This 2009 homebrew remake of Ultimate Play the Game‘s classic Alien 8 was created for the MSX2 by Manuel Pazos and Daniel Celemin. The graphics have obviously had a serious make-over and look beautiful, but the gameplay seems to be the same as the original, with noticeable (some might say “game-crippling”) slowdown.
Although I don’t want to be too hard on this remake, since it’s obviously a labour of love, it doesn’t really improve on the original in terms of gameplay and even seems to exacerbate some of the problems it had. The biggest issue I have with it is the movement. In particular the inconsistent speed of the game.
I can only assume that the programmer took the underlying code of Alien 8 and just put new graphics over the top of it. I’d expect – on a more powerful machine like the MSX2 – to hopefully have a bit less slowdown, but that wasn’t possible it seems.
Overall, I’d say this this remake is worth a play if you like the original Alien 8. Play it back-to-back with the original MSX version or the BBC Micro version for a while and you’ll probably find that the slowdown is still a problem when it comes to making those “do-or-die” jumps. This is a still a decent attempt at a remake, though. I especially like the graphics, although – if I was being honest – I was disappointed that the rooms didn’t change colour when you’ve successfully placed a circuit in the correct slot, as they do in the original.
It was possible to buy this remake on an actual MSX cartridge at one point, but that doesn’t seem to be the case at the time of writing (it says “out of stock” now). The ROM is available to download for free here.
More: Alien 8 on Wikipedia