Complete Guide to Spectrum Games – Part 12

AliensElectric Dreams, 1986

It’s another ‘Distribution Denied’ game, I’m afraid. But I’ve already had my rant for the day, so it’s straight on to the game. Like the official Alien game, you control a team of people simultaneously and in real-time. You have to move them around an alien-infested colony, shooting the place up and killing the queen. (The alien queen, before anybody starts planning a dawn raid.)

Unlike the first game, this one takes place in first-person, and has no menus to deal with at all. You switch between the characters by pushing the first letter of their name on the keyboard (and ‘i’ for Bishop, because Burke got the ‘b’).

As you get deeper into the alien colony the creepy factor really kicks in, despite some loss of the scenery interaction from the earlier game. This was the first game to ever scare me, way back in the eighties, and it wasn’t until Doom that another game would. It hasn’t aged too well, given its now familiar format, but it’s still worth fumbling in the dark with. Seven out of ten.

AliensGrupo de Trabajo Software, 1985

It’s a flickery, BASIC objet du pointlessness that offends my senses at two frames and four beeps a second. It’s a total waste of every one of the six thousand and twenty two bytes it consumes, and the two minutes it’s taken me to play it and write this entry. (So, that’ll be no points then.)

AliensProfessional Software, 1983

Long and loud beeping on loading? Check.
Random and incessant beeping while you try to read the instructions? Check.
Random and incessant beeping that continues while you redefine the keys and set your skill level? Check.
It’s almost as though they didn’t want me to play the game. But as ever I persevered only to discover… a pretty good game.

No, really. The beeping hasn’t finally driven me nuts, this is actually a clever, fun game. You sit in an immobile gun turret while aliens appear and drop bombs on the city around you, taking them out floor by floor with each explosion. You have to destroy a certain number of alien ships in each wave, but you can also, if you’re quick enough and lucky enough, take out the bombs that are falling too. In fact, you’ll have to if you don’t want to get blown up yourself.

In fact, it reminds me of Incoming, if any of you played that. A deserved seven and a half out of ten.

AliensSpectrum Computing, 1983

It’s Space Invaders, but with a twist! (I’ve a horrible feeling that phrase’ll be on my tombstone.) This time, the twist is… the keys don’t work. None of them. You just keep firing over and over and over and over…

You’ll notice in the screenshot, though, I’ve got a score of 5218, despite having no input into the proceedings at all. Impressive as that might seem, my final score was 16105. I got it while I was typing out this review in a different window. If only more games were this innovative! They could all just play themselves, and we could all just watch. Then they could all review themselves, give themselves no points, and I could stop writing and go to the pub.

AliensSyndrome, 2000

It’s a sad fact that most of the games I’ve reviewed have been, in all fairness, crap. Some of them are truly dire, not so much not making the bar as taking an underground voyage of discovery beneath it. And some, some very few, are like this.

This game is the best thing in this particular batch of games. It’s a turn-based single-player puzzle game in which you control a team of eight people, each able to turn the gooey-blob like walls that are closing in on them into solid, impenetrable walls that’ll hold back the tide. It’s got strategy, it’s got tactics, it’s got clear, professional graphics, it’s got some nice sound effects and music, and it’s really good fun to play – it’s just held up this review by an hour. I urge you all to go over to WoS and get it right now. I’m giving this one an actual, genuine, not kidding nine out of ten.

AliensYour Sinclair, 1986

To be honest, I was expecting to come crashing back down to earth with this one. But it’s actually a competent little shooter. Enemies fly down the screen, guns blazing, and loop back around to the top if they make it. And there’s loads of them all zooming around you at once. The collision detection is suitably biased in favour of the player, and there’s some decent choons when things happen. Worth a few minutes of anybody’s time, to be sure.


  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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