Aliens: Infestation
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DS
| Aliens: Infestation

Can you believe it's been over seven years since the release of a side-scrolling Metroid title?

And even that one, Metroid: Zero Mission, was a remake of the original 1986 title that started it all. It is, in fact, nearly ten years since we last saw an original, blissful Metroid side-scroller.

While we've been waiting eagerly (and impatiently) for the next in the series, numerous Metroid-alikes have popped up - some good, some not so good.

Of all the Metroid-inspired titles we've come across in the last few years, Aliens: Infestation is easily the closest to a Samus-starring adventure we've seen, to the point that we wouldn't be surprised to learn that the developer had set out specifically to fill that hole.

Not that we're going to call shenanigans - quite the opposite. Aliens: Infestation is a fantastic game that will easily tide you over until the next Metroid-alike comes along.

Not so alien

Aliens: Infestation is set just after the events of the original Aliens movie, and throws you into areas taken from the film, with iconic weapons and enemies.

You're in charge of a squad of four Marines as you battle your way through a variety of locations filled with mysterious enemy soldiers and green nasties that enjoy ripping your face off.

From the get-go, it's obvious which other franchise Aliens is taking inspiration from. The sprawling overmap; the linear advancing via picking up keycards and new weapons; the secret entrances dotted around the map. It's all very Metroid.

Infesting in the future

That's not to say that Aliens: Infestation doesn't bring its own elements to the table.

It features some great use of the touchscreen, with the ability to switch from the mini-map to your weapons setup, as well as other special abilities down the side.

There's also some really intriguing squad management. If a member of your squad dies, he's gone forever, and you're forced to switch to another member. If you lose all four, it's all over.

However, you can find other members trapped in the bowels of each area, and add them to your squad along the way. It has the same feel that the squad management in the classic Cannon Fodder had - you want to keep your guys alive for as long as possible, and it feels terrible when you lose them.

Chest-burster

Aliens: Infestation is tough. Really tough. To the point where some players might be put off.

Save points are scarce, and the game isn't always great at explaining where you need to be going next.

The controls are also rather cumbersome at times, and it can be frustrating when you're trapped in close quarters with a horde of aliens.

Even so, Aliens: Infestation is as close to a handheld Metroid as we're going to see for a good while, and it's a pretty damn good one at that.

Aliens: Infestation

Aliens: Infestation is the side-scrolling Metroid you've been waiting for, and will especially excite fans of the original movie
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