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.
2 thoughts on “Aliens, Arcade”
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.
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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.