The Five Best Alien Video Games, For Your Alien Day 2019
It's the 26th of April which, for people with a fondness for acid-for-blood monsters that have a habit of splintering colonist ribs and bisecting friendly androids, means only one thing: it's Alien Day, you lucky stars, you.
So stop your grinnin' and drop your linen (right?), because it's far from game over, man (groan), as we've selected the five best Alien games, priorities one to five, to play on this very special day. (So special, indeed, that yours truly had to explain the relevance of 426 to a colleague... for shame, that man.)
Here we go, on an express elevator to hell, going down... to the second-hand video game store to pick up some of these beauts...
ALIEN 3 (1992 and 1993)
Super Nintendo and SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis
There were a few games released to support the Alien 3 movie, across consoles, handhelds and home computers, but the 16-bit versions - which are very different from one another - really stand out. SEGA's was a frantic arcade action platformer, where Ellen Ripley - armed to the teeth, unlike her in-movie appearance - must run around the prison colony of 'Fury' 161, saving impregnated inmates before their bellies pop and capping bugs 'til levels are steaming with their acidic entrails. The SNES version is similar to Metroid, requiring Ripley - again, carrying rather more weapons than a fire axe - to explore the facility and backtrack to open new areas with freshly procured items. With super visuals and sound effects, the SNES game has the greater atmosphere of the two games; but the Mega Drive effort is a fast-paced blast that has a lot of fun with the license.
Watch the SNES version in action here:
ALIEN VS PREDATOR (1994)
Arcade; releasing on the Capcom Home Arcade
This co-op arcade classic doesn't fit into the mainline Alien canon - but it's so much fun that we can forgive it. Up to three players can select from two human protagonists - Dutch Schaefer, named after Arnold Schwarzenegger's character in the original Predator movie, and Linn Kurosawa, a nimble martial artist - and a pair of Predators, Hunter and Warrior. Their mission: eliminate the aliens (and their queen) that have established a hive in the fictional Californian city of San Drad. Developed by Capcom and exclusive to arcades after a SEGA 32X port was planned but never completed, AvsP is a tough one to pick up legally right now, but it stands as one of the best coin-op beat 'em ups of its era. Hopefully it'll belatedly find a home on modern consoles soon, as well as on the Capcom Home Arcade unit.
Watch Alien Vs Predator in action here:
ALIENS VERSUS PREDATOR (1999)
This Rebellion-developed FPS followed 1994's Jaguar game of near-enough the same name in offering three distinct characters and styles across the course of a single-player experience: marine, Predator, and Xenomorph. All three are distinct campaigns, though, with the human chapter returning to the moon of LV-426, aka Acheron, where the whole movie story - and in turn, its expanded universe - began. Terrific fun, this game is more than the sum of its parts, with plenty of jumps across all three campaigns. Despite A Versus P's age, it's available on Steam right now, as its Classic 2000 edition, for the grand sum of £3.99. Which, frankly, makes it a must-get (like, right now) - even though there are those in the ranks here at LADbible's gaming HQ who prefer its Monolith-developed sequel of 2001. Just don't make the mistake of accidentally picking up 2010's rebooted Aliens vs. Predator, as while it's not terrible, it's a shadow of these PC standouts.
Watch Aliens Versus Predator in action here:
ALIENS: INFESTATION (2011)
I bang on about this game at every opportunity I allow myself, for a very good reason: it's fantastic. A very adult, very metroidvania-styled Aliens experience - and yes, the emphasis on the plural is deliberate, as this might be the best Aliens-themed game out there, riffing as it does on the 1986 movie - Infestation deserves to be played by everyone with an affection for all things Alien. It's tough, with a very finite number of marines to control, and permadeath in effect (so when they're dead, they're dead), but stick it out and you'll have the reward not only of having seen off a brilliant 2D sci-fi romp, but also of hearing this, ahem, masterpiece.
Watch Aliens: Infestation in action here:
ALIEN: ISOLATION (2014)
Now, this one is canon - and stars Ellen Ripley's daughter, Amanda, as its protagonist. Set 15 years after the events of Alien, it's a cat-and-mouse affair where Amanda must avoid the attention of a single (or, spoiler, is it?) alien on the knackered space station of Sevastopol. And the robot help is playing up, too, so maybe treat those rubber-faced freaks with caution. Isolation is the one game that sticks closest in tone and atmosphere to Ridley Scott's original film of 1979, and mixes light puzzle solving with tension so thick that you need a machete to slice through it. Or a flamethrower. You'll definitely need one of those, actually. And new pants.
Watch Alien: Isolation in action here:
Featured Image Credit: SEGA/Creative Assembly