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License to thrill
Aliens of Gold is the first in a pair of low-rent but enjoyable Wolfenstein 3D-style shooters and while it might not be as memorable as its rivals like Doom, it remains a fun experience. It's got that very familiar look to it, similar to other shooters from the period, and a fairly engaging plot to go alongside the action-packed run 'n' gun gameplay. Here, you take control of Blake Stone, a sort of futuristic James Bond-style agent (shades also of Rick Dangerous 2, but without the quiff) who finds himself up against a classic power-mad insane genius who wants to unleash a wave of mutants on the world. The game itself is split into chapters, and each one sees you pursuing the mad doc through a series of sci-fi environments while blasting your way through his seemingly endless hordes of mutants and other assorted enemies. There's the usual array of weapons to pick up, including some very innovative ones for the period, such as silenced guns which introduce an element of stealth to proceedings. While Blake Stone has undoubtedly been overshadowed by its better known rivals, it does retain a certain degree of charm which makes it worth adding to the collection of any serious shooter fan. The visuals are quite nice, in that nineties way, with some nicely detailed environments and some lovely chunky character design. The levels look a bit uniform, making it a little confusing to navigate them at times, so do expect to do some exploring alongside the blasting. Overall, this is a decent enough little game, but there's a reason it's not as famous as other games from the period, so don't go in expecting too much.
Simple shooter in an alien infested corridor setting
Much like Wolf 3D, the game sports no look up or down. Instead, you are confined to a linear, back and fort, left to right shooter, with a space story and an vengeful main character. Blake Stone: Alien of gold looks just a hint better than what Wolf 3D and the like have taught us about such corridor shooters. Many of the tiles of the maze like environments are used over and over again, which at times can lead to the player becoming lost. The aliens are sprite based, many of them with only one frame of animation, left to right, thus always facing you. Therefore, in order to win you have to be the first one to shoot, while timing your shooting around the areas where you can hide, corners, doors and so on. So, if you ever wanted to try out a game that is simple, the simplest shooter 3D mechanics, Blake Stone is sure going to quench the thirst. If, however, you want an enticing story to back the action up, forget it, this is not going to make the cut! Therefore, be warned this is a good time spending, but definitely no classic. On the plus side, there are multiple episodes to choose from, so you can keep playing for as long as your heart desires.
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