This homebrew conversion of Ultimate‘s classic Alien 8 was released for the Commodore 64 in 2020. The original game was only ever officially released for the ZX Spectrum, BBC Micro, MSX, and Amstrad CPC, but never for the C64. And the ironic thing is that this conversion is arguably the best version of Alien 8 out there.
Compared to other versions of Alien 8 this Commodore 64 conversion probably has the most responsive controls. Rotating while moving is so sensitive that you’ll sometimes find yourself rotating twice by accident – until you get used to the controls. Playing any of the official versions of Alien 8, the frame rate drops so low at times that you find yourself really pressing hard on the controls when you need to rotate when jumping. In this version: less so, although that’s not to say that this conversion doesn’t suffer from slowdown – it does; just not quite as badly as in the original Spectrum version. That is probably something to do with the way in which the C64 handles sound, compared to the Spectrum‘s notorious interrupt-driven beeping, which always interfered with a game’s frame rate.
Another reason why this is such a good conversion is because it has a pre-game configuration screen that allows you to change a number of options including: choosing between in-game sound effects or new music; locking the game speed to a set FPS; lowering the speed of rotation; choosing between a new or the original Alien 8 sprite; and even choosing the four default room colours. And you can save your preferred configuration to disk.
Everything else from the Spectrum original is in there, including the funny ‘reprogramming’ screen (sadly missing from some of the official conversions), and it has a gorgeous new loading screen and built-in cheats, which is a bonus.
Overall this is a brilliant homebrew conversion of Alien 8 that deserves a place in anyone’s C64 collection. And it’s great to see Ultimate‘s old games being given a new lease of life on the C64 in 2020.
The same team who made this (Rod & Emu) have also converted Knight Lore, Gunfright, and Pentagram to the C64 relatively recently, which is great.