Alias Review

The Alias TV series requires its viewers to pay attention to keep track of all of the characters and their dealings and double-dealings, and if you miss a show or two you can quickly become pretty lost.  Because of this, Alias the game is primarily aimed at fans of the television series.  The game does not provide anything in the way of background story or character information, so gamers who have never seen the show would be hopelessly confused.  This may be a good thing though, as Alias has its share of issues and only hardcore fans of the show would have the patience to see the game through until the end.

Alias is designed as a stealth action game in which you take the role of Agent Sydney Bristow in a series of missions similar to those appearing on the show.  I say “designed” because it doesn’t really succeed at either stealth or action.

When you are trying to stay out of sight, you can press a button to go into a stealth mode.  While in this mode you will walk hunched down when in the open and will press yourself against walls and other vertical surfaces.  You can also employ special vision modes that give you an infrared view or that allow you to identify the location nearby enemies and see the cone of vision of any nearby security cameras.  When patrolling enemies are nearby, the game sometimes switches in a multi-window mode that lets you keep tabs on nearby guards which is a cool feature.

Of course the idea behind all of this is that it is better to stay out of sight than be detected and have to fight your way out of the situation.  While the stealth controls are adequate, the real problem is that they are not really necessary.  Detection will result in an attack by two or three guards at the most, even when a guard sets off an alarm bell.  You can even get into a gun battle with a couple of enemies in an open area teeming with guards and the nearby guards will be completely unaware of the noise and gunfire.  Even after you’ve been detected, alarms have been raised, and a pile of bodies has been created, you can still walk into the next room as if nothing has happened.  In addition to these problems, the AI is so basic and braindead that it is not hard to escape detection when running straight through a room from end to end.  Once you figure out that there’s no compelling need to sneak around in stealth mode and that there aren’t any real consequences to being detected, you’ll pretty much dispense with the whole stealth side of the game and not even bother.