In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream
Forget the memory-erasing gadget used in the Men in Black films, because ten minutes with this game and you will have forgotten everything about it. Alien Crisis rarely frustrates because of its controls or story, though both are largely forgettable. Instead, the most frustrating thing about this game is that it’s yet another example of a publisher throwing a few bucks on an awful game because they know it’s going to net some profit. Alien Crisis is a competently made game, but it offers little more than a few hours of entertainment for a younger audience.
The problem with games like these is they tend to be constrained by a shorter development time, since they need to release alongside the film they’re promoting. This might make them feel more like pricey advertisements than games, really, and in the end, that’s exactly what Alien Crisis feels like.
You would think it’d be difficult to make a boring game about secret government agencies, aliens, and futuristic gadgetry, but that’s what happened here. It starts off much like the first movie, introducing a new character, art thief Peter Delacour, who finds himself in the heat of an alien conflict. After showing your potential as a future agent, you get recruited to the team. I’m getting a little tired of the way overused “alien force that threatens to destroy the world” plot hook, especially since it’s been used in this series a few times already. It’s coming off like they can’t think of anything new.
There’s a fair share of variety in the things you can do in this game, though for the most part it’s largely a linear experience. You’ll have the occasional arena gunfight, with a car chase or interrogation sprinkled on. Men in Black isn’t suited well to the linear action genre. A more open, sandbox-style world where you can investigate the extraterrestrial goings on in New York City would be a lot more enjoyable. Instead, in Alien Crisis, the city feels small and boring. It doesn’t help that a majority of the environments look like they were borrowed from any other urban action game, with little to separate them visually from other games. Men in Black has a very distinct look to it, so it’s more than a little disappointing to see that it wasn’t realized very well in the game.
There are some new characters, including a few new aliens, which, as you’d expect from this series, are pretty creative. Alien Crisis’ arsenal of space visitors is impressive, including the aquatic looking Adorians, the brutish Adorian Elites, the intimidating Nakkadan, and even a few flying squid brain things. I’ve always loved the aliens in Men in Black, because they tend to lean toward the unusual and the colorful, and this game has a solid enough collection of new guys and even a few familiar ones like the fan-favorite Alien Worms.
If you’ve seen one of the films, you’re undoubtedly aware of the insanely neat weapons the agents get to bring with them on their missions. Your selection in Alien Crisis is fun enough, though I wish it would’ve been pushed a little further. Some are pretty great, but there are a few that fall flat, and it doesn’t help that the gunplay isn’t very polished.
The Deatomizer is your heavy, semi-automatic weapon, then there’s the Noisy Cricket—which appeared in a memorable scene in the first MIB film—that packs a bigger bang than you’d expect from such a small device. There’s also the pistol, which is mostly forgettable, and the pretty satisfying Tri-barrel Plasma Gun. Some more alien weaponry would’ve been a welcome addition, but for the most part, the guns are decent.
The voice work is surprisingly good for a licensed game of this caliber, and the music is fantastic. The sound design, specifically regarding the guns you use, is also very well-done. If anything, this game is easy on the ears. The voice work, soundtrack, and sound effects all help to make this a little more appealing, especially when so much of it is visually uninteresting.
The game feels pretty arcadey, like it was meant to join the pantheon of cheesy alien shooters you used to find in the old arcades before console went and ruined everything by making multiplayer more “accessible.”
I was surprised to see the cooperative options Alien Crisis offers, including two-player co-op and four-player competitive mode. Split-screen is an underrated feature these days, and it’s one I think should be included in more games. Thankfully, it’s an option here, and it’s also pretty fun. If you absolutely have to play this game, I highly suggest going at it with a friend. The only downside to the multiplayer is it’s limited to local-only, so there’s no online multiplayer. Perhaps this is because publisher Activision knew the shelf life of a multiplayer for a game like Alien Crisis is pretty short? In any case, it’s not surprising, and should you have a couple Zappers or Move controllers and a friend or three to share them with, Alien Crisis can actually be a pretty fun game.
I’m glad they tried to expand the vast and very interesting MIB universe with new characters and a brand new story, but the fact that it’s a licensed game and the strict limitations that come with that definitely hold Alien Crisis back. There’s an audience for a good MIB game, because the world is vibrant and quirky, and there really isn’t anything else like it. It’s all so deliciously cheesy, but that works for this franchise, and I’d like to see what could be done when a developer is finally given enough time to experiment a little rather than quickly churn out a game to coincide with a film. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened yet, and this is a painfully bland game with little inspiration and even less going for it. You can do better than spend your money on MIB: Alien Crisis.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.0 Graphics
Visually, it’s a very forgettable game. 3.0 Control
Not much polish in the gameplay or controls—some parts can get pretty frustrating. 3.3 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Solid enough voice work, but like the rest of the game, nothing really stands out. 3.2 Play Value
There’s a very short campaign and an incredibly limited multiplayer, with little to no replay value whatsoever. 3.1 Overall Rating – Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid
|2.5 – 2.9 = Average
|3.5 – 3.9 = Good
|4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor
|3.0 – 3.4 = Fair
|4.0 – 4.4 = Great
|5.0 = The Best