Ridley Scott’s return to science fiction cinema with the film Prometheus has left fans with mixed feelings. Some love it, some hate it, some have wondered what Zero Suit Samus is doing in the movie. But one thing is for certain: If you’ve seen Prometheus then you’re in the mood for some Aliens. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many games based on the Alien franchise that are any good.
Aliens: Infestation released for the Nintendo DS in October of 2011 and was unfortunately overshadowed by Nintendo’s 3DS, which was finally starting to come into its stride at the time. Why would you want to play anything as flat as an original DS game when Mario and his 3D Land were willing to pop into your face? Exactly.
Now, I don't mean to make this post in some sort of effort to pass judgment on Aliens: Infestation so much as it is to inform you that it does, in fact, exist. Try it out for yourself and I think you'll probably come away impressed. Infestation is a game very much in the style of Metroid games, where instead of playing as the original bounty hunter you play as a squad of four marines, carefully making their way through a derelict spacecraft. Each time you die you lose that marine from your squad—permanently—and are forced to send a different one out. It adds an excellent feeling of tension that in a lot of ways rivals the original Alien and Aliens movies. If all your marines die it’s game over. Fortunately, you can find other marines hanging around on the giant space ship you’re exploring that have been separated from their own squads. Unfortunately, there’s no sign of Bill Paxton as of yet in my playthrough.
Likes: Arm cannons. Long walks on the beach. Adam.
Dislikes: Metroids. Losing her equipment. Dishonest men.
Ahem. What's really interesting about Aliens: Infestation is naturally, its ironically reversed pedigree. The original Metroid and Super Metroid owe more than a passing tip of the hat to Alien, with their strong, female leads, game-ending self-destruct timers, Mother Brain's bipedal form, and even the concept of Samus serving as a sort of surrogate mother to the Metroid creature. Heck, in what is probably more than just a bit of coincidence, Ridley is even named Ridley, a direct nod to Ridley Scott. How interesting to now have the opportunity to play an Aliens game that wears its Metroid inspirations on its sleeve!
I often find myself put in a certain mood after seeing a movie and Prometheus’ thick atmosphere and horrifying thrills most definitely cemented the need for a game with a moody, dark presentation where death waits around any corner. The fact that Aliens: Infestation isn't only a passable game but an exceedingly good one in the style of Metroid makes the fact that we don't actually have a Prometheus game a little more forgivable. Plus, let’s stop kidding ourselves. Metroid is basically Aliens already. Just swap the kind of creatures you’d only see in your nightmares for floating night-lights with teeth. On second thought, maybe teeth-bearing night-lights sound even more horrific...