.  Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Space Command.  It combines the enemies of Space Invaders with the city-defense firing mechanism of Missile Command.  So what does the offspring of these two iconic games look like?  Well, let’s just say that I think they might have been cousins.

Really, there isn’t much I can say about it.  The blast radius of your missiles doesn’t seem big enough and it disappears too fast.  And the whole point of Missile Command was that it had precision aiming via use of a trackball, something a joystick can’t hope to recreate.  Otherwise, it plays exactly like a mutant hybrid of Space Invaders and Missile Command would play like.  So if you ever wondered, now you have your answer.  As for me, I’m still longing to know what a game that mixes the rhythm and brawler genres would be like.  Sigh, we shall never know.

Space Command was developed by Jason Keiderling

80 Microsoft Points wouldn’t mind seeing a combination of Frogger and Pac-Man in the making of this review.

Video footage courtesy of Aaron the Splazer

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