Perfect Organisms: GAMINGbible’s Favourite Five Alien Franchise Video Games
The cat - most likely a ginger tom who keeps on going AWOL at inconvenient times - is well and truly out of the bag. Alien: Blackout, much-teased at the end of 2018, has been officially revealed, and represents the return to video games of Amanda Ripley, the hero of 2014's blood-curdling Alien: Isolation.
Official news on Blackout had been eagerly anticipated - but confirmation that the title would only be coming out for mobiles, on 24 January, left many fans of all things acid-bleeding and double-jawed positively reeling. Of course, Blackout could still be great - lots of mobile games are. And the trailer, below, certainly nails the atmosphere. Fingers crossed, then.
Those wanting something a little less pocket-sized can look ahead to another Alien franchise game in the near future, as Cold Iron Studios is currently working on an online multiplayer shooter set in the sci-fi universe, for both consoles and PC. In other words, it's not all doom and gloom, if mobile games aren't your thing, but skull-cracking xenomorphs really are.
And all this Alien activity has got us in the mood for some on-brand gaming nostalgia. Here's five amazing games from the Alien series' past. Which have you played, and loved? What title should be included here, and what should it replace? Let us know!
Released for the Nintendo DS in 2011 - and subsequently compatible with all later 3DS family consoles - Alien: Infestation is maybe the best Aliens-related game yet made (by which we mean it connects perfectly to the end of the second movie, and the beginning of the third). You control a squad of colonial marines as they intercept the USS Sulaco, to find out why the ship's gone so quiet. Needless to say, bloodshed (and acid splatter) ensues. Developed by Shantae series studio WayForward Technologies, this 2D metroidvania adventure features tough-as-nails enemies and a permadeath mechanic that ensures dead soldiers stay dead - once your crew's wiped out, it's game over, man, game over.
Two very different game adaptations of Alien 3 came out for 16-bit systems in the early 1990s, and your favourite likely depended on your attention span. The Mega Drive game - pictured above - set the player-controlled Ellen Ripley a series of against-the-clock missions, where she had to rescue alien-implanted inmates before their stomachs exploded. The SNES got a slightly less arcade-feeling game, with Ripley exploring the prison planet of Fiorina "Fury" 161 in a more methodical, metroidvania style. Both games feature an abundance of weapons, something the movie was distinctly lacking, not to mention many more xenos to murder in cold acid.
This PlayStation-exclusive, released in December 2000 (super late in the PS1's lifecycle), just about managed to make players forget about the mindless noise that was its parent movie (which had come out three years earlier). Notable for introducing now-ubiquitous twin-stick movement to console FPS games, the deeply atmospheric Resurrection was the work of British studio Argonaut Games, and let the player use four different characters from the film: Call, Christie, Distefano and, of course, Ripley (albeit a clone of the series' most famous hero). The subject of a turbulent production period, where different versions of the game were made only to be scrapped, that Resurrection released at all was an achievement in and of itself. That it played pretty well, a welcome bonus.
Alien vs Predator
The 64-bit Atari Jaguar is one of gaming's most famous flop consoles, launching in 1993 but failing to compete with either the 16-bit systems of the time, or the incoming SEGA Saturn or Sony PlayStation. It was discontinued in 1996, but this triple-perspective FPS title, developed by Oxford-based Rebellion, was a must-have for any Jaguar owner. Creepy as hell (with alien screams adapted from the cries of a newborn child, eeek), and with three very different player experiences depending on whether you were a Predator, xeno or marine, 1994's Alien vs Predator was one of the best-selling titles on its platform. A direct sequel was discussed, but the failure of Atari's hardware ultimately saw those plans scrapped. A darn shame.
The scariest game on this list by far, Alien: Isolation (again the work of a British team, Horsham's Creative Assembly) is all about survival rather than action, the antithesis to Infestation and probably the best Alien-referencing game ever made (apply the same logic as our Infestation entry, please). The player controls Amanda Ripley - daughter of Ellen - as she sneaks around the space station Sevastopol, trying to avoid the attentions of a resident alien that roams freely. Only, there's a twist: she soon finds out that [REDACTED FOR SPOILERS], meaning that her goal (staying alive mainly) is all the more difficult. With fantastic environmental design that has you feeling like you're playing through one of the first two movies, and a story that expertly complements both of them, Isolation is a must for any Alien fan. If you're looking at this list, you've probably already played it. And if not: what are you waiting for?
Featured Image Credit: Creative Assembly/SEGA