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pace is a fairly hefty place. Big enough, indeed, to generate an endless supply of interesting, original games. Not in Blowout's case. The hackneyed plot (which you will quickly lose interest in) involves a gruff-voiced Marine tasked with investigating a deserted spaceship and terminating any rogue 'Xenomorphs' - using that exact terminology. Aliens, anyone? Hell, your ship in the opening cutscene even looks just like the dropship in Cameron's classic. It's a shame then, that the developer didn't borrow the stylish presentation from the film as well. Flat textures and bland, repetitive scenery? No, thanks.


As if looking like a PSone game wasn't bad enough, playing like one is an even worse crime in this day and age. Gameplay is merely a case of traipsing through endless labyrinthine corridors, moving between levels with the aid of elevators and your trusty jetpack, and blasting enemies. Ah yes, the enemies. Like crazed rejects from A Bug's Life, these overgrown insects swoop and snarl at you, hardly instilling the fear of God. Your response isn't much better, with lacklustre weaponry that includes a flamethrower with all the conviction of a wet fart. Your machine-gun overheats after a short time, and we keep expecting Cpl Hicks to pipe up with "short, controlled bursts", such are the Alien parallels.

There are several different guns to grapple with, though the fact you have to be completely stationary to switch weapons is a major annoyance, particularly during a firefight. Aiming is a stilted and awkward experience and, after yet another tedious boss battle, the repetitive gameplay does a better job than Temazepan at sending players to sleep.

It was with a fair amount of trepidation that we opened Blowout, and tragically, every fear we had was well and truly confirmed. 2D side-scrolling shooters don't really have much place at home on Xbox. Those such as Blowout should be cast out of the Xbox residence like a shamed family junkie and take refuge in the last-gen console crack house where they well and truly belong.

The verdict

A budget title it may be, but 20 can buy a lot more entertainment than this laborious shooter.

Kaos Kontrol
Shoot 'em Up