Thursday, 11 December 2014

#27daysofgames Day 11 – Old Game still played – Intruder


When I was younger, there weren’t the variety of games available that there are now, there weren’t the variety of players available, so a lot of the games that were put out there were calibrated so that you could play them by yourself on the assumption that you either didn’t have friends close...

Or you didn’t have friends...

How times have changed...

One of my favourite game publishers at the time was Task Force Games, because all the games they did were balanced and fair in a number of ways, they were designed to work both in single player and multiple player modes, and each of them took an idea that was well known at the time, such as a lone warrior making their way across a map or a barbarian in search of treasure and riches, but the one that made the most interest for me was a game called Intruder...

As you can see from the cover, it may well have been based on a film you’re familiar with...



Intruder was a simple game, something unknown had found its way on to the ship (which in a move of remarkable meta gaming was called the Prometheus) and had started killing its way through the crew, if you didn’t get to it quickly, it mutated, got stronger, faster, meaner, harder to kill and in general, significantly more unpleasant.  There were a number of other complications in the game, such as the science division not letting you kill it at the beginning (no surprise there then...) and the higher powered weapons (Blasters, flamethrowers, and electric prods, naturally) needing to be researched before you could actually use them, so no running to the weapons cabinet when you’re on a science vessel, you’ve got to figure it out and then build it.



Played as a single game, it was often best to separate the crew and see if you could find the beast before it started to change and get larger and stronger, the main reason for which was because in the lower stages of evolution, it might not attack, and anyone carrying a cage might manage to keep it trapped.  The entire criteria for winning the game was that all the Intruders on the board (one of the potential complications was that the Intruder could make copies) are either neutralised or killed depending on the stage of the game.   Once the Intruder started to change to other stages of evolution, it became far harder to subdue but you then got the option to try and bring it down with more direct methods.

What made it more complex was the fact that the Prometheus was a research ship that was picking up random animal specimens, all of which got loose when the Intruder broke out.  Quite a few animal specimens, which when you find them, may look like this...



But when you start playing the game, look like this...


As a two player game, it rapidly became a chase where the Intruder player looked to isolate a crew member without a weapon and then begin its evolution from there.  Far more interesting as a two player game, the mechanics for the game in single player mode still made for interesting playing and covered every aspect of the film that it was based on (Alien for those still guessing), making for an excellent game experience all around.



Somehow, they never got sued for use of imagery, ideas, or concept, I suppose it was back in the days when people didn’t get lawsuit happy when there was no real damage being done to the IP of the main product, and there’s since been a version of the game made that uses the same map (slightly shinier), same game system (slightly updated), and same ideas (Not at all changed), which is available online in both print and play formats and the version that comes in a box with real counters.

And either way, one of the better monster hunt games out there.

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