Men in Black: Alien Crisis Review

Ugly, boring, and brazenly priced, MIB: Alien Crisis is an absolute embarrassment.

The bad old days of movie tie-in games are back. MIB: Alien Crisis is an on-rails third-person shooter that is boring to play and ugly to look at. The musty dialogue fails to reproduce any of the charm of the movie franchise, and you can see everything the game has to offer in the span of an afternoon. This creaky relic of the past retails for full price in the present, making it one of the most shamelessly exploitative games in recent memory.

You play as a disgraced archaeologist turned art thief turned man in black, Agent P, who joins the agency after stealing an alien artifact for the villain, the improbably named Emilio Chauncy. Agent P's sardonic attitude is clearly modeled after Agent J (played by Will Smith in the movies), but his attempts at witty irreverence fall flat. The by-the-book female agent you pair up with is a bland foil for jokes about authority and increasingly flirtatious banter, but the hackneyed writing utterly fails to capture the humorous juxtaposition of nonchalance in the face of the bizarre that serves the movies so well.

With the hope of humor dashed, you are left to rely on spectacle and gameplay. Alas, Alien Crisis is an unattractive game that would have looked dated years ago. Homely character models waggle their mouth holes during cutscenes, and the barren backgrounds offer precious little distraction. Action sequences are a visual mess of bright, blurry projectiles and explosions, and your clumsy-looking alien enemies are covered in a milky sheen.

There's nary an echo of the slick visual style of the movies, and so you are left with the gameplay. As in most light-gun shooters, you progress automatically to the next point in the level when you defeat all the enemies at your current point. At any given location you can jog between two or three cover positions or just hang out in the open and fire away. Moving is a good way to avoid grenades and get a better angle on some enemies, but you can usually clear most foes from a stationary position.

Glowing yellow weak spots and still this size? Explain that, Darwin!

Using the analog stick or the Top Shot Elite, you slide your reticle around the screen to target your weak alien enemies (Note: There is no in-game way to invert your aim, but it will honor your Xbox profile preferences). Your small arsenal consists of a few unremarkable guns (the iconic noisy cricket being an explosive exception), as well as a few attachments that add a bit of variety. You can freeze an enemy and shatter him, use an antigravity grenade to lift a group of foes into the air, or slow down time temporarily. The most versatile attachment lets you encase enemies or innocent bystanders in a bubble that you can then shoot it to make it bounce around the area and kill foes.

Yet even with mildly interesting attachments, it's all very boring. Enemies move at an unhurried pace through open spaces, making it easy to spot and eliminate them. You face only about a half dozen different foes, who perform the same few actions (take cover, shoot, reposition), so repetition quickly sets in. By using attachments or spamming your scoped weapon, you can increase your score multiplier and drive your score even higher, but seeing bigger numbers pop out of downed enemies doesn't make the dull action more lively.

When you aren't shooting away willy-nilly, there are short stealth sections in which you must shoot security cameras and trap baddies in bubbles. Wait for the cone of vision to pass, shoot the camera, bubble the alien, move on. Inconsistent detection means you might get caught doing the thing you got away with moments before, but frequent checkpoints keep these setbacks from being more than mildly irritating. Car chases through (or rather, above) the streets of New York City provide some faster-paced action that, while inoffensive, is far from exciting.

Which of the seven party guests should you talk to first?

Other attempts at gameplay variety are more irksome because they drag on much longer. Investigation sequences have you walking around a small area at a snail's pace, hovering your scanner reticle over anything that glows. This could have been a good place to bring in some humor or fantastical alien mythology, but save one or two interesting descriptions, the writing and dialogue here are as lifeless as elsewhere. Ditto for the conversation sections. The occasional choices you must make are neither interesting nor impactful, leaving you to wait through lengthy dialogue, desperate for a humorous morsel that never comes.

Despite this padding, you can complete the story mode in about three hours. There are timed challenges with target scores to shoot for, and you can run these split-screen with a friend or take turns competing with up to four players locally. But this is the same bland shooting action from the story mode, and the prospect of competition does little to enhance it.

All of this boredom and blandness is exacerbated by the fact that MIB: Alien Crisis frequently subjects you to loading times in excess of 30 seconds, leaving you to wonder what exactly it's working so hard on. But perhaps the most egregious offense is that the game is currently retailing for full price. Even with the included voucher for money toward a movie ticket that may or may not be redeemable in your area, this is a shockingly high price. Fortunately, it makes your decision easy: Don't buy this game.

The Good
N/A
The Bad
Dull shooting
Poor attempts at variety
Dusty, dated visuals
Very short
Very overpriced
2.5
Terrible
About GameSpot's Reviews
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About the Author

/ Staff

With his Apple IIGS as the spark and his neighbor's NES the fuel, Chris Watters' passion for gaming caught fire early. Years later, you can find him aiming down virtual sights, traipsing through fantastical lands, and striving to be grossly incandescent while desperately avoiding sunburns.

Discussion

50 comments
pistolscope
pistolscope

Riddick was pretty sweet.  How do studios approve these butt-awful games based on their movies?  No one must play them before they get dumped on the undeserving audience.

ssorrekrab
ssorrekrab

@chriswaters Thanks Chris for once again wading into the fetid U bend of gaming to protect our wallets.  You never know one day you might find a pearl down there.

hamebone123
hamebone123

wow....didn't we learn anything from the last MIB game. simply horrible.

blastmaster2k2
blastmaster2k2

This game is bad for a console game but would be alright for a cellphone/tablet game though.

AtariKidX
AtariKidX

horrible game.Even me i can make a better game than this...lol

p4kman88
p4kman88

this is for people who want the virual interactive experience of a "spoiler alert".

Melbour
Melbour

Thanks for those 1997 PS1 graphics

cephas90
cephas90

Last good game based on a movie was Riddick.  I don't expect to see another in my lifetime.

staggermann
staggermann

Why do they continue to make games based on movies. They always seem to suck, wonder how they make any money on these.

da2g
da2g

I don`t know why I wasted my time to read this review :D

FuriousHamst3r
FuriousHamst3r

This game looks and sounds very bad. I'm even embarrassed of having read the review, even though Chris Waters is a great reviewer.

AQWBlaZer91
AQWBlaZer91

Another bad movie to game tie in. I'm not surprised.

exiledwolfx1x
exiledwolfx1x

lol played this in game yesterday actually, and lets just say.... it is awful absolute pile of "insert animal" manure!

Benifited
Benifited

i wonder were all the gamespot sucks ppl are at for this one.  i love comments like " he didnt even explain why the game sucks"

xdrmonkeyfishx
xdrmonkeyfishx

I know that movie tie in games always suck. But this one looks especially bad. No good section?

poopinpat
poopinpat

lol, not even worth reading the review beyond the score and the intro.  Looks to be well summarized.

jas-x5
jas-x5

Why did they make this game ??

 

Kakaroti4
Kakaroti4

Another gem from Activi$ion. 

Petnos
Petnos

Another testament to why games based off movies should be avoided.

I for one am very thankful that editors and reviewers are willing to take the plunge into diarrhea like this just to make ABSOLUTELY sure that we don't want it.

Y'know, just in case it's actually good.

Drakillion
Drakillion

Another bad movie-tie in game.

 

I LOL'd when I saw there wasn't even a "The Good" section, just "The Bad". That says something before you read the review thta's for sure!

moonlightwolf01
moonlightwolf01

I guess what that Activision CEO said about movie games still being viable is true. They're a very viable means of stealing money from kids and their parents. Well done Activision.

Chronicgamer
Chronicgamer

Why do most games based on movies suck? Developers must make money off of the game some how or they wouldn't bother to make it.

vsnake48
vsnake48

But hey? what did you expect from an arcade game?... Wait -  this is a full priced actual game!?!? 

 

...huh. 

CUDGEdave
CUDGEdave

I can see this duffer in the bargain bins next week!

TheDudeman420
TheDudeman420

Man this is so goddamn disappointing! Men in Black has all the ingredients for a great IP, but its sad how its being misused! Another cheap and shoddy movie tie-in, thrown out to the world for a quick buck! WHEN WILL PEOPLE GIVE US WHAT WE DESERVE...a good game that does justice to alien murdering!

DriftEJ20
DriftEJ20

 @revolution_sd I flipped and had to look it up. What exactly did you mean by "they cancelled Sleeping Dogs" because as far as I can see it's still moving along fine.

MJ12-Conspiracy
MJ12-Conspiracy

Wow, 2.5 that is terrible....I feel sorry for anyone unlucky enough to play this.....

syler4815162342
syler4815162342

I remember playing it long time ago and it was a great game like to try  this one

Ripper_TV
Ripper_TV

Yeah, Activision will order GS to fire Chris. And they will, like the last time. 

vico3353
vico3353

 @cephas90 Ignore that idiot, he obviously never played the original game  for the first Xbox. Athena was garbage but the original was a work of art. Doing something new all the way to the end, nothing repetitive about it.

suplax
suplax

 @cephas90 LOL Riddick game was good? ROFL , good joke bro.

BlazeODU
BlazeODU

 @jas-x5 

the same reason they made the Battleship video game. Because they want your money and they're willing to sucker in the naive crowd who don't know better to do it.

demonhellcat
demonhellcat

 @suplax I'll back up cephas, the first Riddick game on the original xbox was very good, probably better than the Chronicles of Riddick movie.  I can't say about the newer game, never played it.

Swedenik
Swedenik

 @driftingsilvia It is stealing because parents don't know jack about games and they'll say "Hey, my kid loved the men in black movie so Im sure he'll love this game". Then the kid gets the worst gift ever. Their tricking dumb parents!! lol

Men in Black: Alien Crisis

  • Wii
  • PlayStation 3
  • Xbox 360
  • 3DS
Men in Black: Alien Crisis is an on-rails third-person shooter in which you blast aliens as a new recruit.
ESRB
Teen
All Platforms
Check out even more info at the Men in Black: Alien Crisis Wiki on Giantbomb.com