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.

Hey girl, let's meet up at DANCING later tonight.

Using the analog stick, the PlayStation Move, or the Top Shot Elite, you slide your reticle around the screen to target your weak alien enemies. Baffingly, there is no way to invert your aim, so if you only have a controller and like your down to be up, you're out of luck. 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.

I CAN'T HEAR YOU!

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
Short and overpriced
No way to invert aiming
2.5
Terrible
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Men in Black: Alien Crisis

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

107 comments
jamesl1992
jamesl1992

I saw this in Asda and it's still £17 i am going to buy it and return it.

dnguyen3
dnguyen3

I got the "The Bad" and what about the "The Good"?.... oh right......

NightFox313
NightFox313

Sure am surprised to see that the user score nearly matches Sir Watters' review score. I thought this would end up like Street Cleaning Simulation, Revelations 2012, and Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing.

CanadianCamaro
CanadianCamaro

The video even made me bored.... So far the only movie tie in game I like is LoTR: War in the North, which puts this piece of crap to shame.

Jyakotu
Jyakotu

And this is why it's against my gamer religion to buy video games based off movies.

AQWBlaZer91
AQWBlaZer91

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

canuckbiker
canuckbiker

I elect this should be it's own game of the year edition, you can't improve upon perfection. Good old sarcasm, it chokes back the black rage.

CruiserCaptain
CruiserCaptain

Eck! I couldn't even watch the full video embedded in this article... one of the worst games I have seen in a long time. How do these things even get made? Don't they know by now that Movie games never make it. I honestly can't think of one that was even worth it...? There has to be at least one person in their production business that is a gamer and would just say: "Hey this is crap. Seriously, if you are going to do this, make it worth something... any thing other than crap."

 

I feel bad for the random kids that will get this game as a gift. Hopefully they are too young to know any better.

Trickymaster
Trickymaster

I wouldn't even get it if it was for free. lol

monicker
monicker

There is a reason these games always suck so much, actually 2 reasons. Budget and Schedule. Some poor producer gets one of these turkey projects dumped in their lap, so they have to rush it through production, with limited time and money to pay artists and engineers and QA (All of whom are most likely also working on real projects). The film and game companies don't care about quality control, the film company just wants a quickie cash grab tie-in and the game companies always know that the bar of expectations are extremely low.

 

It takes someone special in charge somewhere to take an interest and invest a little extra in a good movie tie in game.

pozium
pozium

This is now the worst review of a game yet. Actually, just from the pics, you can actually see the shabby graphics of the game. In a period of ACIII, Watch dogs, Tombraider, its really sad. This is one of those times that I prey that a game dosen't make it to pc

mehrdad19872010
mehrdad19872010

I would like to watch Chris break down this game to horrible little pieces that it consists of in a video review. That would be hilarious.

Telekenesis123
Telekenesis123

Reviews for games this badneed video reviews for the hilarity value. 

fanaticsm
fanaticsm

i bought this game for $1 :D

Barracuda54
Barracuda54

Man oh man, To anyone who blew full price on this game, haven't you learned that there is no such thing as a good video game from a movie tie-in? Would NEVER buy a MTI video game no matter how good it is, not worth the money or the risk.

TheSpartan777
TheSpartan777

personally they could have done more with an MIB inspired arcade shooter like this.I'm sure you guys can come up with a list of ideas.

HardcoreX360
HardcoreX360

why must every game based on a movie be terrible

so_hai
so_hai

It's only apt that the unsold copies be stored in Will Smith's emptied pool, Tommy Lee Jones can bomb-dive into it naked... Now THAT'S entertainment.

andibahamut
andibahamut

yes, i agreed to gamespot review, its soooooooooooooooo terrible! please everybody do not to buy this game!!

 

Roger_Smith
Roger_Smith

So good to see activision hasn't forgotten to make horrific movie games.

calvinsora
calvinsora

Though this game most certainly sucks, along with MOST movie tie-in games, people tend to massively exaggerate when it comes to these sorts of games. Sure, there are very few good ones, but Harry Potter 1 for the PC, Goldeneye, LotR: Twin Towers, many SNES platformers from various developers etc. For recent examples, just look at Alice in Wonderland on the DS, Toy Story 3 on PS3/360 and Ghostbusters for the same platforms.

vivalatour
vivalatour

the graphics look like a rubbermaid product and they should have

 kept the lid on !

tigertaru
tigertaru

I'm actually disappointed in Chris Watters for actually playing the game just to review this.  In fact, I'll give a properly re-edited review below: 

 

           This game is a movie tie-in (and a mediocre film at that). 

            Therefore it sucks.  Score: 1.0

 

See how easy that was?  Why torture yourself Chris? 

smg951
smg951

 @CanadianCamaro

 i agree war in the north is a great game about halfway through and i have no regrets about getting it.

jamyskis
jamyskis

 @CruiserCaptain Quantum of Solace (ironically by Activision, the James Bond ones seem to be the only ones they can get right), Scott Pilgrim, The Godfather, Spiderman 2, LOTR: Return of the King, Aladdin, various Star Wars games, Riddick, King Kong, The Warriors, X-Men Origins Wolverine.

CruiserCaptain
CruiserCaptain

 @pozium

 No, wait, I think you can go into the reviews here, for all platforms, just look at the scores, go to the lowest and watch away. There's some pretty terrible games out there. Some PC Work Truck "Sim" where you drive a street sweeper. I think that was the worst review I ever saw. The bad reviews are great to watch. I was hoping this one had one when I saw the score.

 

tigertaru
tigertaru

 @Barracuda54 Anyone buying this full price are probably parents who's little boy/girl love MIB and really want to play a game about it.  I don't think any self respecting gamer would pay full price for something like this.  I think the only time a gamer buys something like this is when it's in the bargain bin (I mean the $5 to $2.99 bin, not the $20 one) and figures it would be good for a laugh since it's so bad. 

Katmando4Life
Katmando4Life

 @Roger_Smith They didn't make it. Beenox actually made it. Oh well, people will see what they want to see.

Katmando4Life
Katmando4Life

 @calvinsora To be fair, Ghostbusters wasn't based on either of the movies. It was written as a sequel, something that Dan Aykroyd has said as well. Still a fun game, though!

so_hai
so_hai

 @calvinsora

 Are you sure? The ratio of good/bad licensed games seems far lower than in non-licensed games.

 

Also, games from films that are good seem to be given extra attention that a non-film game might not get. This is because they are so uncommon.

Katmando4Life
Katmando4Life

 @tigertaru Good thing they didn't do that when they reviewed GoldenEye or the Chronicles of Riddick games.

CruiserCaptain
CruiserCaptain

 @jamyskis

 yeah, exactly, they're all crap. any that stand out are usually because the are from a franchise base and not really a direct movie tie-in. StarWars? c'mon... that's own damn industry,that isn't direct movie tie-in.

pozium
pozium

 @CruiserCaptain come to think of it, there was a game known as Revelations 2012. Looked really really bad

tigertaru
tigertaru

 @Katmando4Life Well congratulations on mentioning only 2 good movie tie-in games out of a million lol.  Though technically the Riddick games aren't tie-ins to the movie, since they weren't released near the release dates of the films, and they're more like individuals stories of the chr. 

maddog123
maddog123

 @Black_dragon55 I know it is, I've just never seen it spelled that way. That's what made it funny to me.

wizardboyus
wizardboyus

it is unplayably bad watch kevin vanords video review its hilarious @pozium 

tigertaru
tigertaru

 @wizardboyus I don't need a google list to convince me that there are some good movie tie-in games.  What gamers need are for the exorbitant amount of mediocre to horrific movie tie-in games to not exist.  The problem is that a majority of movie tie-in games are something thrown out in rushed development so that it can be out near the film release.  And most of them aren't made for the sake of making a good game off a good franchise, but they're just another marketing/merchandising tool for the film. 

tigertaru
tigertaru

 @The_Prisoner I stand corrected, I didn't recall that CoR was released at the same time as Butcher Bay.  I was thinking of it as a tie-in to Pitch Black since it's a prequel (or rather not a tie-in since the game and Pitch Black were years apart). 

wizardboyus
wizardboyus

 @tigertaru ther eare more good movie tie in games, but n one is gonna make a big list off of google to convince you...

The_Prisoner
The_Prisoner

 @Katmando4Life Actually, Escape from Butcher Bay (the first CoR game) was released at the same time as CoR, June of 2004.

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