Alien Incident was created as an entry level adventure game that both kids and parents could enjoy; GameTek did an outstanding job accomplishing their goal. The story is entertaining and interesting and while there is an air of horror about it, there's nothing in here that would scare anyone. The puzzles to be found in Alien Incident will entertain and, at times, stump the novice adventurer but experienced gamers will find them relatively easy. The graphics, albeit dark at times, are all well drawn and executed. The background music as well is great--there's an unnerving absence of sound effects, though. Add to this mixture well balanced gameplay and some great humor and you have a very entertaining kids game.
The graphics in Alien Incident are all very well done. Though the game runs in 320x200 VGA mode, AI utilizes some of the best use of the VGA palette that I've seen in any game. [Translated: the colors are pretty.] The introduction and end-movie sequences are gorgeous to look at. Character movement and animation are incredibly smooth and, thankfully, look natural. The only problem I had with the graphics is that they tended to be a little too dark--a gamma adjust would have been nice for those of us with dark monitors. It's nice to get the idea of a dark hallway, but it's even nicer when you know that there's a hallway there.
Music and sound for AI are pretty much in opposition. The background music is absolutely fantastic, luring you into this colorful world. Because the music is in S3M format, it will sound exactly the same on every machine, unlike MIDI. However, there is an ennerving lack of sound effects in the game. No sound of water splashing, doors creaking, or people talking. Though there is speech in the introduction, there is none within the game and (I know this is a mistake) there is no speech in the end-sequence. (Be sure that you have sub-titles turned on from the start to know what's happening in the end-sequence.)
In Alien Incident you play the game in the upper three-fourths of the screen and your inventory is in the lower quarter. The world that you traverse through is 2D backgrounds with 2D sprites moving around (just like most of the adventure games ever made). Movement is performed by left clicking with the mouse in the evironment, and your character moves there. Inventory is just as simple, left click to select an item and click on the object that you want to use it on.
Save games are simple and straight forward. The only reason I mention this is that there's an automatic quick-save everytime you walk into a room. So if (when) the game crashes, you don't lose the last hour's worth of game-play. You simply go back into the game and it recognizes that the computer crashed and takes you to the last place you visited. This is an extremely useful feature for any game. I would, however, prefer to play a game that doesn't crash. But, to be fair, the game only crashed on my 3 times the entire time I played the game. (And yes, I finished it.)
The puzzles in Alien Incident are the standard grab everything that isn't nailed down adventure game. Even thought there's no obvious reason to be carrying around a pumpkin, it will eventually become obvious. On the whole, the game's difficulty level is aimed directly at the initiate. Intermediate and advanced adventure gamers will find this game to be rather easy and will probably finish it in a night or two. But since Alien Incident was created for kids, it's just right.
The best part about Alien Incident has to be the comedy strewn throughout your adventure. Some of the jokes are targeted at kids and others at parents. It's funny to watch the alien high-commander bumbling with his subordinates. If the kids are clever (and follow Star Wars), they'll pick up on the number of references made to this classic Sci-fi movie. However, I doubt many of the kids will understand or appreciate the subtle humor where your character, Ben, talks about how it's nice to see "powerful" computers doing their thing. Turns out he's working with a Commodore 64 (a computer from the early 80's, kids.). I almost hurt myself when I came across that one. But regardless of whether you get the jokes or not, you'll enjoy the game all the same because it's fun.
Alien Incident is an excellent game for younger kids (8 years and older). The graphics are great looking and the music is excellent. The puzzles are logically arranged and can provide many hours of entertainment to the novice. The jokes are often humorous and entertaining. But most of all, this game is just plain fun.
-- Louis Stice
System requirements: 386 DX/25, 8MB Ram, 44 Meg HD, 2x Cd-Rom, MS-Dos 5.0 or higher, Sound Blaster or Compatible, 1MB Video card, Mouse
Recommended: 486/66, VLB Video card, SB16 sound card
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