alien video games ranked

Ridley Scott’s Alien has had a marked influence on the video game industry, but it’s mostly just that – influence. I’s James Cameron’s Aliens that feels like a video game itself (in a good way), and developers have “borrowed” from it liberally for their titles. Without these movies, the space marines that populate first-person shooters would never have emerged, and games like Contra or Metroid would never have been a thing.

But that’s not to say there haven’t been some really great officially licensed games! There are good Alien games! But there are also a lot of really bad ones. With Alien: Covenant out this week, there is no better time to rank them from worst to best.

NOTE: While this article covers the vast majority of Alien-related games, there are a handful that are not available in the United States or were impossible to track down. However, this article encompasses the most noteworthy (and most well-known) titles.

Alien Atari 2600

18. Alien (1984)

Platform: Atari 2600

Developer and Publisher: Fox Video Games

The very first Alien game is just embarrassing for everyone involved and a good example of why the industry needed to almost die in the Atari 2600 days before people realized you couldn’t just slap a license on a box and expect people to buy it. In Alien you play a solitary human trying to evade an alien through an intricate maze of… Okay, look, alright, it’s just a ripoff of Pac-Man. What’s more, it’s Pac-Man interspersed with sections that are ripped out of Frogger but nowhere near as fulfilling or graphically exciting. It’s an inauspicious start to the world of video game adaptations for the franchise, but was also, sadly, a warning of the many, many lousy titles to come.

Aliens Comic Book Adventure

17. Aliens: A Comic Book Adventure (1995)

Developer: Cryo Interactive

Publisher: Mindscape Inc.

Did you ever look at all the horror, the action, the excitement, the pulse rifles of the Alien franchise and wish that you could be reading a story of it instead? Don’t get me wrong, point and click adventure games are amazing, but this is hardly the franchise to turn into one. That’s what poor gamers found out in 1995 with Aliens: A Comic Book Adventure, which is based on the Dark Horse Comics miniseries Aliens: Labyrinth. They took the plot of that acclaimed comic, which takes place on a research station that’s investigating the aliens to figure out what makes them tick. Of course, one escapes thanks to the actions of a saboteur. It’s a fine plot, a decent story that could make for some interesting moments, but they turned it into a juddery, ugly game. It’s dull and full of dumb puzzles, and features some grid-based combat that’s more frustrating than anything. This is a title that would be best frozen in stasis and sent off into the void.

Aliens Colonial Marines

16. Aliens: Colonial Marines (2013)

Platform: PS3, Xbox 360

Developer: Gearbox Software

Publisher: Sega

What happened here? Gearbox Software had unparalleled access to the Alien world. They were able to dust off old scripts and art for the project and create an actual canon sequel to Aliens…which is what this dreck sadly is. Remember in Aliens when the stranded marines were informed help was coming for them in 17 days? “Seventeen days? Hey man, I don’t wanna rain on your parade, but we’re not gonna last seventeen hours!” Well, you play the group of badasses that arrive after 17 days.

It’s just a shame that the scariest thing about this game is how bad it is. Terrible graphics (that were infamously a downgrade from early trailers) combined with boring enemies, numerous unintentional bugs, and a feature-free and forgettable multiplayer mode make for a dismal experience. For developers that claim to love Aliens so much (and with their history of making fun FPS titles like Borderlands), it was completely unexpected how much of a trash experience this game was. This is what happens when you make a game to be fan service and have nothing to back it up.

avp extinction

15. Aliens Versus Predator: Extinction (2003)

Platform: PS2, Xbox

Developed by: Zono Incorporated

A real-time strategy game for this franchise is a fantastic idea. Think about it – they could have just piggybacked on Starcraft, since the races line up almost exactly. The Zerg are aliens, Protoss are Predators, Terrans are humans. It’s too easy to mess up! Unfortunately, this was a console game back in the day when developers had no idea how to do RTS titles on console. Nowadays, thanks to wonderful user interfaces that allow us to enjoy X-Com titles and such, it’s another thing. But back on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, you could expect a slow, annoying experience.

A sloppy UI isn’t the only problem either – this is an RTS without base building (!) that features incredibly dumb units that never follow your commands. This is a genre that they should play around with a bit more, because there’s so much potential there!

Aliens Versus Predator 2010

14. Aliens vs Predator (2010)

Platform: PC, PS3, Xbox 360

Developer: Rebellion Developments

Publisher: Sega

“Here’s an idea! Lets take the most successful Aliens game of all time and remake it with nothing that made it good in the first place!”

Here is one of those modern FPSers where you are held by the hand and told what to do at every single stage. No matter if you pick the campaign for the Marines, Aliens or Predator, you’ll have someone barking (or screeching) orders at you over a communicator and be forced to follow waypoints around the world in order to satisfy your masters. It’s a shock, especially if you’ve played the original. This game looks nice, sure, but there’s no atmosphere and no tension. There’s some strange decisions in the campaigns as well. The marines only fight one predator during the campaign and they even manage to make the Alien Queen encounter boring!

Multiplayer is far more fun than the single player campaign but the negative reviews and server issues meant that it was hard to find matches. When they finally patched the game to make sure everything was in working order, everyone had moved on.

aliens the computer game

13. Aliens: The Computer Game (1986)

Platform: Commodore 64

Developer: Software Studios 

Publisher: Electric Dreams Software

This game is almost a prototype for first person shooters. You play Aliens: The Computer Game from the Command Center and have to switch over from monitor to monitor to keep an eye on your team of space marines, making sure that no aliens sneak up on them. Each character is stationary and you can look around their room, praying that the motion detector doesn’t notice any aliens sneaking up behind you. There are waves of enemies, but for the most part, you’re going to run out of ammo long before you get very far. It’s a hard game, and one that really was unlike anything else at the time. The weirdest part? Burke (Paul Reiser’s sniveling corporate stooge from Aliens) is one of the characters, and is armed and more than willing to kill specimens.

You can actually play an upgraded remake of this game here.

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