Our look back at the history games directly inspired by the Alien franchise.

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]lien: Isolation, as I’ve stated in my review, is quite possibly the best videogame based on the Alien franchise to date. It had a lot of competition for that title, though. Perhaps you’d like to take a look at those games? Well, I decided to find those games, friend. I decided to find them and, to the best of my ability, play them for you. There are tons, so I skipped a few.

I should mention that I’m trying to stick with “pure” Alien games with this list. Alien vs. Predator is a fantastic series, but everyone knows those games. If they don’t, they should rectify that problem pronto. Seriously, get out of here and go play those games. We’ll wait for you.

…Is that guy gone? Good. He was beginning to creep me out.

Anyway, let’s begin. We’ll go in chronological order, starting with…

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Alien – Atari 2600 (1982)

Ah, the Atari. The era that gave birth to video games as we know it. Did you know there was an Alien game for the Atari 2600? It’s a lot like Isolation, actually. You’re alone, there are things to collect, you’re trapped in a labyrinth, and there are tons of hungry aliens just waiting to munch on you. The things you collect are dots, and one special dot makes the aliens blue, so you can kill th—wait, isn’t that just Pac-Man?

Our look back at the history games directly inspired by the Alien franchise.

Yep! The first Alien game ever made was also one of the first copycat games ever made. Talk about low-effort cash-ins. To be fair, videogames weren’t as lucrative in those days as they are today, and silly things like “patent laws”, at least as they applied to video games, were unheard of.

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Alien – Commodore 64 (1984)

This game is interesting. It, ah… okay. I’m going to come clean. I have no idea what the hell is going on in this screenshot.

Our look back at the history games directly inspired by the Alien franchise.

The game has you wander around a ship, and occasionally you’ll run into an alien and some annoying beeping happens. That beeping, I assume, is 80’s video game language for “something is tearing out your entrails and feasting upon them, please get scared.”

Alright, I’m being a bit harsh. I’m sure, in its time, this game was pretty tense to play. Maybe. I’ll let you know if I ever figure out how it works.

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Aliens: The Computer Game – Commodore 64 (1986)

Our look back at the history games directly inspired by the Alien franchise.

This, here, was the original Colonial Marines. Just look at the dialogue in that screenshot. This game has full-on cutscenes, and they take the dialogue from Aliens almost word-for-word. What’s that? You didn’t want to watch some key scenes from the movie Aliens but in an ugly, pixilated format and with absolutely no sound whatsoever? Who the hell do you think you are? Do you even know what fun is???

You pick a weapon. An ugly weapon. You then fly a ship, the part of the game designed to kill off anyone with epilepsy (seriously, watch it in action in this random dude’s YouTube video).

Our look back at the history games directly inspired by the Alien franchise.

Here’s the game proper. You know what? They put the motion tracker in this game, and that’s pretty cool. The game itself is mostly just wandering around endless hallways and shooting aliens before they get to you. The game is ugly and clunky, but I suppose it’s fun enough. I didn’t get very far, but I’m not sure the game ever deviates away from this.

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Aliens – Arcade (1990)

This game, like all 90’s arcade games, is stupid as hell but surprisingly fun. It’s also hard. Like, impossible-hard. This game wanted you to cough up all of the quarters in your piggy bank if you ever hoped to see the end.

Our look back at the history games directly inspired by the Alien franchise.

The game is a pretty standard arcade scroller. You shoot hordes of aliens, get powerups like rocket launchers, fight over-powered bosses, and that’s…pretty much it. The last boss is a fight against the alien queen in one of those giant robot suits from the movie, so that’s pretty cool.

I’m…not sure what else to even say about it. Maybe it’ll hit Xbox Live Arcade someday. Wouldn’t that be something.

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Alien 3 – NES, Game Boy, SNES (1993)

Ah, Alien 3. The misunderstood underdog of the Alien franchise. At least until Alien: Resurrection came out.

Our look back at the history games directly inspired by the Alien franchise.

I actually owned this game as a kid. I played it a lot, actually, so I suppose they did something right. It’s absolutely nothing like the film, outside of having you play as bald Ripley and taking place in a Space Prison. But it’s a pretty fun run-and-gun type of game, and it holds a sweet spot in my nostalgic heart. Also, it has terrible, MIDI-ified versions of the franchise’s soundtrack! Doesn’t that sound great?

You have three weapons: a grenade launcher, a flame thrower, and a machine gun. Each has limited ammo that can be picked up off the ground, and each has its own use. The game is a few levels with short missions, like “kill the aliens in this location” or “free the prisoners here” or even “seal up this door for some reason.” You seal up a door, and can no longer enter that room for the rest of the level, because… um… I don’t know? I mean it’s not like it keeps anything in or out. Whatever.

In the end you fight a queen, and then you drive a giant bulldozer and knock that bitch into a huge vat of lava. It makes no sense, but it doesn’t have to, because it’s awesome.

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Alien 3: The Gun – Arcade (1993)

I really don’t envy people who had to work in arcades back in the day. All of the obnoxious sound effects from games like this one must’ve driven people insane. It’s probably how rumors and stories about haunted game cartridges that would kill you just for playing them got started. People would envision a game like this, on loop, forever.

Our look back at the history games directly inspired by the Alien franchise.

Anyway, this game is basically the same as its SNES counterpart, only in first-person. You get the same weapons, and you shoot enemies on the screen before they eat you. One of the bosses is a “Super Face Hugger,” a giant ass version of the standard facehuggers from the movies. I invite you to try to find out how that’s supposed to work. I guess when you want to create bosses from a series with only two monsters the only thing you can really do is come up with giant versions of each one.

By the way, this game has Call of Duty-style rank-ups as you play. Good times.

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Aliens: A Comic Book Adventure – PC (1995)

I didn’t get a chance to play this one. I watched a few minutes of it on YouTube and it’s… a point-and-click adventure game where you don a giant robot suit and fight aliens. If that sounds awesome, don’t worry, it looks boring as hell to play, so you’re not missing out.

Our look back at the history games directly inspired by the Alien franchise.

At least it looks pretty for a 1995 game.

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Alien Trilogy – PlayStation, Sega Saturn, PC (1996)

The first proper FPS based on the franchise, Alien Trilogy is… actually kinda rad, if aged. You go around and shoot aliens, while some surprisingly chill music plays. It’s basically a more 3D-looking Doom, exploding red barrels and all.

Our look back at the history games directly inspired by the Alien franchise.

It’s honestly pretty forgettable. Can you tell I’m starting to burn myself out, here? Ugh, maybe the next game will be more interesting…

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Alien: Resurrection – PlayStation (2000)

Ah, Alien: Resurrection. The misunderstood underdog of the Alien franchise. At least until Alien vs. Predator (the film) came out.

Our look back at the history games directly inspired by the Alien franchise.

This game had the misfortune of releasing around the time first person shooter games were starting to stagnate themselves (a vicious cycle that occurs every decade) before Halo would come along and make them fun again.

What’s the game like? Well, …remember how I said Alien Trilogy was a bit like Doom? This game’s a bit more like Quake. It does the whole head-bobbing thing that FPS games liked to do in that era, which makes the game nauseating as hell to play. The atmosphere is actually pretty good at parts, though, and the aliens crawling around on the walls can be a bit unnerving.

I’ll give it one thing: it has the best facehugger death in this list. Basically, a facehugger latches onto you, and you pass out. From there, you have a few minutes to find an antidote. If you don’t, your health will start to drain, and eventually an alien bursts out of your chest. It’s a neat idea in an otherwise lackluster experience.

At least in its mediocrity it’s pretty faithful to the source material.

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Alien vs. Predator: Requiem – PsP (2007)

Ah, Alien vs. Predator: Requiem. The misunderstood underdog of the Alien franchise. At least until…wait, nothing’s come out since then? What? “Prometheus?” What the hell is that? It sounds dumb.

I can’t believe they made a game out of this movie. I refuse to play it. I refuse to even look it up. It’s only on this list because I want you to suffer with me. Ugh. Moving on.

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Aliens: Infestation – Nintendo DS (2011)

For a little while, I was hopelessly addicted to Metroidvania games. Aliens Infestation was one of them, and you know what? It gets some hate from Alien fans, but it’s actually pretty fun. Sure, the story is dumb, and the music is a bit silly, but as a Metroidvania game it’s solid. Also, encounters with aliens are difficult and tense. They jump around, and keeping tabs on them is tricky. They remind me a lot of the metroid fights in Metroid II, actually.

Our look back at the history games directly inspired by the Alien franchise.

If there’s another game I’d recommend as much as AvP or Isolation, it’s this one. If you’ve got an itch that only Castlevania and Metroid can scratch, this game should satisfy it at least a bit.

Also, it’s got a really silly theme song.

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Aliens: Colonial Marines – PC, PS3, Xbox 360 (2013)

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Alien: Isolation – PC, PS4, Xbox One (2014)

And here we are. I won’t delve in here too much—you can head over to my review for that. For a fun article, check out Suzanne’s film/game comparison article over here, too.

Conclusion

Wasn’t that fun? We not only got to look at the history of Alien games, but the history of games in general, huh? This series has hit almost every genre in the book at least once. Except for rhythm games. Some day…

I’m not sure what the future holds for this series, both as a video game and as a film. With Alien: Isolation, though, I find myself looking forward to whatever comes next. Let’s just hope it’s not another Colonial Marines.

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Alien Isolation is the title for October 2014, month of the spooks, for our “Not Crowdfunded, But…” series. You can read more Alien Isolation articles here.

[author image=”http://cliqist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/david.jpg” ]David Lins is a freelance writer from Pennsylvania that has loved video games since he was old enough to hold a controller. He enjoys all sorts of games, but prefers difficult or terrifying ones. Currently, he plays too many roguelikes. When not writing about his favorite hobby, he loves to drink beer, write fiction, play tabletop RPGs or board games, and hang out with his friends and family. He also has a passion for technology and loves tinkering with his phone, computer, and other devices. Follow David on Twitter for “hilarious” or “insightful” tweets about nothing in particular. [/author]

 

David Lins
David Lins is a freelance writer from Pennsylvania that has loved video games since he was old enough to hold a controller. He enjoys all sorts of games, but prefers difficult or terrifying ones. Currently, he plays too many roguelikes. When not writing about his favorite hobby, he loves to drink beer, write fiction, play tabletop RPGs or board games, and hang out with his friends and family. He also has a passion for technology and loves tinkering with his phone, computer, and other devices. Follow David on Twitter for “hilarious” or “insightful” tweets about nothing in particular.
David Lins