I thought about submitting a video game article and instead of writing about a game review I chose to write a chronicle on a genre of gaming. So I decided on games that are linked to one of my favourites the Alien Franchise. From Alien on 8-Bit to Alien Isolation on modern generation.

8 Bit Generation

The Alien Franchise has had many licensed games released for it. The first game I can remember is the 1984 Alien game for the ZX Spectrum. It was a top down strategy game. It is very faithful to the film with real characters and it’s suspenseful gameplay building up as you hunt the Alien.

Alien on ZX Spectrum, 1984

This was followed by the Aliens game in 1986. A first person perspective game again quite faithful to the film it was based on. Looking at the screen caps it is amazing that this could be produced on less memory that a digital watch.

Aliens on ZX Spectrum, 1986
Screenshot from Aliens, 1986

16 Bit Generation

From 8-Bit to 16-bit consoles and the Alien Franchise games arrived at Alien 3 on the Sega Megadrive from 1993. As with the popular games of this era, the game was designed as a side-scrolling platform game. You controlled Ripley on Fury 161 and had to navigate levels and defeat multiple Aliens and Facehuggers. So was a departure from the film but it still made a great game. Even playing it on modern emulators it holds up. It a better platform game than a lot of the period.

Alien 3 on Sega Megadrive, 1992

Unfortunately I have little experience of Alien Trilogy from 1996. A well-received game on the Playstation, Saturn and PC. Unfortunately I was engrossed in Resident Evil games and never gave this game a chance but I mention it due to its popularity.

Alien Trilogy on PSOne, 1996
Gameplay from Alien Trilogy, 1996

PC Gaming And PS/XBox

Moving away from consoles, in 1999 Rebellion merged the Alien Franchise with the Predator movies, hinted at in Predator 2 and followed through in Dark Horse Comics. They developed a first person shooter, Aliens versus Predator, where you could go the marines, the predator or the actual xenomorph. Brilliant, the opportunity to play for the other side with their own story. The success of AvP was followed in Aliens V Predator 2 in 2001 with updated graphics, better campaigns and better online modes with Deathmatch, Teams and Capture the Flag competing with Call of Duties and Halo’s.

Gameplay from Aliens v Predator 2, 2001

Aliens v Predator was a winning formula and in 2010 Rebellion released a new version for the new consoles, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 as well as PC. Again you could choose your species and there was a single player campaign for each and again the graphics had a large overhaul.   Problems for this version was that the campaigns were quite short and after initial release the online modes died and it was hard to find match ups.

 

Aliens v Predator, 2010

Aliens: Colonial Marines – Corporate Greed

I then heard that Gearbox Software, developers of online co-op game Borderlands were working on a game based on the Colonial Marines, this was very exciting. Squad based co-op sounded pretty amazing and from a proven developer. A movie can be written about the cluster frak which was Colonial Marines. From the false promises of E4 trailers and Randy Pitchford on how amazing development was going. I don’t think we will ever know the truth of what went on behind the scenes from rumoured outsourcing and financial fraud.

The released game was good for one play through. I did enjoy playing as a Colonial Marine, I did enjoy exploring LV-426, I did enjoy revisiting the colony of Hadley’s Hope. I didn’t enjoy crappy missions, bad graphics and pretty poor online modes. My favourite thing about this game was finding Hudson’s body cocooned.

Aliens: Colonial Marines, 2013

Current Generation

So I then graduated to a Playstation 4 and rumours of a new Alien game were released. Sega gave the licence on to Creative Assembly known for Total War games. What they produced is a complete love letter to Ridley Scott’s 1979 film in Alien Isolation. They get everything right, the look, the sound and suspense of the film.  Continuing the story as Ripley’s daughter, Amanda looking to find out what happened to her mother and the Nostromo.

The game is a first person stealth up. Your mission is to explore a space station, find out what has gone on and to avoid the Alien. Which in this game is an instant death.  If the Alien spots you, it’s Game Over!  They even reunited most of the original cast to lend their likeness and record dialogue for the game.  As a worshipper of the original film this game was amazing.

The production is amazing from the design to the sound which is top notch, you can hear the screech of the air vents and you jump as you hear the thud of the Alien moving through the vents, ready to jump out at you. It is a great story and does fit in well with the universe. I loved it, my favourite game of the generation so far.

Alien Isolation, 2014
In Game Death Scene

Where To Now?

Due to stupid Sega, a sequel is unlikely to happen, thanks to Alien Isolation‘s poor, unfathomable reviews from IGN and Gamespot which resulted in lower than expected sales. On 17 January 2018 a new game was announced to be in development. Fox have taken the publishing back from Sega and the new game is being developed by Cold Iron Studios. No other information was given but the developer has a history of online shooters. So it seems Alien Isolation may be an unfortunate one off and the games will move back to the Aliens v Predator/Colonial Marines genre. I will be keeping an eye on development and hope for continued success in the Alien Franchise.

Over To You.

I know I have missed out on numerous Alien games, I chose to discuss only games that I played first hand.  I am looking forward to reading the discussions and finding out about hidden gems I need to experience.

Hailing from Dunfermline, Scotland. I am a video gaming, sci fi geek, comic book reading, novel reading, concert going, movie watching, boardgaming Scotsman. The following words are my own metadata: Scotland, HeartOfMidlothian, Alien, SongOfFireandIce, Xenomorphs, Deadpool, XMen, MoonKnight, Playstation4, ElderScrolls, Fallout, ReadDeadRedemption, GodOfWar, Star Wars, RedDwarf, Lovecraft, DoctorWho If any of these words resonate with you....we could be friends.

47 COMMENTS

  1. the Alien game on the Atari 2600 is supposed to be one of the better PacMan clones, as much sense as that makes. I think Alien vs. Predator on the Jaguar was the killer app for that system, but by the time it came out, it was too damn late. the only Alien game i remember playing was renting the trilogy one for the Saturn back in the day. i’ve tried to get the arcade version of AvP to run on my PI, but i can’t figure it out and don’t really care enough to tinker with it…

  2. I’ve got Alien Isolation on PS3 and was looking forward to it. Got about 15 minutes into it and had to turn it off, it was making me physically nauseous. Like truly needing to puke. Headache, felt like air sickness. I have to play it in spurts because of that. I think it’s because there’s no forward object to focus on like a weapon you carry in a typical FPS, like Call of Duty.

    That’s the only game that’s ever done that to me. Looked it up and apparently, it’s an issue.

    But I love it so far. Good article!

      • On a couple of levels that is true. The part with the reactor when there is multiple Joe’s in raincoat, that was quite stressful if you got crowded.

    • Hmm. I’ve had to come to terms with the unfortunate fact that I’m a massive coward. I was able to play until the xenomorph appeared, then had to “nope” the hell out of there. Funny, as I was able to play Dead Space 1 and 2 fine (well, more or less – there was the odd terrified yelp).

      • Dead Space 1 and 2, also very good games. Shame they got EA’d, another franchise that built a backstory and mythology to really enhance the gaming experience. Miss my old Plasma Cutter.

        • Yeah, I never got round to playing 3. All the negative publicity around the typical EA additions put me off. Maybe I’ll give it a go at some point.

  3. Nice blast from the past!

    AvP on the PC was the first time I played against real people in an actual FPS. Eating humans as the Alien and collecting skulls as a Predator was an utter delight. Especially when I would come home from work and pretend they were my coworkers.

  4. When I worked at CompUSA we networked some of computers together and played AvP when it was new. It was pretty much my first PvP experience and that’s what we would always do on our breaks for like a year. I was usually the Alien because I could scare the shit out of people.

  5. Just to add: The plot, characters, and overall universe from AvP 2 and Primal Hunt are more compelling than what Hollywood churned out after Alien 4 (which, I really liked. That’s right, I did).

  6. Cool article I was not aware of those early strategy games.

    My favorite ALIEN(S) video game experience was one if the first and best “total conversion” DOOM mods. You could find “ALIEN: TC” on AOL game boards, and it was slick man. I still think back on that first terrifying play thru with joy.

  7. I remember a top down Alien 3 game on the Amiga that was a bit like Alien Breed. Had stunning graphics for its time. Really captured the atmosphere of the first and third movie.

    • I had a Public Domain game on my Atari ST which was a homemade top down, turn based game based on Aliens. You had all the marines and you had to escape from the processing plant from the film. You had to move your marines to the exit and had limited ammo to take out the never ending swarms of Aliens. It used graphic and sounds samples from the film. So when you moved Vasquez and fired at an Alien it would digitize ‘Let’s Rock’ then you would here the gun fire. Then when you were defeated, ‘Game Over Man, Game Over’

      Never been able to find it since. Very basic but got a lot of enjoyment from it.

    • There is a clause in the contract which specifically states any systematized transmission indicating a possible intelligent origin must be investigated.

  8. I played the 1984 game (only one I ever played) and it was pretty cool for game that was pretty much typing and waiting to get killed

  9. Isolation was amazing (for the 4 hours I invested in it), but the pacing was painfully slow. Really want to go back and work through more of the game, but nearly impossible to find the time.

    • Agreed. I’ve played all of the Thief series as well as the first Dishonored. Every Elder Scrolls character I’ve played was a rogue investing heavily in sneak. So I’m predispositioned to these types of games. Even though I agree on every point Horace made about atmosphere, I still couldn’t slog thru the entirety of Isolation on two different runs. Terribly slow.

  10. I love Alien and Aliens, but could never get excited about games about them. It’s weird, they have had games based on things I love, Like The Godfather and Sopranos, but I just can’t get interested in licensed movie games.

    Pay cable has shown the hell out of the first two films the last several months, and I sort of got renewed in my love of them. Researching them and finding out deep trivia, such as Lambert having been born a male and getting gender reassignment as a child. Wild.

    • Lambert…that is some backstory. I thought she was in a relationship with Kane and Ripley and Dallas.

      Lot of confusion as well on how she died, I liked the way Scott just left it open to interpretation. You can hear her screams for a while after the tail goes under her and Ripley finds her, so what was the old Xenomorph up to?

  11. Going through Alien Isolation for the second time, and good goddamned, this may be the most tense game I’ve ever played. I don’t mind the Xenomorph half as much as I do the Joes. There’s something about them that just gets under my skin.

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