Tag: Bulletstorm

Alien Rage: An old school shooter in more ways than one.

Over the 10 plus years I’ve been writing about video game stuff, one thing that’s stayed constant is me writing about the most jankiest, clunky games out there, often in January. So much so that I almost considered making an event called “Jank-uary,” where people would play these particularly busted games as a celebration of the underdogs and trash of video game culture. Maybe I’ll still consider that in the future if there’s any interest.

Since it’s the start of a new year, what better thing to write about then yet another janky FPS? After all, might as well keep up my tradition of writing about this jank to start the year. This time with a developer I’ve talked about a few times in the past!

“Bet you can’t scream louder than me, human!” Cover courtesy of Mobygames.

Alien Rage is a first person space shooter made by the present-day masters of budget label games: CI Games, the company formerly known as City Interactive. Released on Steam, the Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 in 2013, the game came out to mostly uneventful fare, often being forgotten except by people like me who are a glutton for punishment as well as quality Eurojank™.

We’ve talked about CI Games/City Interactive twice before: Once in January 2019 when I wrote about the interesting-but-flawed Enemy Front, a World War II FPS that tried to be a bit more stealth-action like the old school Medal of Honor days; and again in April 2021 where I covered the infamous Terrorist Takedown, a rail shooter that was made during peak War on Terror, and for a long while was CI Games’ most iconic franchise before Sniper: Ghost Warrior came around.

Since I’ve played a myriad of the company’s work at this point, I know to go into this with the lowest of expectations. And boy those expectations were met and then some. The result is a game that doesn’t quite understand what it wants to be.

It’s always those rare materials that we’re looking for, isn’t it?

Taking place in the distant future of 2242 AD, humans find a new material named Promethium on a space rock, which they use to make a space colony. Then the Vorus, an alien race, come in and invade, taking over the Promethium, and starting a war between the humans and the aliens. Eventually the aliens burrow underground to further stop the humans in their tracks, and it’s all hinging on the help of one supersoldier named Jack to go in and eliminate the Vorus threat once and for all. Yep, in typical classic shooter fashion, they send one guy to do the job of a whole platoon. Though Jack is not alone in his journey, Jack is supported by an AI assistant named Iris and a soldier buddy named Ray. Guess you gotta give Jack someone to talk to, eh?

“Hmm. This certainly looks like Something Bad’s about to happen…”

Alien Rage is a run-of-the-mill first-person shooter. Jack can hold three weapons: a sidearm and two human or Vorus weapons he procures throughout his journey. Standard WSAD controls for movement, left click fires, right click ironsights, F does a melee attack, and E is the catch-all use button, where Jack will activate keypads and climb over chest-high walls when prompted.

Middle mouse button activates a special alternate fire which changes for each weapon: A burst fire for the pistol, a grenade launcher for the SMG, etc. The player can hold a maximum of five of these overall, and can be used for any of the game’s weapons, so one must be careful when using them on a pistol rather than a rocket launcher.

Duty Calls: A silly Call of Duty parody.

The year is 2011. We’re nearing the home stretch of the 360 and PS3 console generation. We’re seeing really cool games that push the power of their hardware, while also being fun as hell to play.

One day, while browsing on Twitter like I usually do, someone I followed retweeted this gem by one Clifford Bleszinski:

(Note: This is a loose recreation of the tweet from various sources. In the years that followed, he since deleted the original tweet.)

Naturally, being the curious guy I am, I checked out the website and found out there was a free game there. I download the 700MB installer, not knowing what to expect.

Making something sound so generic is quite impressive.
Making something sound so generic is quite impressive.

Duty Calls: The Calm Before the Storm is a parody game that makes fun of the long-standing Call of Duty franchise. This is very apparent by the logo that makes fun of the old Call of Duty logo, to even that important disclaimer that Activision had nothing to do with it. Because the last thing they needed were lawsuits.

Parodying games in other games is a fickle thing. Sometimes you can be right on point and make it funny, otherwise you end up just making half-baked references that fall flat and seem incredibly dated, like Duke Nukem Forever rejecting Master Chief’s power armor, saying it’s “for pussies.”

With a parody like this, it can only go up from there, so let’s give it a try.

Must be very boring for the army today...
Must be a very boring day for the army…

Our adventure begins with an introductory cutscene learning about some secret base, complete with a Call of Duty-style talking about how war has changed, and yet war never changes. It oddly reminded me of that song from Idle Thumbs about the wizard.

After that, our intrepid shooterguy drops in with an M4 assault rifle and a secret base to find by some random commander dude. So let’s jump into the fray and fight the big bad.

I could do a play-by-play, much like I did with my last article on CTU Marine Sharpshooter, but this game is short. I beat it in 10 minutes. Not only that, this game relies on such silly gags like the one below, thus if I showed you every gag you wouldn’t wanna play it, so here’s a sampling instead.

Imagine this scene said by bored voice actors proclaiming you can’t stop this enemy. Then the game goes into slow motion so you can stop this enemy. It does that sort of stuff.

Duty Calls throws a lot of jabs at Call of Duty, usually referencing its fairly linear nature, its over-emphasis on slow motion action scenes, even making fun of the silly rank progression of COD‘s multiplayer. The only thing it doesn’t make fun of is being penalized for going out of bounds. Oh well, can’t have everything, I guess.