Alien Carnage is a side-scrolling shooter created by Interactive Binary Illusions and SubZero Software, published by Apogee in 1993 for MS-DOS. The game was released as freeware in 2007.
Having to talk about Alien Carnage, I really don't know what to think. On the one hand, it's a game I loved, enjoyed every moment from start to finish, and kept me entertained throughout. On the other hand, something about the character design and several sections of the gameplay I found tedious and insufferable. Got your curiosity? Then let's explore this title a bit further.
The game was developed by Interactive Binary Illusions and SubZero Software, both companies unknown until then (and after it). The title was also distributed by Apogee Software, a company that is better known with titles like Duke Nukem, Duke Nukem II, and so on. Back to Alien Carnage, since its release in 1993, the game composed of 4 episodes was only available for DOS and Windows and has a sequel called Zombie Wars, which came out three years later.
The game is a follow-up to another game called Halloween Harry, released in 1985 for the almost unknown MicroBee Computer. In fact, Alien Carnage's first title was Halloween Harry, but in the end, they decided to change the name.
True to its time, the clever and original story of this title (please read with sarcasm) is about a great hero who must save the world from an alien invasion. The Martians are taking over the population turning them into zombies, and only the protagonist can save them, although he will only rescue you if you are a white and blonde woman.
The gameplay is quite fun, but the things that bothered me start to appear. The adventure has a few weapons, but I classified them into two types: Flamethrower and non-flamethrower weapons. Before you think I'm a pyromaniac, let me clarify that I'm not a fan of this weapon, but the rest of the guns are so useless that you won't want to change them during the whole game. Also, the protagonist can use a jetpack, an element that, despite being used a lot, is always fun. In addition, the title has a system of improved ammunition, several items with more cool powers, and the ability to heal yourself by eating junk food. Oh, and the game features several references to other franchises, such as Gremlins, Aliens, or Elvis Presley (yes, you read that right). Normally these references would run the risk of being cringy, but in my opinion, they were hilarious.
The audiovisual part of this game, with great use of 256-colour VGA graphics, is very colorful, kind of cartoon-style graphics. The cutscenes are excellent, but I have to say the modeling of a few sections is so invasive that the character can hardly be seen (such as when crossing water areas). Furthermore, the game unjustly uses pipes to hide enemies, which rather than being difficult, is a bit unfair. Personally, I didn't like the character design, it looks like they tried to eat a bucket and it got stuck in their heads, wait until you see a cutscene and you'll understand what I'm talking about. The music was ok, nothing special but it serves its purpose.
Anyway, despite a few problems, I cannot say the game is bad. Most of my comments are really subjective, I have nothing to tell you in a technical sense. If someone asked me if I should recommend playing Alien Carnage, I would say yes. It's not a game that will blow your mind and force you to start a cult in the name of the hero, but more of a title that when asked about it in the future you'll say "oh yeah, fun game". Anyway, my word is not final, so if you are still excited about starting that cult, don't throw away those red candles and give the game a chance! You can play it here and now, have fun!