Alien Arena 2007
Written by Angelo M. D'Argenio   
Saturday, 05 January 2008

When I first saw the screenshots for Alien Arena I was stunned.  An FPS, with good multiplayer and single player, and decent graphics, that was completely free!  It had to be too good to be true.  Well… upon playing Alien Arena I was disappointed to find out, I was right.  This seems to be very much a case of “you get what you pay for” but it is also a case of “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”  Is the 0 dollar price tag worth it?  Well… let’s look a bit closer

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Alien Arena 2007 is a free to download first person shooter for the PC.  It plays very much like Quake, in as much as it plays essentially like every other PC FPS out there wherein you find guns, and shoot other people.  It has a single player and multiplayer mode and the complexity of the game really ends there, so let’s look at the modes a bit closer.

The single player mode of Alien Arena is rather unimpressive.  There is no real mission complexity or anything in the game and everything just boils down to single player being the same as multiplayer, but with bots.  In addition, the AI of these bots is 2 sandwiches over a retard picnic, and what I mean by that in less offensive terms is that all they seem to do is run at you, guns blazing wildly.  Unfortunately the accuracy of these bots leaves something to be desired, so in effect they are just taking the place of massive slow moving targets.

Multiplayer seems to have its problems as well, as the game seems to be saturated with lag.  Connection to other players is rather iffy and games seem to glitch and lag out often.  In addition the community for this game is depressingly small and finding others to play with is actually quite a project.  Alien Arena players are rarely online, and many just give up before ever really getting into the multiplayer due to connection issues.

All of these problems however simply fail in comparison to the issues with the gameplay.  All the guns in Alien Arena are simply carbon copies of every other gun you have seen in computer FPSs, except this time they are horribly unbalanced.  The pistols you get when you start out are abysmal and I have never scored a kill with one, or even seen someone score a kill with one.  The chain gun is HORRIBLY broken, doing dumps of damage at a huge rate even from distances, while the rocket launcher is too slow to be useful.  Regardless, you probably won’t be doing much in this game until you get a hold of a secondary gun, but since your starting gun is not a threat whatsoever, good players can simply gank guns as they spawn and pick you off as you desperately try to upgrade.

The maps in Alien Arena are all pretty bottom of the barrel as well.  Every FPS has one map that everyone likes playing and thousands more that are almost never touched.  Unfortunately, every map in Alien Arena qualifies as a map you wouldn’t really want to play in any other RTS.  They are all simple poorly designed wide corridors with very little cover.  This creates a kind of “suicide bombing” type of gameplay, where you immediately run into the line of enemy fire to desperately grab at a gun, and then turn around and run again into enemy fire guns blazing hoping to kill him before he kills you.  Unfortunately, most of the time, you don’t and you end up dying on the way to get a gun upgrade, which makes coming back from behind feel almost completely futile.  The only maps that are worth anything are the player made maps, which gives this game a bit of a redeeming quality.

In the end though, you really have to look at this game for what it is… free.  It is a game on par with maybe, an early version of quake so it should appeal to retro gamers.  If you really don’t like the levels or guns, you can download mods, and if you can’t find gamers online to play with you can invite your friends over for a LAN party.  The game itself is just a rehash of all the FPSs you have played before and doesn’t really offer anything new, but for a free game that is enough.  In the end, this is really a case of “you get what you pay for.”

There really isn’t much else to say about Alien Arena.  It was a good attempt to make a free-source FPS that the FPS community can enjoy.  Unfortunately, it falls rather short of its goal.  It makes a good substitute game for people who have older systems, or people who don’t have the money to throw around and get an updated game, but that’s about all that it does. Since the days of free counterstrike are over, it doesn’t appear as if we will be getting a new free game winner any time soon.

When it comes to Alien Arena though, my advice is to try it.  The graphics are surprisingly good for its size, and for the fact that it’s a free game, and since it’s free it won’t cost you much more than a few minutes of your time.  It won’t be the next big thing you are looking for, but it is a decent FPS that will keep you occupied.  You may get frustrated in the end, but it’s a free, polygonal, FPS.  All I can really say is don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

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Related: Alien Arena 2006, Quake, Quake II, Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory,
Developer: COR Entertainment
Website for Game: http://red.planetarena.org/
Publisher: N/A
O/S: Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP/2003 Server/Vista, Linux
Cost of Full Game: Free, Download here!
Year of Release: 2007

Requirements:
N/A
Tested on:
Intel Core2Duo 1,86 GHz, 2 GB RAM, Windows Vista

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