Everybody knows that Team 17 are one of the elite companies in the software business and I don't want to waffle on for ages abut how good they are. They seem to know what the public want and provide it with amazing graphics, sound and playability slapped in there for good measure.
Alien Breed is still one of my favourite games ever, not least because it was a sneaky interactive rip-off of the film, Aliens by James Cameron. One thing that was consistently present in the film was atmosphere, and luckily the film version did transmit successfully to the screen.
The original Team 17 blaster featured two marines called Johnson and Stone who ventured forth into a station called ISRC-4 which contained on Alien Breed. Johnson and Stone wandered through six massive and hugely challenging levels fighting aliens with all guns blazing.
Alien Breed was probably the first product to really set the Team 17 success ball rolling and proved to be an immensely popular with the games buying public. While everyone was eagerly awaiting the sequel, Team 17 did the unexpected and released a superior and enhanced version of Alien Breed at a budget price. Most companies wouldn't even dream of doing that, but Team 17 managed to hit the bull's eye and Alien Breed Special Edition has been at the top of the budget charts since November 1992, breaking the record for the longest stay at number one.
The Special Edition featured more action, more atmosphere, more gameplay, was a bigger game to boot and at only £10.99 has to be one of the best value for games you can buy. A masterstroke had been pulled by the lads and lasses from Wakefield, but the general public was gasping for the "proper" sequel and now after almost 22 months of desperate waiting it is here.
It's been nine long years since the first outbreak of aliens when Johnson and Stone crushed the invasion on a remote space research station. The horror has temporarily ceased. Times have changed in many ways; the IPC has now grown and strengthened, mainly due to the alliance of the six major races in the Federation colonies.
Problems, it seems, are long gone and the Federation can look forward to indefinite peace. But Johnson and Stone who witnessed the terror of the aliens can still not rest easy.
Federation Colony Alpha-Five, home of several hundred crew members, has been transmitting emergency signals for the past few hours. Federation HQ fears the worst and it's almost as if history is beginning to repeat itself.
The four strongest members of the IPC's marine force are called together, but just two will make the journey to FCA5 their mission brief unclear, but they know that the horror is about to continue.
Yep, the scenario is similar to James Cameron's Aliens, but that isn't such a bad thing. The first new feature you came across is the introduction of new marines. You can choose which of the four IPC characters you want to play with.
Each one starts with different weapons and slightly different abilities, but you will have to find out what they are for yourself. Defaults are the old crew Johnson and Stone, but you can now select Ruffertoo and Zollux.
Ruffertoo is an intelligent lizard lifeform while Zollux takes on the form of a tough war robot. You may find it best to experiment with combinations of characters that best suit your style of play before you start your mission properly.
When you begin the game, you are lowered by a Federation dropship onto the landing pad of the Alpha-5 base. Your mission will be as the brief outlined to you by the Federation before you start to kick alien ass.
With a silly inane grin spread across your face you decided to check out this second bout of alien Breed tomfoolery. Starting outside the base you get the chance to boost up your supply of cash and keys while desperately trying to avoid the gunships and meteorites that fly overhead. Finally you discover the exit and immediately tens up because you know in just a few seconds time it will be time to face the aliens once more.
Exploding onto the next level you are immediately faced with one of the rasping beasts. Instinctively you grab your machine gun and plough a ton of lead into its disgusting alien body. One down and only thousands to go! Wondering around the level you find that you can once more gain access to the Intex 4000 computer terminals. For those who don't know about Team 17's original alien blast-'em-up, the Intex 4000s were a source of supplies.
Once you've logged onto the computer network, you can order extra weaponry, key packs, ammo packs and such like. The weapons are available in three stages. Each is more powerful, but each stage uses up more ammo, so it's up to you which weapon you choose.
The Intex terminals also supply your marines with information on the current mission and gives access to the Info base which is a large source of information about the game. For the truly dedicated "breeders" out there is the option of looking at your current statistics and status.
I had only played Alien Breed 2 for ten minutes and I already knew it was as good as its predecessor. It plays just as well as the original Alien Breed and that is a good enough reason for me to pour superlative over superlative onto the sequel.
Alien Breed 2 is no better than or worse than the original product - it is just as brilliant. Obviously the graphics and sound are better than those seen in the first game a couple of years ago.
I could grumble and whinge about the fact that the sequel's graphics don't seem to be as dark and moody, and thus are not quite as atmospheric as those from the original. But that's not to say that they don't look exquisite though, especially in the A1200 and A4000 versions of the game. The A500 does suffer slightly from colour loss, but nothing that's noticeable straight away.
The static screens in the A1200/A4000 are far superior to the A500s, but its all rather superficial as you're normally too busy rummaging through th levels blasting aliens to take any notice of the static shots.
Alien Breed 2 features a more varied count of aliens and levels than its predecessor. In fact there are many new features, and it still retains that fresh feel of originality which captured the hearts of hungry little gamers a couple of years ago.
Any self-respecting Alien Breed fan will have already rushed down to the shops and bought this one, having had it on order for the last six months. The only gripe I have about Team 17's sequel is that it is bloody hard, but hey, that's probably just me being completely useless!
I don't need to tell you twice to buy Alien Breed 2 because it is so good. Fans of the original will fall deeply in love with it and want to have its children while newcomers will wonder why they ignored the first effort. The Teamies are going from strength to strength, and at the moment look completely unbeatable.