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Thread: Alien - the franchise

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    Peach (Level 3) NeoZeedeater's Avatar
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    Default Alien - the franchise

    With science fiction themes so prevalent in video games it's not surprising that Ridley Scott's movie Alien and its sequels have had a large impact on them. You can see the influence of its style and theme in many games from Metroid to Contra.

    This thread is devoted to the various games officially based on the franchise. I have seen several lists on the internet but none seem to cover every game. I have attempted to make a complete list so please add ones if I missed them.


    Although the movie debuted in 1979 it wasn't until 1982 that the games based on it first appeared, at least as far as I can tell. Avalon Hill made an Apple II game called Alien that was obviously inspired by it but I don't think it was officially licensed.

    20th Century Fox released an Atari 2600 Alien game under their Fox Video Games label. It was Pac-Man-ish maze game, nothing too original but well made.


    Next came Argus Press Software's Alien for the Spectrum and Commodore 64 in 1984 and the Amstrad CPC in 1985. This was a sort of strategy/RPG.


    Shortly following the release of the second movie Aliens in came a couple multiformat computer games in 1986 and 1987.

    Published by Activision, Aliens: The Computer Game was made for Apple II and Commodore 64. This was a multi-genre game; it had first person flying and semi-overhead view action. The still screen cinemas were impressive at the time.


    Electric Dreams' Aliens game was available for Commodore 64, Spectrum, CPC and MSX. It was sort of an FPS ancestor in that it involved first-person shooting and self-movement although it only let you scroll sideways.


    Square made a side-scrolling Aliens action game for the MSX in 1987.


    Aliens had an excellent arcade debut in 1990 by Konami. This was mostly a beat 'em up view blasting with some scaling rail shooter parts mixed in.


    The third movie came out in 1992 and had several games based on it most of which were developed by Probe and published by Acclaim/Arena/LJN(or Virgin Games in Europe).

    I'm a big fan of European-style run 'n guns and I was quite impressed with the Genesis game. You had to explore around for trapped comrades.


    I'm going to take a guess and say that the Amiga version was ported from the Genesis one since it's the only version that also credits Eden Entertainment Software and the colour palette seems more Genesis than Amiga to me.


    Commodore 64, NES and Game Boy versions were also released in 1992. I haven't played the C64 game although it looks like the same type of game as the Genesis/Amiga one.


    The NES game was also similar in design although not as intense.


    The Game Boy game was overhead view and developed by B.I.T.S..


    I bought the SNES version when it came out in 1993 assuming it was an enhanced port of the Genesis I had rented. I was wrong. It was superior to the Genesis game in graphics and sound but it wasn't the same game, just similar. I prefer the Genesis one for feel of the weapons but this was still enjoyable.


    Probe also did a Master System/Game Gear version in 1993. It was pretty good for an 8-bit version, closer in style to the Genesis game than the NES game.


    Also from '93 was Sega's System 32 arcade game Alien 3: The Gun. I'm surprised this wasn't more popular given the franchise and the quality. It somewhat resembles Taito's Space Gun and also is like a predecessor to the House of the Dead games.



    In 1993, Activision published the first games to feature the cross licensing of the Alien and Predator movie franchises. One was a beat 'em up for SNES developed by IGS and the other was a platform game for Game Boy for ASK Kodansha. I thought both were pretty lame.




    While not an official product I think Justin Fisher's 1994 Doom conversion Aliens TC deserves a mention because of its significance to the mod scene that has become so big in PC gaming.


    One of the earliest big console first-person shooters was Atari/Rebellion's Alien VS. Predator for the Atari Jaguar. The game could be played from three different perspectives: Marine, Alien, and Predator. It has aged quite a bit but this was impressive in its day, especially for a console FPS.


    A Lynx version of AvP was planned but never made it past the prototype stage. The rom is out there for those into emulation.


    Capcom was arguably the king of the beat 'em up genre in the '90s and their 1994 arcade Alien vs. Predator game just might be their best one. The animation and gameplay were more refined that their earlier games. Awesome stuff.


    Mindscape published Aliens: A Comic Book Adventure for the PC in 1995. You would think the developer Cryo would have done a good job since they had previously made the quality Dune adventure game but this was panned by critics. I only played it briefly and it didn't interest me.


    Probe made their first 3d Alien game in 1996 with Alien Trilogy for the Playstation. This impressed the hell out of me a decade ago although I'm afraid at how it might have aged. The atmosphere and details like glass shattering made it stand out. It was ported to the Saturn and PC(by Sculptured Software). I haven't played those versions but they're considered inferior.


    In 1998 Kesmai published Mythic's Aliens Online for PC. I never did try it but I read it was a decent squad based multiplayer FPS.


    Rebellion came back to make another Aliens versus Predator game in 1999, this time published by Sierra for PC. Like the Jag game you could play as three different beings. The Predator was by far my favorite for this game.


    In 2000 the aging Playstation received another FPS, Argonaut's Alien Resurrection. I wanted to try it but didn't want to risk buying it based on mediocre reviews. It's worth noting that it's one of the few games to support the PS mouse.


    Fox/THQ's Aliens: Thanatos Encounter was developed for Game Boy Color by Crawfish Interactive. It was an overhead view action game released in 2001. I wasn't impressed with it.


    Aliens: Colonial Marines was to be a Playstation 2 FPS by EA/Fox but it was cancelled in 2001.

    Sierra contracted the developer Monolith for Aliens VS. Predator 2. It was released for PC and Mac in 2001. I thought it was quite good although not Monolith's best by any means. An expansion pack developed by Third Law Entertainment was released the following year.


    Electronic Arts/Zono's Aliens vs. Predator: Extinction was an RTS for Playstation 2 and Xbox in 2003. I haven't played as I'm not much into the genre but it's supposed to have a good interface for a console FPS.


    Ubisoft was going to release a Game Boy Advance Aliens vs. Predator FPS in 2003 but they decided against it.

    There have been some mobile phone Alien games such as Sorrent's Aliens: Unleashed(2003) and Superscape/3DWG's Alien vs. Predator(2004).

    So, over 20 years of Alien games and there's no sign of them stopping. Play Mechanix/Global VR was planning an arcade game for the future. I don't know if it's still in development.

    Your thoughts on this franchise in gaming?

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    ServBot (Level 11) roushimsx's Avatar
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    Some killer games in there. I loved Alien 3 on SNES and I've recently been jonesing to play through Alien Trilogy again. It hasn't aged too well (the engine is pretty much on par with the Doom engine but with slopes), but I'm still looking forward to giving it a run through in pSX Emulator whenever it gets supported (if you saw the condition of my disc, you'd both understand why I'm not playing it on my PS2 and be amazed that I was able to get my dvd rom to rip an image of it).

    both PC Alien vs Predator games were pure gold (much love for Monolith, and I have fond memories of playing AvP 1 as the alien post-wisdom teeth surgery). Never really played the expansion pack to AvP2 but I heard it wasn't very good at all

    I actually found a place to download a copy of Aliens Online a week or so ago that had some instructions for enabling the offline gameplay mode. It's a bit cumbersome and I'm sure there's some tweaking I can do to improve the gameplay, but it's a shame that I never got a chance to play it back when the servers were up (I was living on an island in the pacific and was lucky to have dialup internet access at the time )

    Man, and I fondly remember blowing my weekly allowance on Aliens in the arcade, too. I thought that was just about the coolest game ever created back then, heh In the mid 90s a local comic book store got a cab of it in and I'd always make it a point to swing by there on the weekends and drop a few quarters into it. Good times.

    Thanks for the nostalgia-inducing writeup

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    Bell (Level 8) CosmicMonkey's Avatar
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    AvP on CPS2 is absolutely amazing. One of Capcom's finest scrolly beat 'em ups, and one of the main reasons I consolized a CPS2!

    I also really liked Alien 3 on the MasterSystem.

    A3: The Gun was also very good too. I've only ever seen the cab a couple of times, and played it at every opportunity.

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    Meat Meister Bratwurst's Avatar
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    Rebellion later released a Gold edition of the PC AvP that had new weapons for the Marines and more multiplayer maps. The multiplayer code was also overhauled and made significantly better- many a LAN game I had with AvP Gold and they were fantastic. Rebellion staff also provide voice acting this time so British accents kill the sense of immersion a bit.

    Just want to echo that Alien 3 for the SNES and the AvP PC games were great things, and none of them have aged too badly.

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    Pretzel (Level 4)
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    I just finished playing Alien Trilogy on the PlayStation a few months ago. The graphics are dated of course, but the game managed to keep me interested and entertained. They did a good job creating a scary atmosphere, especially when the unfortunate souls who found themselves glued to the walls would whisper "Help Me" when you walked near them. The face huggers jumping on your face and blinding you were a hoot too!
    I haven't tried any of the other versions yet, most notably those involving Predators. I am curious as to how the Aliens and Predators ever got mixed up in the first place.

  6. #6
    Meat Meister Bratwurst's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spartacus
    I am curious as to how the Aliens and Predators ever got mixed up in the first place.
    They're both Fox movie properties and near the end of Predator 2 an Alien skull is visible in the Predator ship's trophy rack. Although it was seen for maybe 2 seconds it pretty much spurred the comic, novel, video game and eventual movie tie-ins.

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    Good write up. It's perhaps worth adding a note about the fact that although the Genesis / MS / C64 game was titled "Alien 3", it actually owed a lot more to the film "Aliens".

    In Alien 3, there is one Alien on the loose and Ripley has to deal with it without any weapons. In Aliens, she takes on the acid dribbling hordes with an arsenal big enough for David Koresh.

    So basically, it takes location from Alien 3, and throws in the methods of Aliens.

    Great game though.

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    *stands up and applauds*

    BRAVO! That was spectacular!!!

    I have Alien Trilogy on Saturn, I remember feeling slightly creeped out the 1st time playing it.

    I also have A3 on SNES, and recently bought A3 on Genesis, since I heard they're different games.

    Great post man.

  9. #9
    Key (Level 9)
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    Good show.

    I've been looking for a cheap Trilogy for the PS, only have Resurrection right now. It's hard, brutally demanding, but not that bad. The facehuggers in it are the worst!!
    "If each mistake being made is a new one, then progress is being made."

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    Great Puma (Level 12) bangtango's Avatar
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    Default Chiming in

    Very nice presentation, Neo!!!!!

    This may sound crass and I'm saying it to nobody in particular but I think "Alien Vs. Predator" (the Jaguar game) would be more fondly remembered if it had come out on Playstation. Same game and everything. I just don't think as many people would be talking about how it is mediocre or aged :/ EGM would have given it a good score then.

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    Banana (Level 7) pragmatic insanester's Avatar
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    its too bad we will probably never see collection ports of AVP (the beat 'em up) and the Aliens arcade shooter.

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    Kirby (Level 13) diskoboy's Avatar
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    Sega also made an Alien 3 gun game running on the system 32 hardware.

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    Apple (Level 5) Arasoi's Avatar
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    Nice collected history!

    Thank you for reminding me of the Konami Aliens arcade game, I remember playing that a lot as a kid.

    Konami really needs to release a large arcade collection from that time, too bad the licensing issues would keep Aliens off it probably.

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    NeoZeedeater, your threads are awesome.

    My "Alien" favorites:

    Alien 3 (Genesis)...very addictive platformer

    Aliens (C64)...takes you through every part of the movie. One part is like Stampede (!)

    Alien (Atari VCS)...IMO the closest we got to a good Pac Man game

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    ServBot (Level 11) GarrettCRW's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alien - the franchise

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoZeedeater
    Square made a side-scrolling Aliens action game for the MSX in 1987.
    Dude, Ripley's nekkid!

    From the games I've played, Alien Trilogy is probably the best at capturing the feel of the series, even if it only attempts to bastardize the second and third films.

    Of course, finding the Aliens TC for Doom nowadays is damn near impossible, thanks to Rupert's overzealous lawyers (just ask fans of the Simpsons and the X-Files).
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    Kirby (Level 13) j_factor's Avatar
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    Alien 3 for Genesis was the shit. Coincidentally, I just reacquired it yesterday. I didn't like the SNES version as much. The SMS version was okay but it was too zoomed out. Anyway, with the way the aliens came at you sometimes, it got pretty intense; it almost had a survival-horror feel to it.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheShawn
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  17. #17
    Peach (Level 3) NeoZeedeater's Avatar
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    Thanks guys.
    Quote Originally Posted by diskoboy
    Sega also made an Alien 3 gun game running on the system 32 hardware.
    For some reason the picture I linked of it doesn't show up. I love that game. Playing it in MAME with a mouse isn't bad either.

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    Pretzel (Level 4)
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    awesome post. I loved capcoms avp and avp 1/2 for pc.
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    Pac-Man (Level 10) Tron 2.0's Avatar
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    Alien Trilogy
    AvsP/Capcom
    Aliens

    Those were my favorites far as the franchase go's
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    Banana (Level 7) Neil Koch's Avatar
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    I played the hell out of the C64 version of Aliens back in the day ... I loved the music that played during the dropship level. I was crushed when I got the game for my Apple II and it didn't have any music.

    I had a Jaguar for a while - I bought it specifically to play Aliens Vs Predator.

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    ServBot (Level 11) Iron Draggon's Avatar
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    Damn, I wish that Capcom AVP game had made it to one of the consoles instead of just staying in the arcades! I didn't even know that it existed, but it looks freakin' awesome!

    I didn't know that the SNES Alien 3 was a different game from the Genesis Alien 3 either. Otherwise I would own it.

    Was talking to my nephew and his best friend about how badass it would be if they made an FPS based on the AVP movie, complete with the ever-shifting maze hunting arena!

    I still don't like FPS, and the AVP ones are impossibly hard to play, but they're still cool. I own them all, but I rarely play them. The PC ones are really insanely difficult to play.
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    Awesome Post. +1000 meseta for you!

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    thanks for an amzing thread. you should make a shrine webpage for it someplace. my fav game [and one of the only ones i played] was capcom's AvP. i loved it. i hope they make a new alien FPS for pc... and make it not suck =]

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    drowning in medals Ed Oscuro's Avatar
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    The top-down GB game from BITS should play in color, as well. I certainly remember it having that when I played it.

    Anyway, there's some interesting games in here. Alien 3 (released for every system known to man like so many games from that publisher) never really caught my attention, but I've got to give it a serious go sometime. The MSX game is just plain odd, and unfortunately didn't seem to play too well. Aliens, Konami's arcade game from 1990, is an interesting reward considering they blatantly ripped off the series in Contra. Aliens is 16 years old, but despite that there hasn't been an arcade Contra since it appeared - only games like Sunset Riders and Mystic Warrior that play pretty much just like it.

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    Pac-Man (Level 10) Tron 2.0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeoZeedeater
    Thanks guys.
    Quote Originally Posted by diskoboy
    Sega also made an Alien 3 gun game running on the system 32 hardware.
    For some reason the picture I linked of it doesn't show up. I love that game. Playing it in MAME with a mouse isn't bad either.
    Btw i just gave it a try in mame a while ago.

    I enjoy it,it's not bad for a license game at all.

    It all most begs the question why.. it never got a port in the frist place.
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