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Complete Guide to Spectrum Games – Part 12

You know how we’re actually quite lucky that Codemasters don’t allow distribution of their games, so I can use it as an excuse not to review all their ‘Advanced Simulators’? Well, unfortunately the same thing didn’t happen with the word ‘alien’. There are, in fact, more than one or two such games. So go get some snacks, and a nice big glass of Fanta, because this is gonna be a long one. (Oo-er.)

AlienGary Howland

This is a little interesting to look at. Look at those walls! All bright and cartoony, and not a bit of colour clash. So why am I controlling a piece of fluff dodging bits of vaguely-animated mould? And why do I only get one bomb? And most importantly, what am I supposed to do when I’ve collected all the collectibles? Snot out of ten.

AlienJRS Software, 1982

1982. Oh lordy, this is going to be hideous, isn’t it? If I’m lucky it’ll have UDGs, but I expect it’ll be all text. And slow text. With beeping. And nineteen pages of instructions. With beeping. Don’t make me go in there, please!

Oh no, and it’s actually based on the film!

I managed to take this screenshot before the incessant high-pitched beeping forced me to hit reset. Do yourself a favour and never ever load this game.

AlienMind Games, 1984

Oh, this is good. There’s music! It’s not very good music, but it’s still there! And look, a title screen with an actual picture!

So, we’ve got a reasonably famous little game here, based rather more effectively on the film than JRS’s abomination. Using only a menu, you have to try to save as many of the Nostromo’s crew as you can from the rampaging alien. It’s quite tricky, though, because the characters don’t just do what you tell them. Every command, be it moving or using items, takes a second or two for them to follow, and this isn’t a game where you can hang around thinking about things – it’s real-time, and the alien really is coming to get you.

There are only a few minor annoyances, like not being able to see anyone you aren’t controlling, and also not having a clue how the ship is laid out is a major problem for your first few goes. But once you get into it, it’s as riveting as the film and as a game, it’s definitely more Alien than Alien 3.

Alien [1]VideoSpectrum, 1985

Your guess is as good as mine.

Alien [2]VideoSpectrum, 1986


Don’t go thinking it’s all over now you’re at the bottom of the page, folks! Now, for the first time in absolutely ages, we’ve got a multi-page article. Will this deluge of crap games never end?

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