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.