Men in Black II: Alien Escape
Game Info
Platform(s)
PS2, GC
Publisher
Infogrames
Developer
Melbourne House
Genre
Action/Shooter
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Blood, Comic Mischief, Violence
 
Grade
The Good

• Contra-style shooter gameplay
• Simple control scheme

The Bad

• Neither looks nor sounds like Jones and Smith
• Poorly implemented gameplay aspects
• Too short

 
Grade
D+

In Men In Black II: Alien Escape, you play as either Agent J or Agent K, who must fight to keep earth same from "the scum of the universe". Oddly enough, this game has nothing to do with Men in Black II's story. Some years ago, a prison ship was on it's way to crashing into the sun, but a meteor struck it, causing the ship to crash land into the ocean. When the ship was found, the prisoners had escaped. Agent J and K are brought in to find them and take care of them.

MIB2's gameplay at it's base core is a standard Contra-style shooter brought into the 3D world. You blast your way, from room to room, through legions of aliens with an assortment of guns, collecting various powerups to increase health, firing rate and even gaining an all powerful bomb attack. Enemies materialize and attack you en masse, leaving you with the dire need to do a lot of shooting and dodging. When you pick up powerups for the weapons, you'll need to be careful because one hit will cause you to drop them.

The controls for this game, in essence should be fairly simple - the analog stick moves you in relation to the camera, the X button is for firing and you can use L1 and R1 to strafe. But, once you see it implemented, the controls become hard by way of implementation. Since the control is based on the camera angle, everytime the camera moves, your character's direction changes with it. For the most part, this is okay, but in areas where the camera moves around, like in corners of a room, it severely effects what you're doing. Also, when in the middle of a firefight, your best bet is just to strafe from left to right. Controlling with the analog stick will only leave you getting hit more than you want to. And, with their only being one attack button, you're sure to wear the X button down before too long.

There seems to be just a number of fundamental things left out that would have made the game not only easier, but more fun. First and foremost is the ability to make a quick turn around. Especially since you tend to get attacked from behind by spawning enemies. Also, some flair or just variety in the attacks would have been nice. Most of the weapons are fairly similar, just with different colored lasers. And the aiming mechanism is weak. You'll spend some time trying to get the character to aim at enemies above and below you.

Graphically, the game is average at best. It isn't the worst looking game and some of the visual effects are decent, but the overall feel of the game is very generic. None of the character models for the agents look anything like the real actors and the aliens seems fairly cookie-cutter. To be honest, I was hoping for something familiar from the movies. All I got was a game that looks okay, but could use a higher polygon count, better animation and a lot more variety. The locations look okay but the level design is weak. You won't find yourself too impressed by much of anything throughout the game.

Audio-wise.... well, the voice acting is a shame. Can't get Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith? Okay, let's get the guys who did the cartoon series. They're not available? Well, let's get two guys who sound almost nothing like Smith and Jones, or the cartoon voice actors. Then, let's throw in some forgettable music and the same few sound effects over and over again.

And if what was previously noted wasn't enough to deter you, here's some more to chew on - most of the game is needlessly difficult. Not challenging - that's good. I'm talking about worming your way through a maze of a level, having enemies spawn not only in front of you, but next to you and behind you. If you die, you rematerialize right where you fell, often in the middle of the crossfire that killed you and if you use up all your lives, you start the level over. This usually isn't too bad, unless you get wasted by the last alien 30 minutes into a level. And, then there's the crappy feature that forces you to hunt down every alien that you might have missed so you can finish the mission and be done with it. Can't these creatures at least follow you? Is the AI that poor that they have to stand around and wait for you to supposedly whoop their ass? Oh, and expect some lengthy load times from cutscenes to the menu to actual gameplay.

I can not, in good conscience, recommend Men in Black II: Alien Escape for anything outside of a rental. And that's only if you really love the movies. The game is short (5 missions which you can play through as either Agent J or K) and with the frustration level being fairly high and the overall quality being fairly average, you'll feel cheated if you actually bought it.

- - Vane

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