"Fit for the Scum of the Universe"
Movie tie-in. What more do I need say to sum up Men in Black: Alien Crisis? If you're looking for a game that breaks down the stereotype of games that tie into popular blockbusters, you won't find it here in this wipeout of an attempt to ride the wave made by Men in Black 3.
In a plot not at all connected to the movie, MIB: Alien Crisis foregoes setting you in the iconic roles of Agents J and K, and instead casts you as one Peter Delacouer, a discredited-archeologist-turned-art-thief who ends up between a group of aliens and the Men in Black. Somehow he avoids getting his memory wiped and ends up becoming an agent himself. Oh, an alien civil war and Egyptian mythology are mixed in, somehow.
To be honest, I can't recall all the details of the plot, which only goes to show how much of a bore it is, with story twists and character types that have been done to death and zombiefied. You have the wisecracking hero of semi-ill repute, the no-nonsense female partner / eventual love interest, and a sleazy and eccentric villain, not to mention the big twist where the big bad guy turn out to be someone closer to the hero than expected. It's been done a thousand times before, and Men in Black: Alien Crisis does naught to freshen it up or make it worth paying attention to.
While it would be bad enough to have to put up with just a dull plot, Alien Crisis offends further with graphics that look like they were torn from 2003 and cliché voice acting and dialogue filled with cliché and occasionally downright ridiculous lines ("You hear me, I'm going to pump you full of… explosive fireball thingies!") that tax one's patience. I never knew I could cringe at the sound of my own name before playing this game.
I haven't even gotten to the gameplay yet, but I will now. The best way to sum up MIB: AC's gameplay is to call it one long, score-driven shooting gallery game where you have to shoot at aliens. Most levels are on-rails experiences, moving you forward once you kill every alien on the screen and giving you only enough control to move from one hiding spot to another as you try to avoid getting shot. In keeping with that shooting-gallery feel, killing enemies yields you points, and taking them out in various ways increases your score multiplier, meaning more points.
In the battle against the scum of the universe, you have six firearms (like a pistol, a crossbow, a machine-gun, etc.), as well as six attachments (an energy shield, a freeze ray, a ray that traps enemies in bubbles, etc.). You can combine any weapon with any attachment, for a number of battle combinations. Unfortunately, the weapons themselves are a tad unvaried, and in most cases there is little reason to switch between guns once you've found your preferred firearm (except when you run out of ammo).
Some deviation in the gameplay comes in the form of stealth missions which pretty much have you shooting like you normally do, except at camera and guards; car chase sequences where you fly through the air Star Fox-style (that is to say, the car flies in this game), shooting things and avoiding obstacles; and the occasional on-foot bits where you need to play sleuth and walk around a small area while chatting with people and searching for clues.
Frankly put, there is little good to say about playing Men in Black: Alien Crisis. The on-rails gameplay, while it can result fun in the occasional moments of intensity, feels cheap and designed to save money. Aiming, for the most part, works decently, though the reticule can become hard to see against some backgrounds, making it hard to see what you're shooting. Not only that, there were times when it seemed like my shots weren't being registered, forcing me to shoot more times than necessary to take out enemies. This issue is even worse in the flying segments, where my shots seem to miss more than they hit. Also, don't get me started on the on-foot sleuth segments. I could go on a little tangent talking about how I was forced to walk around bland areas at an annoyingly slow pace, only to end up forced to talk to people and be subjected to that dialogue I hate. Yes, I said hate.
Thankfully, the story mode of Men in Black: Alien Crisis only lasts a few hours. Unfortunately, the bonus modes (which range from a time attack mode to a mode where up to 4 players can have a turn at trying for the highest score) put you through more of the same, and usually through the same levels that you automatically progressed through in the story mode. Here's the real kicker: the game does not save your high scores nor reward you for breaking records, virtually removing any reason to go back for more. That really sums up the game as a whole. It does nothing to convince you that it's worth picking up again after you've put it down.
It is with merciless indifference that I conclude this review of Men in Black: Alien Crisis. My closing words are these: longer yet must we wait before the stigma of really lame movie tie-in games fades into history. Just be thankful they didn't do this to The Avengers.
GameDynamo's Score for Men In Black: Alien Crisis (Wii)
A writer, journalist, and aspiring storyteller, Peter Grimm has been gaming since the days of the Nintendo 64, and reporting on the goings-on in the World of Gaming since late 2011. His base of writing operations is located within the void between Here and There, or so he would have you think.
[View Men In Black: Alien Crisis images / screenshots +]
[Watch Men In Black: Alien Crisis videos / trailers +]
[View more Men In Black: Alien Crisis articles (news, previews, reviews) +]
[View Men In Black: Alien Crisis cheats / guides +]
More from GameDynamo