Alien Odyssey

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a game by Argonaut Software Ltd.
Platform: PC (1995)
User Rating: 9.3/10 - 3 votes
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See also: Action Games, Action Adventure Games

I Suppose The Best Way To Explain what this game is like is to tell you which games it's similar to, simply because it's similar to just about every pre-rendered space adventure game under the sun. In fact, saying it's similar to certain games is being a bit generous - in some cases it's more or less a carbon copy of sections from some of this year's biggest releases.

The only part of Alien Odyssey that hasn't been directly lifted from another game is the plot, which incidentally gives me the opportunity to issue a little challenge to you all. During my brief outline of the plot, I want you to try to keep a straight face. If you actually manage to do so, please send me a letter marked "I kept a straight face while I read about the plot in Alien Odyssey." If your letter is the first one picked out of my post bag, I'll send you a free copy of the game. Probably. Ready? Okay, here goes then...

Competition extra

You are Psaph. You are roaming around the universe surveying planets (as one does) when you crash land on Betan. Fortunately for you, you are befriended by a tiger man in a big stripy catsuit. You immediately hit it off and decide to team up in an attempt to escape the planet, though obviously you have to save it from certain destruction on the way, and also kick the shit out of hundreds of killer robots into the bargain. Your quest is straightforward then - save the world (but not yours, somebody else's), kill lots of robots, and piss off home. Welcome to Alien Odyssey. Did you laugh? Did you titter? Or did you just yawn your head off because you've heard it all before a thousand times with ever so slight variations on the above theme?. Either way, this is what passes for a plot in Alien Odyssey. As for the game...

It's a bit like Cyberia

The game is split into four sections. The first of these sees you tearing through a forest on a hoverbike. It's very, very similar to the arcade scenes in Cyberia, in as much as the computer controls the vehicle you're in, while you simply control the crosshair on the screen and click away furiously until either all your enemies are dead, or you are. Also, the graphics are very pretty, just like they are in Cyberia. All this said, however, it's not the best start to a game I've seen.

All you have to do is shoot a few robots, while at the same time making sure you don't shoot your tiger friend, and you'll have no trouble at all getting through the forest sequence. So, the hoverbike scene is a bit crap, but at least it's short, which is more than can be said for the communication bunker and armoury levels, which virtually go to make up the whole game. In these levels you'll be exploring alien environments, interacting with terminals to open doors, deploy maintenance robots etc and they seem to go on for ever. Whereas Cyberia had the right balance between the arcade and the adventure sections, Alien Odyssey bogs you down in the adventure sections for most of the game. Two arcade levels isn't really enough to break the monotony of the walk-around sections. It does look nice, though...

It's a bit like Creature Shock

At various points in the exploratory levels, you are treated to cut scenes which show your alter-ego doing really cool things. These cut scenes would not be out of place if you plopped them randomly into one of the exploratory levels in Creature Shock. However, if you've ever played Creature Shock, if you're honest you'll probably agree that this is no bad thing. Let's face it, who's going to complain about being depicted as an ultra-cool dude who could probably pick up several chicks at once if the mood so took him?

Generally, the character animation and background graphics are what save the game from dying horribly in a murky black swamp of averageness. For example, one of the 'puzzles' involves blowing up several cylinders to break into a room. As soon as you fire your gun a cut scene, er, cuts in and shows you a gorgeously over the top pyrotech-fest. There's lots of this stuff in the game, and it all serves as a welcome diversion to the sometimes plodding adventure gameplay. I'd now like to round off our little trip through Similarity City by explaining...

It's a bit like BloForge

While all the backgrounds and cut scenes are pre-rendered, the main character is made up of good old polygons. This means, as is the case with Bioforge, you actually get to control the movements of your character, as opposed to pressing one of the cursor keys and watching him walk off in the distance (as is the case with Creature Shock and Cyberia). Your character can run, jump, roll left and right, creep, crouch and generally navigate the environments without any fuss or hassle. However, unlike BioForge, his battle capabilities are limited to shooting at things he doesn't like the look of. He can't punch or kick and he certainly can't perform any BioF'orge-like somersaults. The upshot of this is it gets a bit boring taking out the robots and other enemies you come across. Usually, it's just a case of firing a couple of shots and the combat scene is over.

Well, it's all looking a bit depressing at this point. I've just listed all of the games Alien Odyssey is similar to and compared it unfavourably with most of them. I now find myself in the embarrassing position of having to explain why I've been playing it for a day and a half. I suppose the main reason is, I've played all the games I've just mentioned and liked them all. Admittedly, Alien Odyssey is no match for BioForge or Cyberia but the graphics are nice and it's engrossing enough to keep me happily occupied while I wait for the release of Cyberia 2.

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System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

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