A Review of Alien for the Atari 2600

There was a time when the idea of a movie tie-in video game did not repulse me. That was before I was pummeled with decades of rushed garbage tie ins. So when Alien came out for the Atari 2600 I was all over this title. And the day I brought it home, I brought all my friends over for an iced-tea fueled gamefest. Two hours later we were playing Combat and Warlords.

The problem with Alien is not that it is horrible, it is a completely passable Pac-Man clone with some odds bells and whistles thrown in. It’s just that it get really repetitive really fast and the whole time your thinking. I cannot believe I spent $25 on this and it is nothing like the movie. Oh, what high expectations will do to a gaming experience…I am talking to you E.T.

In Alien, you are, I guess Ripley, and you move through a maze squishing alien eggs like Pac-Man eats dots. The whole time you are doing so you are being pursued by Aliens, but don’t worry you have a flame thrower that is very difficult to use and if that fails you have pulsars, which work just like power pellets. If you can destroy all the eggs something really weird happens, you get to a bonus stage where dozens of Aliens are moving horizontally across the screen and you need to move past them. So it is like Frogger, but the thing is you can not move side to side, only up and down. If you get the bonus great, if not, back to the maze and the Alien eggs.

So to sum up, the game is half Pac-Man and Half Frogger. The Pac-Man part is OK, it just lacks the adorable themes you usually get with Pac-Man clones. The Frogger part is tedious and pointless. Maybe if I could move horizontally it might make a difference, but I doubt it, the game had potential, but the sum of its parts make it slightly sub-par. I give Alien 2 out of 5 stars.

Gameplay Video

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Garry Vander Voort

Editor/Podcaster at Retroist
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