Alien 3

My word. I don’t think I can believe it. LJN has actually made an alright movie tie in game.

Fair enough it follows the films plot line as well as drunk man can follow police orders. But it is actually not a bad game. It’s still generic and all together not a great game. But as far as movie tie in’s go it’s not a bad effort by LJN.

I shouldn’t actually need to explain anything about the Alien franchise. But if you have been living under a rock then a little update might be in order. Alien 3, as the name might suggest, is the third film in the Alien line of films. Ripley, in deep sleep for the voyage home from her last encounter with the Aliens, finds herself stranded on the planet Fiorina 161 after an incident on the Sulaco resulted in her cryo chamber been ejected. It turns out that Fiorina 161 is actually a decommissioned prison planet with a hand full of inmates opting to stay. Unfortunately though it turns out Ripley didn’t bring just herself to the party and brought a stowaway facehugger along as well as an Alien embryo inside her. Which she was impregnated with in the cryo chamber resulting in the incident which led her to the planet (I would have gone for: Aliens get hungry, Corporations get corporationy and send more food for hungry aliens. But, what ever – Ed) .

Now take what you have learnt in the last paragraph and then drop kick it out the window. Go on, do it. Because this game takes some serious liberties with the source material.

In the film the prisoners and Ripley have to contend with just the one Alien which was born form a dog. In the game though there are millions of them. Of varying color and type. There are also some levels that are based around the film but a couple are unique to the game, such as the Slaughter House and a derelict alien space ship. Ripley also has fare more weapon hardware than in the film. Yet I am willing to forgive all these liberties as otherwise it wouldn’t make for an interesting game.

The game it’s self is fairly standard for a running, shooting, platforming game. There is your usual mix of platforms, both moving and stationary, ladders and jumping sections. LJN also added some air ducts and tunnels to give a sense of claustrophobia and add some variety into the levels.

The main, and only, aim of the game is to try and rescue the inmates from their bindings before they meet an untimely death at the hands of the facehuggers and chestbursters. There are some side missions that can be gathered from the central hub on each level. But these are more like small diversion from the main game and involve things like mending pies and machinery to searching for objects.

As mentioned in my Dragons Lair review, one of the main things that makes a good platformer is nice and tight controls. Thankfully this game is far more responsive than Dragons Lair. But it’s still not perfect. The main issue with the controls is when you try to make Ripley duck. For some reason the developers decided to add more animation into her ducking move. This makes it laggy and unresponsive. This is an otherwise minor annoyance in an otherwise great control system. The weapons are assigned to their own buttons. This is great for quickly switching tactics against the Aliens quickly.

The audio on the game is nice and crisp. There is a clear distinctions between the weapon sound and the Alien death screams and attack screams sound really convincing on the SNES hardware. The only complaint I have regarding the audio on this game is the music. It’s just a little bit too repetitive for my liking. While it fits the mood and ambiance of the game it does not vary enough enough from level to level. The only time it gets different is when you come to a boss fight every third level. It develops a more urgent tone to it.
So lets move onto my final thoughts about this game.

For the most part it’s a reasonably enjoyable movie tie in game. It’s certainly not a great game by any stretch. But it’s not a entirely bad game either. It sits nicely in-between and offers to be a nice waste of time on a rainy day.

The difficulty curve on this game is rather steep and may put some people off this game. After the first three levels it gets frustrating. Maybe not controller snapping frustrating, but frustrating none the less. Plus you only get the one life and when it’s gone, it’s most certainly gone. Thankfully though the password system on this game is very forgiving and easy to jot down and use. A vast improvement on some other games that use ridiculous password systems. Certainly not one to be done in a single sitting if you value your sanity.

I have to hand it to LJN on this one though. Normally they make incredibly bad money spinners. Games simply designed to drain the money form people with films, TV shows and personalities they love and adore. Yet this time they have managed to make a rather ok game.

Overall an ok game executed in an ok way and based on an ok film. Nothing more and nothing less. It’s worthy enough to add to your collection and not feel guilty about owning it (ok – Ed).

CritAnime

I grew up in the magical 8-bit era of computers and consoles. I saw the games crash and saw the recovery from it with the NES. I will always have my trusty C64 in my office and when the need arises I will pop a tape in the Datasette and play some classic games.

With a wealth of knowledge, especially on old-school rpg's, I hope to bring it to you. The viewers of Retroist.com

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