CodeRED: Alien Arena popped up on The Linux Game Tome this week I didn't really give it a second thought at first. With Thursday looming and nothing more entertaining to write about, I figured I'd give it a go. The idea was sent back to the factory due to a recall when I realized that this game was being brought to us by the fine folks behind Alteria. Yes, that Alteria.
Then again, I figured, there were no other options. On with the show. The download is around 130 megs or so which, while not the most pleasant way to spend an afternoon, is still within the realm of possibility for dialup users. As I prepared to launch the game, the terrors of Alteria were still undulating inside my mind. Lovecraftian visions of bad gameplay and worse voice acting - causing nightmare and reality to exist, to me, as one nauseating... OK, I think you get it.
At least I can say CodeRED: Alien Arena is much better than Alteria. Its sense of style is probably the strongest thing Alien Arena has going for it. There's a sort of colorful cartoony sci-fi look permeating the maps, and the characters follow suit. The sounds follow the same theme, but they're sort of a weak point when it comes to weapons. Some weapon sounds fit well, but the vast majority just don't carry the power or impact you're looking for.
Even though it's main focus is net play, there is a single player mode of sorts where you square off against bots. To Alien Arena's credit, the bots aren't too bad. It's a good thing they're included too, since I had no luck finding a server with more than 2 other players. One issue I have with the single player portion, though, is that you can't pick and choose which maps you want to play, but instead have to complete them in order. It gives more of a campaign feel, but I'd prefer to try out maps whenever I wanted.
You may notice that under the Linux Game Tome entry, there are quite a few people being fairly loud about the fact that the only GPL'd part of Alien Arena is the engine, ie. all the art and maps are not. I felt I'd warn you, in case you're the type of person that takes these issues very seriously. All in all - CodeRED: Alien Arena is no Alteria, but it just didn't really appeal to me. I like it a whole lot more than Nexuiz, but I can say with quite a bit of certainty that I probably won't be playing it much, if at all. Your mileage may vary.