Complete Guide to Spectrum Games – Part 12

Alien EvolutionGremlin Graphics, 1987

What the..? I can hear music! Real music! It’s… IT’S A REAL GAME! With real graphics! And real controls that don’t freeze half the time! Oh, just look at it.

Look at those lovely, grainy little isometric graphics. I’m stuck in a giant 3D hedge maze and I don’t care, because the scrolling is smooth as butter. I’ve no idea what I’m supposed to be doing, but there are teleports, and Manic Miner style guardians, and I can actually push objects around in my little car thing. Oh, eleven out of ten, just for saving me from the unending tedium of crap Space Invaders clones. Hurrah!

Alien FiendPaul Davies

It’s another unofficial Alien tie-in. But wait! This one’s almost interesting! You get to run around the spaceship, looking for escape equipment, Alcatraz Harry style! Only…

…well, it doesn’t look quite as good as Alcatraz Harry, does it? That’s actually one of the more interesting rooms, too, because there’s something in it. Also, if you do run into the alien, there is no way whatsoever of avoiding it. I’ve dived right back into the rubbish here, haven’t I?

Alien HighwayVortex, 1986

Ah, wait – here’s the sequel to the acclaimed Highway Encounter. It’s a flip screen adventure/shooter in which you push an object along a flip-screen map to… do some stuff.

To be honest, I keep getting horribly killed on the second screen, so I haven’t seen very much of the game. The controls are ‘interesting’, and to be honest the leading cause of death here. Still, it’s fast and smooth, and therefore better than at least one of the isometric games we’ve seen today.

Alien InsectsMacronics Systems, 1983

There’s a full page of instructions in this one, which really boils down to ‘shoot the insects in the head’. Well, I’m not going to argue with so sensible a request, so off I go to shoot insects in the head.

This is a surprisingly nippy little shooter. The aliens don’t move around too much, sadly, so much of the game consists of sitting in one place and shooting them as they march by. Still, for 1983 this is fantastic, and I have to make a special mention of the sound – it’s very arcadey, somewhat reminiscent of Robotron, only less ‘RAAWR!’. In fact, I had more fun with this than I did with Alien Highway. Hmm.


  1. “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’?”

    Hey, hold on! I’m not having that! You promised a review of every Spectrum game ever, not a review of every Spectrum game that isn’t distribution denied. In fact, you can’t even use that as an excuse, seeing as you have reviewed no less than two “distribution denied” titles in this part.

    Therefore I respectfully demand that every Spectrum game – including tons of budget-priced absolutely brilliant advanced simulators (and Alien Death Mine Massacre XII and Alien Abduction Simulator from the CGC) – is reviewed by yourself.

    Just remember to delete those distribution denied games after you’ve finished reviewing them, eh?

    “I’ve a horrible feeling that phrase’ll be on my tombstone.”

    No, your tombstone will read:
    ‘Here lies Nathan. He never did finish reviewing all those Spectrum games.’

  2. Well, I’ve just checked and it turns out there are, shockingly, only three Simulators in the As, and I think I’ve got them all. (On tape! On tape! Don’t sue me!) So I suppose I can put those in the end-of-letter round-up (which is going to be longer than the Alien Special at this rate).

    As for the CGC entries, well, er… I’ll definitely get back to those at some point, perhaps in their own ‘special’ section. After I’ve dealt with the numbered games. And all the Spanish text adventures.

  3. you know, im very very hungover, but whoever did this writes the funniest reviews too

    you’re a genius

    should be sitting with mr gorman on the tv

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