Men in Black: Alien Crisis

It’s quite apt that the Men in Black theme song included the lyrics “Here come the Men in Black, they won’t let you remember,” as the games that followed the 1997 movie have all been rather forgettable. The first to be released is easily the most renowned. Rather than being a casual shooter, it was a reasonably ambitious adventure game featuring 3D characters on rendered 2D backdrops, developed by ex-UK studio Gremlin. The rest? There was one on PSone based on the cartoon series, another on PlayStation 2… and, erm, wasn’t there one on GameCube? Like, we said – they’ve been forgettable.

Alien Crisis isn’t going to change that. We could just tell you that it’s an on-rails third-person shooter from the studio behind Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts and end the review here, but that wouldn’t be very enlightening. It has been designed to be played with the Top Shot Elite light-gun – although one isn’t required, we should mention – and as such the controls have been kept simple. The only control you have of the main character Agent P – a thief turned honorary MiB – is to move from one piece of cover to another. Even then the cover system is bothersome, sometimes putting you into positions that you can’t shoot from.

Once all the aliens in an area have been wiped out Agent P is automatically moved to the next area, ready for the mindless shooting to start all over again. Enemies seemingly have just two AI patterns to follow – run at you firing, or stand on the spot firing. Just to illustrate how much of a brainless blaster it is, we unlocked the achievement for killing 900 aliens way before the ending… which only takes four hours or so to reach.

There is a little bit of variety at least. Three or four short stealth missions feature, all of which consist of nothing more than shooting enemies when their backs are turned and taking out security cameras when you aren’t in sight. There are a few investigation sections too, which are laughably poor due to how awful the character models look. The voice acting isn’t up to much either, although a few pieces of dialogue did raise a grin or two. Most of lines these were from Frank the talking pug dog, whose presence almost makes up for the fact that Agent J and Agent K are nowhere to be seen.

Easily the most best looking sections see Agent P taking to the skies in a flying car, shooting down enemies while whizzing through city streets. Here you can’t cause too much damage or else your cover will be blown. Because gamers love driving safely and avoiding chances to smash through billboards, right?

Thankfully a couple of the weapon attachments are fun to use – enemies can be captured in bubbles and then sent spinning into other bad guys, while gravity grenades are useful for sending snipers skywards out of their dugouts. New weapons are gained as the story unfolds, although they are all much of a muchness apart from a pistol that takes a few seconds to charge up. You can even take out snipers far in the distance using the triple-barrelled shotgun if you like.

Alien Crisis isn’t a bad game in that it’s broken and unplayable (ignoring the fact that the action does stutter occasionally). It’s a bad game in the sense that it it’s short, ugly and feels like it has been designed for simpletons. You have to wonder if the developers are aware that games like Gears of War exist, let alone having played them.

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