Around here for Fright-A-Thon, we don’t discriminate between horror games or movies or TV shows or books, all things horror are okay in our book. So, today, we’ll be talking about one of the best horror games that you have never played: Aliens: Infestation on the Nintendo DS. Coming from WayForward and Gearbox Software, it’s published by Sega, and exclusive to the Nintendo DS. As for games based on the Alien franchise, they’ve been hit or miss throughout the years. We got plenty of LJN tie-ins for the NES and SNES era, Alien: Trilogy on the Sega Saturn, PlayStation, and PC was a great little shooter, and then we got what could be considered the crown jewel in Alien: Isolation. Before that, we got some clunkers like Aliens: Colonial Marines though, which has an entire article’s worth of problems.
Aliens: Infestation is like a breath of fresh air, especially when played on the go on the DS. The plot is simple.
The USS Sephora has discovered the USS Sulaco adrift in space after the events of Aliens and Alien 3. The Colonial Marines are sent aboard the Sulaco to investigate and recover the life form detected aboard the ship.
The real selling point to Infestation though is the 20 different playable characters. The developers and writers went into painstaking detail to ensure that each character had a different dialogue and got you invested, just in case one of them bit the dust. It taps into that isolation and loneliness that the Alien franchise captures so well. It makes you grow attached to the characters that you’re using, which means that you use them more. That of course leads to an even bigger loss if any of them die.
Castlevania Fans Need To Apply
The gameplay for Aliens: Infestation is very similar to Metroid or games in the Castlevania series from Symphony of the Night onward. There’s a lot of backtracking, searching for weapons and secrets, upgrades, keys, new areas, and more. You control four marines and explore the U.S.S. Sulaco and other areas and planets. The change to the formula from Castlevania is perma-death though. I mentioned it above, but if one of your characters dies in the game, they’re gone for good. You have four marines to work with, and once they’re all gone, you lose.
Another of the best features of Aliens: Infestation is the beautiful artwork and backgrounds. Comic book artist Chris Bachalo did the character designs and avatars, as well as the cover art for the game.
The story of the game fits right in after Alien 3, being a side story about the Colonial Marines. It involves more of the Weyland-Yutani Corporation and its schemes to weaponize the Xenomorphs. In the game, you travel to the moon Phobos, where W-Y is shown experimenting on Xenomorphs creating cross-breeds and weaponized versions of the alien. It all ends with a face-off against a gigantic Alien Queen and the destruction of the Sulaco.
Now For The Bad Part About Aliens: Infestation
The Nintendo DS has exploded in popularity and price in recent years. As more people remember the great handheld console, they go to pick up games for it. Something like Aliens: Infestation is a prime example of a game that many forgot on release, but are remembering long after. The game retails for around $80 complete in box, and around $40 for just the cartridge. That’s a pretty steep price to pay, but the game is absolutely fantastic. If you have a DS and you want an excellent horror game with plenty of memorable characters, this is the one for you.
It doesn’t make amazing use of the dual screens for the DS, but that doesn’t really matter. It’s basically Metroid with Aliens, what more could you want?
For more on horror, make sure to check out THS Fright-A-Thon, the two-month-long horror marathon of content!