With Alien: Blackout coming to iPhone and Android devices recently, I started to think back on the history of Alien video games. With the original Alien film having released in 1979, there have been over 40 video games in the franchise; this number includes games from the Alien vs. Predator series, but still, that’s a lot of Alien right there!
While there are many iffy (and downright awful) titles throughout the franchise’s video game history, there are some incredible gems. I’ve made a list of six awesome games that do Alien proud.
Aliens – 1990 (Arcade)
For many of us, some of our first video game memories took place in an arcade. Aliens was a shoot ‘em up side-scrolling title in the vein of Contra. At times the game would shift the player into third-person, providing more of an immersive experience while taking on the Xenomorphs. Offering a variety of weapons, the chance for two players to jump in, and loads of violence, Aliens made for many memorable nights at the arcade.
Alien vs. Predator – 1994 (Arcade)
Choosing between two cybernetically-enhanced human soldiers or two different types of Predators, players embarked on a mission to fight Xenomorphs and take down their queen. Through the game’s seven levels, all players would have the ability to face enemies through physical combat and ranged weaponry. While it received a significant amount of praise upon its release, this beat ‘em up adventure is still fondly remembered among gaming critics today as a classic.
Alien Trilogy– 1996 (PS, Sega Saturn, PC)
This first-person shooter was based on the first three Alien films. Comprised of 30 levels, three bosses, and a variety of alien enemies, Alien Trilogy was praised for its authentic take on the movies. Such qualities as strong graphics and sound, the movement of the alien enemies, and more in-depth missions compared to other first-person shooters at the time, helped to make the game feel alive.
Alien Versus Predator 2 – 2001 (PC, Mac OS X)
Want to play as a Xenomorph, a Predator, or a marine? Hell yes!
Depending on who you decided to play as, the player would have access to that species’ abilities; if you were a Predator you’d have access to their wrist blades; if you were a Xenomorph, you’d have the power to climb up and down walls and attack with claws. The competitive environment of Alien vs. Predator 2 made for an exhilarating sci-fi rush as iconic creatures and marines attacked one another. And if you wanted to focus on the single player for a bit, the game allowed players to take on three separate storylines (one for each species); there was also the bonus that each storyline in some way interacted with the others.
Aliens: Infestation – 2011 (3DS)
I could never have imagined there would be an Alien game for the Nintendo DS. In Infestation, players took control of a single marine out of a party of four while exploring the U.S.S. Sulaco, along with LV-426 and Phobos. During combat with the Xenomorphs, the game offered a neat death mechanic; if the marine you were controlling happen to die, you could take control of another marine from your party. For fans who wanted to take Alien on the go, and enjoyed “Metroidvania” games, Infestation was ideal.
Alien: Isolation – 2014 (PS3/XB1, PC, PS4, XB1
Of course, Isolation is on this list; as one of the creepier Alien experiences, Isolation is a must for Alien fans. This survival horror game pits you up against a Xenomorph threat, with your primary option of defense coming in how well you can hide. You’ll also have the chance to come across hostile humans and androids, which can be killed with guns and by other means. Isolation’s best quality is its atmosphere; as you move about the game, you are made more and more aware of the grim chances you have at survival. Not only is Isolation one of the best games in the Alien franchise, but it is one of the strongest horror experiences in recent years.
Have you had the chance to play any of these Alien games? Are there other titles not on this list you’ve had the opportunity to play?