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Alien Breed Special Edition ’92

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Released: 1992

Genre: Shoot-'em-up

Format reviewed: Amiga 500

Publisher: Team 17

Developer: Team 17

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Once upon a time I traded in a SNES collection of around 50 Japanese games for an Amiga 1200. It remains one of the biggest mistakes of my gaming life. I’d been entranced by the likes of The Eye Of The Beholder and Indiana Jones And The Fate Of Atlantis, crucially forgetting that two of my favourite types of games, shmups and arcade offerings, weren’t well represented on the Amiga systems.

Thank goodness then for Team 17’s Alien Breed. With its impressive visuals and atmospheric soundtrack, it reminded me of all the console and arcade games I used to enjoy on my SNES. It was a fantastic price to boot. I can remember almost wincing in pain when I handed over £70 for an import copy of Super Star Wars, so being able to pick up something as slick as Alien Breed for under a tenner was a fantastic feeling.

Playing it was just as enjoyable an experience thanks to Team 17 channelling the spirit of both Gauntlet and Aliens to create a tense and oppressive blaster, particularly when playing with a friend. Yes, the maps could be a pain to navigate and you’d often run out of keys before you could access specific areas, but there was something about Team 17’s game that always dragged you back for one more go.

Even today there’s something immensely satisfying about shooting your way through a sea of xenomorphs, and the metallic Bitmap Bros-styled visuals still hold up incredibly well. The game is admittedly simple in its execution – find exit, shoot aliens, pick up objects – but its quick pace and fun firefights still manage to entertain.

Alien Breed may have riffed heavily off other games – a Team 17 trademark – but it proved that Commodore’s machine was more than capable of giving the consoles a good run for their money. I may have regretted losing that Super Nintendo, but the discovery of Team 17’s game at least made the experience bittersweet.

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