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The Antstream Arcade Archive: Alien Breed

In our latest Antstream Arcade Archive series, we take a look at another specific game from the Antstream Arcade Retro vault, giving you the lowdown on its plot, gameplay, tips and more. This month we proudly present Alien Breed, the famous 16-bit game that places you on a xenomorph-infested space station with just your trusty assault rifle for company. Let’s rock!

So what’s Alien Breed about?

Released in 1991 by Team 17, Alien Breed is the story of two troopers, out on patrol in deep space when they receive a signal to investigate a nearby station controlled by a corporation known as Intex Systems. Viewed from above, the one or two players investigate the station, collecting key cards, ammunition, information and, inevitably, combating the aliens that now infest the base. As they travel further into the complex, the aliens become stronger and meaner, necessitating the use of the weapon upgrades that are available – for a price.

That sounds very much like a certain series of sci-fi horror films…

Yes, Alien Breed is highly influenced by the Alien series, principally the second film, Aliens. Official licences of this fantastic series had had a patchy reception previously; Team 17 took the concept and made their own game, complete with those familiar-looking enemies and a Gauntlet style viewpoint. There’s a recognisable green-glow chic to the computer displays and its dull lifeless intonations, plus heaps of atmospheric exploration.

OK, I’m trembling with fright and anticipation – so how do I get started?

At the beginning of each stage there’s a handy little breakdown of your objectives such as finding the lift to the next level or reactivating critical computer systems. In your way stands a legion of slobbering monsters, puddles of lethal acid and a number of locked doors. Scattered throughout the game are key cards and these are vital in order to progress, as are the many clips of ammo – without the latter, your gun is nothing but a nice hanging ornament. There are also several computer consoles throughout each level. Upon accessing these, the player is given a range of options, from the ability to spend credits on ammo, upgrades and keys to discovering interesting information about the Intex Systems company. There’s even a cute version of Pong that can be played on these terminals.

This sounds like a tough mission – any tips?

The players should upgrade their weapons as soon as possible. While useful – barely – against the weaker aliens of the first level, continual usage of the simple machine pistol will soon have the more powerful critters swarming all over your trooper. The cheapest upgrade is the Twin-Fire Machine gun, a snip at 2200 credits, while the haphazard Flamebow costs a mere 3100 credits. For all-round death-dealing, the Intex Plasma Shotgun is a must at 5300 credits while those of you with deep pockets can invest in the ultimate piece of weaponry, the Intex Arc Lazer Gun, a bargain at just 18,200 credits!

Cool! Can you really play Pong?

Yes! Access the Intex computer system and select the option ‘Intex Entertainment’. This starts up the ancient arcade game Pong, which appears to qualify as the only form of entertainment on the station. The marauding aliens were probably something of a relief.

What’s the situation with the Antstream high score table?

Top of the pile at the time of writing is AtariUniverse with an impressive 72,300 points. Trailing behind them is Karyyk with 60,600 and Mr_Tricatel with 57,500 points, while beating vinnyguitar’s 48,500 will get you into the top ten. It’s not the most insurmountable of Antstream Arcade high score tables, but then Alien Breed is a game that requires both brains and raw shooting skills.

This is great fun, wandering around and shooting aliens. Are there any more Alien Breed games on Antstream Arcade?

There’s lots more xeno-blasting action on Antstream Arcade. Firstly, we have the Special Edition, released a year later by Team 17 and offering double the missions to negotiate. Then, we also host Alien Breed II: The Horror Continues and the third game, Alien Breed: Tower Assault. All of these games were smash hits back in the Nineties and are available on Commodore Amiga format on Antstream Arcade.

Plenty to get my teeth into.

What are you waiting for? Breakfast in bed?

Thank you for reading - watch out for another blast from the Antstream Arcade Archive soon!

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