Alien Breed 3D

Title		Alien Breed 3D
Game Type	3D Action
Players		1 (2 in link-up mode)
Company 	Team 17
Compatibility	AGA
HD Installable	Yes
Submission	Angus Manwaring Profiled Reviewer

Alien Breed 3D is a first person perspective action game, (or Doom-clone)
where you'll spend most of your time dashing down corridors and shooting
at, or running away from, a host of aliens who want you dead, yesterday.

The game was one of the first and arguably the best games produced
by the Amiga backlash to the success of Doom on the PC. The Doom clone is
clearly not something the Amiga was originally designed to handle, with
it's ingenious bitplane system and it's hardware sprites unlike the PC's
byte per pixel sytem, but Andy Clitheroe proved that, within certain
limitations, the Amiga could compete in this area and deliver high quality
entertainment in a stunningly realistic 3D environment. Unlike Gloom,
Fears and even Doom, you see, Alien Breed 3D used a more ambitous system
that allowed "true" 3D, where you could walk directly above or under an
area you'd just explored, instead of being constrained to a 2D map, making
this impossible. In terms of gameplay and atmosphere this is a very big
plus for those of us that like to feel we're actually there.

The Alien Breed story started in 1992 with the first of Team 17's tribute
to the Aliens' movies played within a Gauntlet-style environment. I never
really bothered with the plot too much, but in AB3D, the first of the
series to go three dimensional, you are Captain J.T.Reynolds, trapped and
alone on your research base, Osiris Station, which has been overun by the
object of its research; "the Breed". The base is on a remote planet so
your only hope is to try and find a way off, before your air runs out.
Actually within the context of playing the game I don't think your air
comes into it, you simply have to make you way through each level, more or
less intact, until the end of the game; 16 levels, the box tells me, more
on the CD32 version.

On the subject of the CD32, arguably the best way of playing the game is
by making use of a CD32 joypad, unfortunately there is a problem: The
joypad code used within the game does not work with all Amiga 1200's. Now
despite much crrespondence between myself and Team 17, this was never
corrected, and the same bug exists in AB3D II: The Killing Grounds. But
never fear, I spoke to that gentleman and scholar Mr John Girvin, and he
produced a little utility called SetJoyPort (on Aminet) and running this
before playing the game fixes the bug. The real reason I like the joypad
is the convenience of using the right shoulder button to put you in to
strafe mode; so tactically essential for this sort of game. Thanks again,

In addition to the standard game you can play through the levels in 2
player link-up mode, either as enemies or cooperatively. This, providing
you have the opportunity to use it, is a worthwhile addition to the game
and adds value to an already essential Amiga game.

 Admittedly, this is not the highest resolution Doom clone you'll find for
the Amiga, and in more recent times this is it's biggest failing; the game
unfortunately didn't anticipate the capabilities of more powerful
machines, and interestingly although this was perhaps the main design
philosophy behind AB3D II, to reward "power users" it's success in this
effort was questionable, in my view.  AB3D though, is almost certainly the
most playable Amiga game of it's type. Sprawling levels, that are both
initially confusing but ultimately satisfying bear witness to the skill of
the game's design. Dashing up flights of stairs and blasting Alien
sentries before they have time to do you significant damage was never as
much fun. On top of this, as stated, the 3D engine is particuarly good,
providing you with a real sense of "being there". Full marks, Mr
Clitheroe. Nice job.

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