Although WayForward are yet to put together a definitive, studio-defining hit, our eyes light up like radioactive orbs when a new game from them is announced.
Those retro-minded funsters manage to infuse the spirit of yester-year into even the most potentially dreary licensed game, and Aliens: Infestation is no exception. This is a cracking little action platformer that evokes the memory of titles such as Metroid, NES-era Ninja Turtles and even the old Mega Drive Aliens games
Metroid is the most obvious influence. All of Aliens: Infestation's worlds are Samus-pleasingly vast and expansive, and require the player to root around every last nook and cranny to hunt out items that will enable them to delve deeper into their winding catacombs.
Although the plot itself is as canonical as a Pringle shaped like a Xenomorph's head, Infestation draws heavily on lore from the Aliens 3 time period, with locations including the moon LV-246 and the supposedly abandoned spaceship USS Sulaco.
The Sulaco is a beast of a mothership - the map on the touch screen fails to do its size justice - connected together by a complex chain of elevators. Keycards grant access to new areas, but (wouldn't you just know it?) they've been scattered around the far reaches of the ship, forcing you to make long, dangerous diversions.
This wouldn't be such a problem if the Sulaco was as 'abandoned' as it claims to be. Alas, a brain-sucking Xenomorph lurks around each corner.
Fortunately, your squad of four is armed to the gills with shotguns, flamethrowers and grenades (which they can swap and change in the Metroid-esque save rooms). Even more fortunately, your crew are expendable. If one is captured, you can simply fill the void by recruiting one of the many replacements who are, for whatever reason, loitering around the ship. Be warned, though, hunting them out only leads to more diversions and more danger...
It's not a fast and frantic shooter like Metroid; instead it tries to play it scary, with aliens dropping from ceilings and eggs hatching into unimaginable horribleness when you approach. This gives the game its own identity, which it'll need to cling on to since 3DS early adopters will be getting the sublime Metroid Fusion for free around the same time.
DS owners, on the other hand, will find much to like - this lovingly crafted thriller will have your olden-time handheld hugging your face like some kind of alien that hugs faces.
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