MIB: Alien Crisis Review (Wii)
The first Men In Black movie was pretty cool. The second one had its moments but I remember being disappointed with it. The third film released recently and I have yet to see it. I’ve heard good things however. Simply because a movie can’t release without a game tie-in, we get MIB: Alien Crisis. I know what you’re thinking. “Another movie tie-in? It’s going to be bad isn’t it?” Sadly the answer is yes.
What You Need To Know
Since I haven’t seen the third film, I’m not sure where this falls in the timeline. I guess it happens after MIB 3 or at least near the end of the movie. In Alien Crisis you play as archeologist-turned-art-thief, Peter Delacour. Short story shorter, Peter steals a book for a dude, turns out dude is an alien, alien dude tries to destroy everything, Peter has to stop him. The Men In Black temporally deputize Peter as Agent P in order to stop alien-dude-with-book. The majority of the game is a third-person, cover-based, on-rails shooter. Think House Of the Dead plus Gears Of War. Other gameplay types include vehicle flying and point-and-click investigation. The game claims Wii Zapper support (a phrase I hate with a passion) with options for three different control layouts. Also included are a few multiplayer modes which oddly are all about score competing and never ask you to shoot your fellow players.
Alien Crisis has a lot of problems. Which is too bad considering the base of the gameplay is kind of interesting. I can’t think of another game that has combined on-rails with cover-based shooting before. Sure, things like Time Crisis give you a shield and other shooters have a button for crouching, but this is a blend that feels new. Each level is divided into areas where your character will run to; like any other on-rails shooter. In each of these areas, there are multiple cover points you can move your character between. Each of these points give you a view of different areas of the battlefield. When done right, I can imagine some very complex and interesting combat puzzles constructed around a base like this. Unfortunately, Alien Crisis does not take advantage of this mechanic.
Imagine a shooter where the enemies, backgrounds and reticule all blend together. Now add some bright muzzle flashes and a camera that shakes every time you shoot. All that adds up to I-can’t-tell-what-I’m-shooting. It doesn’t help when most encounters happen at night or in dark spaceships. In nearly every shootout, I would find myself shooting wildly at the wall next to my target. With the low-quality textures, it’s very hard to see enemies at a distance, especially when the gun shakes every time you shoot. The recoil by itself gives you a sense of shooting a powerful blaster but when added with the rest of the mix, it ends up as disorienting. For those hard to reach enemies you can enter sniping mode by shaking the Nunchuck. Needless to say this doesn’t work well as I would often zoom in and right back out as I violently shook the controller in order for it to register. I only sniped when semi-controlled wildfire failed to hit my target.
Game Feels Unfinished
This is a tie-in game. The developers were no doubt under time and resource constraints. We all know that going into something like this. So it’s not surprising to hear Alien Crisis seems like a half-baked game. In an early cutscene, the texture mapping on the main character left a large gap at the base of his neck as a bright white shined through; as if he had been decapitated by a light guillotine. Late in the game, I came across an NPC that was supposed to be frozen in a block of ice. Instead, it looked like he was wrapped in a blue blanket. While sneaking in an alien ship, one moment the main characters were standing by a large control panel but then, the next instant, they were in an open area surrounded by enemies. I was stopped by a color puzzle I had no idea how to solve, I failed several levels not knowing why and the final boss fight made me think I was trapped in an endless loop. The game was rushed but it is, at the very least, playable.
Alien Crisis isn’t a good game. It’s not all bad as the story made me laugh a few times and the voice actors gave some good performances. The base of the game has potential, but the final package is not something I can recommend. Clunky controls, rushed cutscenes, muddy textures and confusing puzzles make this a poor game; even by tie-in standards. Also, the whole thing is short; less than five hours at best. There are a few multiplayer games but they are all score attack modes which rely on the same jumbled recipe as the rest of the game.