Aliens, Arcade

This 1990 arcade game from Konami plays fast and loose with the storyline, locations and situations from James Cameron‘s famous film, Aliens, but is still reasonably enjoyable to play.

It’s a run-and-gun scrolling shoot ’em up where you can play as either Ripley or Hicks and must rescue Newt from abduction by the xenomorphs. You pick up a variety of weapons on the way and can stand or kneel to fire them. The aliens are brightly-coloured and deviate quite a bit from the official lore. In fact: other than the fully-grown xenomorph, most of the aliens look little like their movie counterparts.

One aspect of the game that is relatively accurate to the film is the APC (Armoured Personnel Carrier) – the vehicle that the marines use to drive around in – which appears in various cut scenes and also in some connecting, third-person levels where you’re driving forward and shooting into the screen. There’s also the chance to get in and ride the power-loader, and also to fight the alien queen at the end.

Aliens also has a two-player mode which is simultaneous cooperative play, which slightly increases its appeal.

The presentation and lack of authenticity to the film is a bit disappointing, especially as this game came out four years after the film came out, so it’s not as if the developers didn’t have access to reference material…

Aliens is a fun game to blast through once, but it’s not really a game with a great deal of replay value. Konami could – and should – have done better with it.

More: Aliens (1990 video game) on Wikipedia

2 thoughts on “Aliens, Arcade”

  1. I was ready to forgive this one given there’s only something like three enemy types in the Aliens film which’d make for a very unvaried game, but when you mentioned it came four years after the film… There was a wealth of comics and other material in that time to draw from.

    The palette is garish – looks more Alien Syndrome than the dark griminess of the Alien world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, it’s pretty cartoony overall. It’s a daft adaptation, with goofy situations and garish visuals. I think the Japanese devs just went ape with the ideas and created something OTT, but they needn’t have. They could’ve stayed relatively close to the film and made it work – maybe adding a few new xenomorph types to compensate for the low number of hostiles – but they seemingly let loose with dumb video game ideas and made it a parody rather than accurate. A lot of arcade/film adaptations did this in the late 80s/early 90s. RoboCop springs to mind, but there are plenty of other examples.


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