There are certain games that don’t just put companies on the map in terms of people knowing their existence, but they manage to cement a reputation that stretches far and wide for years. This was Team 17’s Mario Bros or Sonic, in that once people saw it and played the game, they knew Martyn Brown and his talented bunch of coders could contend with the big boys.
The best way to think of this is a mixture of Alien and Gauntlet, with a more intense atmosphere and a rather starved ammunition supply. Music didn’t come into it, as a well inserted hum was audible throughout to provide some extra atmosphere as you attempted to make your way through the many levels of the alien invaded craft you set foot onto.
Going back to Alien Breed is a bit strange. As a kid you thought the aliens sounded nasty and menacing, but now they sound like they’ve all got a bad cough, but that’s just being picky. This game provided a two player experience and it was solid enough, but add to that the rock hard difficulty level and more aliens than to know what to do with and you had something that could sap the time away just trying to complete.
Thankfully the series has been resurrected on the current consoles with the occasional nod to the original, the Intex systems interface being a nice example. You never won extra lives in Alien Breed, they had to be earned by collecting credits to spend at the computer terminals and this brought its own strategy, besides which aliens would live in favour of keeping bullets and getting out of dodge. It’s nice to see the franchise move on, but it’s with the original (and its best use of the Star Trek door FX outside of the TV series) that my heart lies. Still as solid, still as enjoyable and still needing first aid.