Alien Dominion: The Acronian Encounter

By Kieron Gillen on April 14th, 2010 at 12:40 pm.

DAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKA etc

DAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAK
AKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKD
AKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKA
DAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAK
AKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKD
AKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKA

DAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAK
AKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKD
AKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKA!…. and rest.

Alien Dominion: The Acronian Encounter is one of the most ill-named PC games of recent times. It sounds like an add on pack for AI War. More appropriate names would include Alien Dominion: Hyperdeath Space-biff, Alien Dominion: Lovely Genocide or – of course – Alien Dominion: DAKKADAKKADAKKA.

Playing the half-hour time-limited demo, I have fired over 20,000 bullets and wiped out over 100 enemy fighters. On the second level alone. I wiped out another 100 on the first, and was half way through the third with a death toll inching towards 50 or so. It is a point and click adventure. The puzzle being “exactly how many people can I kill today?”.

It’s a rail shooter, basically, taking the “pew-pew-pew! I’m in a turret” set-up of the bit when Han and Luke get behind the guns in Star Wars and transforming into the game. In play – mainly due to the mixed-production-quality and the pop-rock-metal soundtrack – it reminds me of Star Fleet. I am, indeed, Barry Hercules. Level starts. Ships come at you. You shoot them. They explode. For 10 minutes at a time.

I can’t remember a shooter so monomanical since Walker on the Amiga. It’s not as good, but there’s something happily demented about it. A lot of it comes from the simplicity. It also reminds me of the sort of thing Rage released in the late 90s – who, before the commercial-suicide glory of Hostile Waters, were best known for a string of shooters with little to recommend them other than really pretty explosions.

This has really pretty explosions. Watch it in action.

It’s not just mindless shooting. You collect resources which you can spend between levels and… okay, it really is just mindless shooting. I’d personally prefer the levels to be a little shorter, as the 10-minutes of holding down fire is going to make your fingers fall off. The biggest problem – apart from what comes directly from its nature – is the voice-acting. While the actual gunner you play is a passable impression of the TF2 Heavy’s passable impression of 80s Arnie, the other two voices aboard your ship appear to be generated from some speech synthesizer, which contrasts unfavourably against the impressive visual flair for an indie game.

It’s enormously repetitive, but I played it for the half hour and suspect if I didn’t have more work to do, I’d have thrown down the 8 quid, 12 dollars or 9 euros for the full version. It’s very silly. It is what your mum thinks videogames are like. I dig it.

You can buy the thing or get the demo from the site.

Where was I?

Oh yes.

DAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAK
AKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKD
AKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKA
DAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAK
AKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKD
AKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKA

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59 Comments »

  1. Surgeon says:

    That’s great kid, don’t get cocky…

  2. Shrewsbury says:

    Best lead-in ever.

  3. Mario Figueiredo says:

    >> DAKA

    Shooting blanks?

  4. Vitamin Powered says:

    *notices the dust clouds from shooting the asteroids at 1:07 *

    And…. SOLD!

  5. Starky says:

    Sneaky paraphrase of a Yahtzee joke in there (the point and click one), but that is okay, it was a good joke to paraphrase.

    Also

    Dakka.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Starky: Which one is that from? If it’s one I’ve seen, I’m removing it.

      KG

    • EthZee says:

      Don’t worry, I don’t think you’ve seen it.

    • Bhazor says:

      The only point and click ZP joke I can think of was from the Orange Box review.

      “Theres a role for everyone regardless of whatever games you like. The heavy for damage soaking thickies. The spy for back stabbing stealth playing dirtbags and the sniper for people who play point and click adventure games. Albeit the only puzzle is use gun on man to view contents.”

    • the wiseass says:

      @Kieron: You don’t like Yahtzee?

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Wiseass: No, I like Yahtzee. I don’t like accidentally plagiarizing jokes.

      KG

    • the wiseass says:

      Makes sense. Thanks for the reply ;)

    • DXN says:

      I have to say, I did also think of Yahtzee’s jab at TF2 snipers. But it elicited no indignant outrage!

  6. nabeel says:

    That looks really nice, gonna have a try.

  7. Purple0limar says:

    Wait, this isn’t 40K.

  8. Starky says:

    The orange box one, 2:55 in
    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation/10-The-Orange-Box

    “And the sniper for people who like point and click adventure games, although admittedly the only puzzle is use gun on man”

    No need to remove it though, just mark it down as good minds think alike, hell I’d not be shocked if that joke existed long before Zero Punctuation was a youtube vid done by some unknown bloke.

  9. robrob says:

    The voices remind me of fan-made Freespace 2 campaigns which are either eerily silent or feature those rage-inducing synthesised voices.

  10. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    This actually most reminds me of the Beachhead games, which were even more about the DAKA-DAKA-DAKA mindless shootery.

    Tracking down their website, it’s amusing to find their “motto”:

    Make it real, using breakthrough technology, realism, and meticulous attention to detail. The interest is the human experience and our choice is to make games that are intense and engaging, and offer real-world themes that matter. Digital Fusion engages the mind, body, and soul–in the past, throughout history, in the present or the future.

    If you wonder what it would “really” be like to…
    …we would like to take you there.

    • Hypocee says:

      Dunno which Beachhead I played, but I remember quite a lot of threat ordering and ammo management. Granted, this looks to involve lots of threat evaluation too.

  11. JuJuCam says:

    Kinda makes me wonder why you should have to hold down the fire button at all. It should be a toggle-state if anything. Click to fire, click again to stop firing.

    • user@example.com says:

      “click again to stop firing.”

      This game is perhaps not for you.

    • DMJ says:

      Indeed. It appears to be a game where you rebind the entire keyboard to “FIIIIIIIIRE!” and put it on the floor and play Dance Dance Revolution on it.

  12. JonFitt says:

    I think you need to activate the Death Blossom.

  13. Doth Messar says:

    I loves the DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA!

    • Chaz says:

      Whatever happened to RAT-TA-TA-TAT?

    • user@example.com says:

      SQUIG-A-SQUIG-A-SQUIG

    • westyfield says:

      MOAR DAKKA!

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      >> Whatever happened to RAT-TA-TA-TAT?

      Warhammer happened.

    • terry says:

      At school I seem to remember the appropriate noise being a sort of incessant repetition of the vowel sound A punctuated with mucus-inducing swoosh noises to simulate explosions. But these were the days where only one person in the village had seen war and he was deaf, and there was no TV and cattle drove backwards.

  14. Rob Hale says:

    Played the demo and it really is awesome. Bloody hard but the kind of hard you feel you could get much better at.

    also:

    I SHOOT LITTLE SHIP! AHAHAHA!

  15. Adz says:

    Haha, the extract came up in my RSS feeds and I just cracked up laughing. Nicely done.
    Anyway, as for the game, you’re right about the voices, just watching the video got annoying with Microsoft Mary unable to shut up. Other than that, it looks really fun :D

    • Xocrates says:

      The voices actually amused me, mostly because you have the gunner who SHOUTS EVERY SINGLE WORD, and the captain who speaks in a completely monotone emotionless style, like the fact that they’re about to die is a bit of a bummer while the biscuits are quite nice.

  16. grilly says:

    is there a mode where you are told to not shoot enemy ships if they don’t contain life signs?
    (c) george lucas , 1977

  17. westyfield says:

    Blood-pumping action? I gotta get me some o’ this!
    In the meantime, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heart

  18. kai says:

    It still needs more dakka.

  19. Radiant says:

    !Missed opportunity alert!

    It is a point and click adventure.
    The point being “exactly how many people can I kill today?”

  20. Dominic White says:

    ‘Meh’, says I, because i’ve got Sin & Punishment 2 on the Wii, which is THE best on-rails shooter ever made. There are areas where you can also rack up 100+ kill combos in the space of ten seconds, not ten minutes.

  21. Rich says:

    That’s some seizure inducing gun flash. I don’t even have epilepsy and my head now hurts.

  22. Alexander Norris says:

    The music is godawful; however, any excuse to shout NEEDS MOAR DAKKA is welcome.

    YOO CAN NEVER HAV’ ENUFF BOYZ, EYETH’R!

    • Grape Flavor says:

      The music is GREAT. It matches the tone of the game and the voice “acting” perfectly.

      *guitar solo* \m/ >:D I like this game, but unfortunately it probably IS what most people think videogames are like.

  23. l1ddl3monkey says:

    It sounds like.
    The onboard computer.
    Is related to.
    Stephen Hawking.

  24. Στέλιος says:

    That looks goodf I’ll have to try it.

    But can you stomp on little Lemming..err troops like in Walker?

  25. David says:

    ….Stargate?

  26. Monkeypeachy says:

    Is the music this good for the whole game? It would keep the Awesome flowing.

  27. Luchian says:

    Ahh. A mention of Starfleet. The first show I ever saw as a child (although I originally saw it in Italian!) I’m actually re-watching it now on DVD – showing the wife the wonder and terror of kids puppet shows. At this juncture Lamia has just been kidnapped and drooled over by Captain Orion and Commander Makara!

  28. Pus Filled Sac says:

    “It’s not just mindless shooting.”

    PASS.

    Then:

    “okay, it really is just mindless shooting.”

    I’ll give it a try then.

  29. Mario Figueiredo says:

    Downloaded the demo and played it. All 30 minutes.

    It’s crap. Sorry. The game blows. 30 minutes of pain.

    It’s not just the mindless shooting. It’s the mindless voice acting that really gets under my skin. I simply cannot ignore the female voices in this game. The AI’s sort of ok. But the commander’s (or whatever) gets in the way of my enjoyment in so many ugly ways, I feel like opening fire against my own ship… which, because this is an evil game, I can’t actually do.

  30. Wulf says:

    If this plays as fun as it looks, I can see me buying this and I all ready have too many games to play. I will admit though that the mere mental image of Sci-Fi TF2 is intoxicating.

    Get on it, Valve! The Engineer needs a shrink-ray!

  31. Jimbo says:

    I feel like this game should come bundled with a Voodoo 2 or something.

  32. Quasar says:

    Meh, not impressed.

    The gameplay is dull, consisting of firing a gun at stuff. This would be fine, if there was any degree of skill involved, or if it felt like your gun might be having an effect, but all you end up doing is pumping bullets in the general direction of the enemy until they explode.

    The voices have been discussed enough, and are crap.

    The most fun I had with the game was trying to dissect the music: It seems to be a mix between riffs from Judas Priest’s “Painkiller”, Wolfmother’s “Woman”, and a couple of Iron Maiden songs, with just a few notes changed to avoid legal trouble. Utter rubbish.

    • Quasar says:

      Oh, and the ‘Stargate’ was equally laughable, looking like, yet again, a slightly-edited rip off an ‘actual’ Stargate.

      Not sure there’s anything original or fun about this. Won’t be paying for it.

  33. Iain says:

    Click… ‘Splode!

    It’s what the people want.

    (With apologies to Warren Ellis for one of his memes that no-one else but me remembers)

  34. Wulf says:

    Well… I had a lot of fun with that, I really quite enjoyed myself. I’m not sure whether I’d buy it, yet, but I’m definitely considering it.

    I also recognise it’s bad, but… what, B-movies aren’t? Old Japanese giant robot cartoons* aren’t? This is bad, but it’s also entertaining and funny (sometimes unintentionally), which makes it loop back around to so bad it’s good. I wish the modern action movies I’d been dragged off to see were actually bad enough to be entertaining and funny, but they’re not, they’re just plain old bad. So blessed be the people who can make something that pushes my joy buttons. So to speak.

    The game seems to be having a laugh at its own expense, it’s very self-deprecating, especially with some of the interactions between the Commander and Sergei, and it invites me to laugh along with it. It’s not supposed to be a ballad, puzzle, or philosophical quandary, we have plenty of games for that (or at least I do, many of which seem to be installed on my HDD right now), but rather it’s just a bit of stupid fun. Like a B-movie, or an old Japanese robot cartoon.

    I’m pretty near sold on the concept anyway, the only deciding factor will be the price.

    * – At least before they went all pseudo-intellectual, religious, and/or emo. The older cartoons had a sense of wonder and fun, there was this sense of realisation there, the characters were larger than life, and they revelled in the glory of having giant robots at their command. There are a few modern incarnations of those modern cartoons though, like GaoGaiGar (which I invite everyone to watch), but it’s really not enough.

    These days it seems like almost every giant robot anime must have a God Armour with angel wings, a character who sulks in his room and talks about ending people, or some questionably written inner struggle (usually involving something political) in order to be aired on telly over there. And more’s the pity, really.

    I remember when giant robots were unafraid to shoot love/heart beams at their foes. But no one seems to want that any more. :<

    • Wulf says:

      I went ahead and bought this. After playing the demo, well, this is something I want to support and see more of.

    • Wulf says:

      Well, playing the demo again, rather. It’s fun!

      I miss that edit function, too, you know… and sometimes I’m too lazy to go back and   everything.

    • Ushao says:

      I heartily recommend Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. While it may have some of the cliche newer things you complain about in it, they’re kept to a minimum. There’s a great cast of giant robot pilots in it who revel in beating the tar out of their enemies utilizing ever larger mecha and increasingly ridiculous attacks.

      Also, any mech pilot who’s catch phrase is “Who the hell do you think I am!?” is an awesome one.

  35. Hyperion says:

    Hearing the gunner’s voice I almost thought he was going to say like

    *enemy ship explodes*
    SNAP INTO A SLIM JIM!
    HOOYEEAH!

  36. Ketura says:

    I don’t know why people are complaining about the music. It’s decent enough. The voices have already been beaten to death, so I’ll mention the one thing I thought was innovative yet broken, and that’s the HUD, or rather, the radar. The concept is good, the only thing I’d complain about is that the contrast between it and the environment leaves much to be desired. The second level was the only one I could use it on; on the first and third the little crosses get lost in either the sun or the wormhole around you (and another thing I could point out is that the ships outside the wormhole move as fast as you inside…I figured it would be like the sea current in Finding Nemo, but I guess not).

    Meh. It’s decent, I suppose….if I’m bored one day maybe I’ll fork out the ten bucks.