Reviews - Updated on April 14, 2022

American director Ridley Scott (Ridley Scott) sold out in earnest. Seeing where the universe created by him, screenwriter Dan O’Bannon (Dan O’Bannon) and artist Hans Giger (Hans Giger) turned, he grabbed her by the gills with renewed vigor and began to shoot prequels. In 2012, Prometheus hit theaters, now Alien: Covenant, and yet Scott’s triumphant return as master of the xenomorphs is far from the finish line. It is clear that this more than thirty-year-old epic has found its way into other media, including games. So, while the audience is staring at the planet of the forerunners, gamers have a reason to return to space, where the Nostromo is on fire for the fourth day and the facehuggers jump on the poor fellows.

Retropixelism

In 1979, when the director’s work scared not with the quality of the scripts, but with an indestructible monster and a creepy atmosphere, the release of Alien made a splash. Although it would seem – a chamber story with a meager set of characters that practically do not go beyond the spaceship. But how the aesthetics of retrofuturism is presented here – from wildish spacesuits to a convex screen, where the Mother supercomputer displays an opinion about the value and fate of the crew – and how the actor John Hurt (John Vincent Hurt) accurately portrayed his acquaintance with the breastbreaker. Finally, how skillfully the authors provoked tension, once again proving the axiom of horror: the monster is not so much frightening as its expectation. The Alien himself was not given a lot of screen time, but what an effect!

Today, for the sake of this, even a browser emulator is too lazy to run.

Of course, igrodely tried on the topic. Moreover, the space thriller created by Scott was asking for interactivity. However, we are talking about the times of Atari 2600 – you can’t accelerate with visual beauties. Therefore, all that Fox Video Games, the first to receive a license to create games based on Alien, was enough for in 1982 was a clone of Pac-Man. Here, a conditionally designated hero collects sketchy monster eggs, while the exact same conditional xenomorph is chasing him through the labyrinth. In case of an encounter with evil, the character controlled by the player has a flamethrower – well, just like in the movie. The idea is great, no doubt about it, but the product itself successfully formed the ET the Extra-Terrestrial company.

A little closer to the spirit of the film after a couple of years crept up the authors of adventure Alien. At the very least, the action takes place on board the Nostromo, and the script starts with the death of one of the characters. However, the similarity is limited to this, because here the algorithm randomly determines who is infected (in the film, as we remember, Kane turned out to be the first victim). Controlling the rest of the crew, the player must catch the monster in order to throw it into outer space. But this is not so easy to do because of the ticking timer and the growing stress of the astronauts. If they panic, then, for example, they refuse to climb into the ventilation – well, who would agree?

No sooner had the producers of 20th Century Fox handed over the reins to director James Cameron than he cast the subject in a new light. It turns out that the Alien universe can enchant not only in the format of a horror movie, but also as an action movie, where paratroopers shoot monsters in batches, where blood-acid splashes everywhere, and a fragile-looking woman, under certain conditions, can kick the hive’s most vicious ass. The action format also appealed to game authors, mainly due to the setting and expressiveness of the enemies. And also because at that time interactive horror as such did not exist. So, no one knew how to use cinematic injection techniques in games. Another thing is shooting.

“Is there Ripley? What if I find it?

Weaklings have no place here

That is why such a stream of products has poured into the market for reasons that there is no point in remembering all of it now. Moreover, not all action films inspired by “Aliens” are meaningfully close to the original. For example, in 1987 Activision published Aliens: The Computer Game for the Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum. Here, on the one hand, a scene with a motion detector is reproduced, but on the other hand, epileptic flights through the rings are added. Although the soundtrack, as for the late 80s, is completely fine – subtly reminiscent of a theme from the Soviet Sherlock Holmes. It’s okay: where the Americans failed, Japanese game designers succeeded.

The Aliens action game, released in 1987 for MSX computers, is, of course, a fan’s feast. A heart-pounding Contra-style side-scroller, but starring Ellen Ripley, weapons and a bestiary of enemies from the film, including the Queen. Alas, Squaresoft released the product only for the Japanese audience. But later, Konami specialists created a similar action movie for arcade machines: here Ripley suddenly became blonde, aliens shimmer with all shades of pink and mutate into anything, and on some levels you can play as Rebecca Newt Jorden – the very girl who survived on Hadley’s Hope until the paratroopers arrived.

The 1992 film Alien 3 by David Fincher is an attempt to return the intimacy of Hans Giger’s monster stories: here, human characters confront just one xenomorph and die in turn in the musty cesspools of Fiorina’s prison “Fury” 161. However, to recreate the atmosphere The original director did not succeed. Difficult filming, rearrangements in the script, a trial with Giger himself – it is not surprising that, as soon as the film was released, Fincher chose to slam the door and forget about it like a bad dream. But where some see a problem, others see an opportunity.

“Shall we shoot or make eyes?”

The British studio Probe Entertainment in the same 1992 released the Alien 3 action game, which sold out on a number of platforms in more than a year – from the Amiga to the SNES. The game is well known to the owners of Sega Genesis (aka Mega Drive): controlling a shaved-headed heroine stuck on a prison planet, the gamer must destroy all aliens and free the prisoners glued to the walls. To fight monsters, Ripley has a machine gun and grenades – the latter help a lot when you need to blow up an enemy hiding a couple of meters below. And in 1993, SEGA introduced an arcade machine, where the fight against aliens was first served from a first-person perspective. Alien 3: The Gun differs sharply from the film, rendered in its title – suffice it to say that there are many monsters, not just one. But does it really matter when you pick up a mock-up “gun” and shoot creepy faces on the screen?

The fashion for shooting xenomorphs in the first person was picked up by other publishers. So, the company Acclaim released in 1996 the Alien Trilogy shooter from the already familiar Probe Entertainment team. As the name implies, the plot of the game collects three films with the participation of Ripley into a bundle at once – “Alien”, “Aliens” and “Alien 3”. And here is everything that we love the universe for: a terrible environment, attacks of facehuggers, synthetics, nimble chest-breakers, a battle with the Queen and a good old shotgun to survive these meetings without validol. Similar to Doom, but not Doom. Briefings and CGI cutscenes add coherence to the story, while motion capture technology used to animate the enemies adds spice to the battles. It is also noteworthy that it was thanks to Trilogy that the owners of personal computers connected to the extermination of monsters on the planet LV426 – after the game was ported to this platform from the PlayStation. For the first time, they also enjoyed multiplayer in Aliens: Online, which offered some players to act as aliens, and others to try on the form of cool paratroopers.

“You take me out of the minigun – I’ll get you with my tail.”

The last wave of games based on films in the Alien universe was caused by the film Alien: Resurrection by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and screenwriter Joss Whedon, whose opinion the director had in mind. The conventional wisdom is that this is the worst sheep in the Alien tetralogy, and that if you like the movie, you don’t know a damn thing about the franchise and you have taste problems. Perhaps this is how it is: games inspired by Resurrection have gone to the same steppe as Genet. And Alien: Resurrection of 2000, published on PlayStation consoles, is proof of this. First, the Dreamcast version had to be canceled due to delayed development, and then the entertainment went through a skating rink of criticism. Although the control scheme, defeated in the press – we move with one stick, aim with the other – has now become standard for console shooters.

Boring hell

History does not know the subjunctive mood, so no one can say what would have happened if the authors of Predator 2 had not placed an Easter egg with the skull of the Alien on the ship of alien hunters. But it is extremely rare that creative hooliganism turns into such an explosion, giving birth to one universe inside another. Here you have films, and comics, and several series of books, and even disputes over who would fence whom if both monsters clashed in reality. However, we are primarily interested in games – even if they are thematically and in mood, they have gone far from Alien, some have become a kind of classic, so it’s unfair to put them out of the brackets.

As early as 1993, SNES owners were playing beat ’em up Aliens vs. Predator by Activision. Set against a backdrop of kung fu with retractable blades and jaws, this tells the story of how the builders of a distant colony dug up alien eggs and then sent a signal to Earth for help. But he was intercepted by predators – and decided to restore order in their own way. Well, right Streets of Rage, where instead of gopniks, insect-like reptiles. The Japanese Capcom also joined the topic, releasing in 1994 a scuffle for arcade machines with exactly the same name – Aliens vs. Predator. What distinguishes it from the work of its American colleagues is its colorfulness and the ability to play as an Alien or the hero of the original Predator Alan Dutch Schaeffer, waving a mechanical arm with a built-in machine gun.

The best Aliens versus Predator possible: the marine endured and told us to.

Even the real-time strategy Aliens vs. Predator: Extinction by Electronic Arts. But the most significant contribution to the mythology of AvP is made in a classic way – through the shooter genre. I’m talking, of course, about Aliens vs. Predator 1999. The British studio Rebellion, best known for the Sniper Elite series, made gamers fearful in the Marine campaign, taught them how to attack from the ceiling when playing as an Alien, and caused delight with the Predator arsenal. All three episodes are not shameful to refresh even now – they are so well worked out. Aliens vs. Predator 2 studio Monolith also turned out to be nothing – the chapter, where you have to impregnate the victim in the role of a facehugger, and then crawl out through the ribs and flesh, is already worth a lot. But SEGA’s attempt to resurrect its former glory with a 2010 relaunch fell flat.

The same xenomorph

In general, SEGA, since it acquired the license from 20th Century Fox in 2006, has been pulling this strap with admirable stubbornness. Apart from action games for arcade machines and the already mentioned Aliens versus Predator reboot, the publisher has behind Aliens: Infestation for the portable Nintendo DS and Aliens: Colonial Marines in 2013. The latter was saved neither by the participation in the production of the artist Sid Mead (Sydney Mead), who designed the ship “Sulaco” from “Aliens”, nor by the involvement of Michael Biehn (Michael Biehn) – he is Corporal Hicks. And the reason for this is hack, swindle and little tricks using third-party developers instead of Gearbox. As a result, the worst thing that could have been done with the resources of such a large studio and carte blanche from SEGA got to the release.

But a drop wears away a stone. The decision came from where they did not expect – from the authors of the Total War strategic series from Creative Assembly. Combining, as if in a proverb, ingenious with simple, they returned the Alien universe to its full circle in Alien: Isolation. Here you have a space station and an incredibly tenacious monster, from which the heroine is forced to run away and hide, and here is an oppressive atmosphere that makes you shudder at every rustle and peer into the motion sensor. However, there are nuances. The main character here is not Ellen Ripley, but her daughter Amanda, and the action takes place on the Sevastopol space station. Who wants to wander around the Nostromo will join the Crew Expendable add-on – it only proves that the formula of the authors is close to the ideas of Ridley Scott.

Of course, we did not remember all the games on the topic, but only iconic things. If, in your opinion, something was forgotten or you have a special opinion on this matter, share it in the comments. And enjoy watching the movie “Alien: Covenant” in the cinema.

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