Whilst Alien 3 (1992) was a bit of a famous disaster as a film, the game spinoff worked pretty well and was good fun.
We rented it from Blockbuster back in the day and enjoyed its creepy platforming hijinks. Thusly, let us bask in its memory!
Alien 3 the Video Game Adaptation
ALIEN³, as it was stylized, was David Fincher’s debut film. He’s since gone on to have a memorable career, but even now he hates discussing the 1992 production.
It was a mess, with way too much studio interference to the point of madness.
In the end it was remarkable a coherent film came out of everything, with Sigourney Weaver and Charles Dance on predictably fine form. But otherwise the film is rubbish.
However! That was the first Alien film since James Cameron’s genius sequel Aliens in 1986.
With a lot of hype going on, studio execs wanted a spinoff game to make the most of the money-making opportunity.
The result was the excellently named Probe Software got their sweaty and juddering hands on the official license. And this was the result in 1992.
That’s the Mega Drive version. The SNES one is similar.
The interesting thing here is Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979) influenced many video games, most notably for Nintendo’s excellent Metroid series and titles such as Super Metroid (1994).
Alien 3 is very much along those platforming lines. You take control of Ellen Ripley (replete with shaved head, like the film) and indulge in run-and-gun type antics.
As with the movie, you’re on the Fiorina 161 prison colony and must jump, shoot, blow stuff up, crawl, and climb your way to the end of the game.
Along the way you come across many xenomorphs and facehuggers, which you must gun down with much gusto.
You also get level objectives, which are provided through a computer terminal.
It’s pretty chaotic stuff but we remember being surprised by the quality of the game. And the reviews from the time reflected that, hovering around the 4/5 mark.
The game is creepy and fast-paced, playing out like an arcade romp. So Probe Software (lol) really took the right approach with it.
But the game has since become a relic—largely forgotten (kind of like the film).
An indication of its age is the SNES version didn’t have a save feature. Yes, that was still a pretty new concept back then. Instead, players relied on passwords.
The SNES version also only features six stages, whilst the Mega Drive one has some 15. Hmmm… what happened there?
Whatever, we feel Alien 3 deserves a little more respect in the games community for its efforts as an engaging platformer.
It’s far from the best platformer of its era. But it does the movie proud and is, shock horror, better than its big screen monstrous sister.
Alien 3’s Many and Various 1993 Game Ports
Boy, was the film studio keen on milking this film. Along with the major releases for the big two consoles of the day, Alien 3 went full port.
By which we mean it made it to the Game Gear, Game Boy, Master System, NES, Amiga, and even the Commodore 64. Those ports came out in 1993.
The NES version, being more basic (due to technological limitations), was thrashed by the Angry Video Game Nerd in an October 2013 video.
However, it was the Game Boy version we want to focus on. Probe Software (lol) didn’t handle that project, with now defunct British developer Bits Studios taking over duties.
Whilst the other ports all focussed on the same 2D action, Bits approached the Game Boy’s limitations by choosing an overhead perspective.
Reviews are scare for this one, but Official Nintendo Magazine handed it 90%.
The magazine would often obviously hike review scores up (especially in the late ’90s), so we’re not sure if we trust that one.
Compare it to the Game Gear version and you can see which one looks more fun, anyway. Probe Software (lol) handled this one and stuck to the run-and-gun formula.
Jolly good fun, all of it! However, the game didn’t outstay its welcome.
Since its release, it’s not appeared on anything else. No remakes. No availability on Nintendo’s virtual shops. Nothing.
If you want to play the thing, you’ll need to head to your nearest online emulator.
I can’t say I have played it, but it does look interesting.
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It’s fairly standard platforming stuffs, just set in the Alien 3 world. So distinctive as Ripley has her head shaved! It’s all about the details.
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