Scurge: Hive (Gameboy Advance)

by PaulEMoz

I did get barely started on this game once before, only to put it down and forget about it. It's been nagging at me ever since, and so I thought I'd pick it up and give it a decent run.

Scurge:Hive continues in the vein of placing a classic older game in an isometric 3D setting. In this case, if you could imagine what an Alien Syndrome RPG might be like, you'd be pretty close to the mark.

I expect that sounds like quite an exciting prospect. And indeed, Scurge: Hive does a really good job of giving you a modern Alien Syndrome-type experience. There's not as much out-and-out blasting as you would find with Alien Syndrome, but that's not to say you won't often find yourself mobbed by hordes of crazed lifeforms. You most certainly will. But you do get a chance to explore, there are puzzles to solve (often quite simple ones), things to climb, and stats to upgrade.

That last bit isn't as daunting or off-putting as it might sound. You level up automatically, and it basically appears as though your life points increase each time you level up. That's about it, and that's good.

Looking after your health is one thing you'd expect, but there's a more interesting mechanic at play here. At the beginning of the game, your spaceship is attacked and your character becomes infected with the Scurge. If this ever reaches 100%, you die. Luckily, once you leave your ship, there are cleansing units (which also act as save points) available throughout the game which reset the level of infection to zero, but the moment you leave one of these the infection starts to build again.

It can occasionally lead to frustration though... there are moments where you get a bit stuck as to what you're meant to do next, and you have to forlornly trudge back to cleanse the infection without having actually done anything. And to add a bit to this frustration, the enemies respawn every time you enter the room. I can imagine there's a large group of people that would be really annoyed by this.

Still, that aside, Scurge:Hive is a very enjoyable and very tense sci-fi shooter, which builds a fantastic atmosphere and throws new challenges and enemies at you at regular intervals. In fact, I'm tempted to look out for a cheap copy of the DS version now. Wonder if I could write about the game tgwice?