The funniest thing about this 1993 arcade game from Sega is that it is based on a film in which guns are decidedly absent. In fact: David Fincher‘s Alien 3 makes a point of removing guns from the story, because the characters exist on a prison planet where guns are not allowed. That said: I think many people would have preferred it if the film had had guns in it, so Alien 3: The Gun could be seen as something of a wish fulfilment for those who didn’t like the film.
Alien 3: The Gun is a first-person shooter than uses a gun mounted on the cabinet – in fact: the cabinet had two guns mounted to it, so two people could play the game cooperatively – to shoot at the screen and blast away at the many hostiles that are thrown at you. Movement in the game is ‘on rails’, meaning that the game follows a set path through a variety of 3D levels, and all the aliens and objects in the game are constructed of 2D graphics that are scaled and rotated, depending on the game’s movement.
The players control a pair of colonial marines in an altered version of the film’s storyline. The game begins with an escape from the spaceship Sulaco, before proceeding along the surface of Fiorina ‘Fury’ 161 where they encounter waves of killer aliens, and eventually an army of Weyland-Yutani Corporation troops sent to retrieve specimens by any means necessary. The game’s levels are based on sets from the film, which is really the only tenuous link to the film itself.
The action in Alien 3: The Gun is relentless and intense, and was generally well-recieved at the time of the game’s release. There are seven levels in total; a variety of weapons to use, and a mixture of aliens and robots to shoot. There are also numerous boss battles, and intermission screens showing side-on views of the levels before you begin them. As you progress through the levels your rank as a soldier changes, depending on your shooting accuracy and number of enemies killed.
The graphics and atmospherics are decent in The Gun, with fog, rain and screen damage being used liberally to create an ever-changing visual dynamic. Gameplay-wise: it’s fun and a pretty good lightgun type game. If you can forgive the lack of authenticity to the film, then Alien 3: The Gun might well end up being one of your favourite Alien games.