Aliens Externination

12. Aliens Extermination (2006)

Platform: Arcade

Developer and Publisher: Global VR

You’re packing state of the art firepower and there’s nothing that you can’t handle. You’ve been trained for this. Just make sure you have lots of quarters.

Aliens Extermination is a fine arcade shooter, one whose cabinet features ridiculous guns with force feedback to grab and hundreds of enemies to cut to pieces with bullets. As far as these things go, you can’t complain. You know what to expect from this. Of course enemies will pop up at the extremities of the screen and get off cheap shots that you won’t be able to react to in time, all the better to keep you pumping in money to see the end. But destructible environments make for fun shooting if you go off the handle and there are lots of power-ups to grab and bosses to fight. It’s perfectly fine, a decent way to waste some time at an arcade (they still have those?) or a movie theater before doing something else.

Alien Computer Game

11. Alien (1984) 

Platform: Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum

Developer: Argus Press Software LTD

Publisher: Concept Software LTD

After that Pac-Man ripoff debacle, Concept Software swooped in to make a game that actually fit the original Alien license. You play a commander that’s trying to keep the Nostromo crew alive, but there’s a couple of kinks to contend with. Each game, a different character is infected with the Xenomorph, and another is selected to be the secret android that’s trying to keep the alien alive. You  have to try and suss out the traitor and keep your crew alive, all the while directing them to safety from the alien threat. That is, if they’ll listen to you – they can get demoralized and give up if they get too injured or scared. Keep that airlock handy and try to get as many survivors to the Narcissus, or even try and kill the xenomorph for good and bring the Nostromo back intact! Today, the game looks like a nightmare of icons and lines, but it’s remarkable how faithful it is to the film experience.

Alien 3 The Gun

10. Alien 3: The Gun (1993)

Platform: Arcade

Developed and Published: Sega

Ahh, Alien 3, a movie everyone remembered because of its intense scenes of high powered weaponry! Yes, it’s only when you take a step back from this impressive arcade cabinet with its two pulse rifles (that vibrate convincingly during shots!) that you remember that the film doesn’t have a damn gun in it at all. Hence the tongue-in-cheek name here?

But it doesn’t matter, since this is a pretty fun light gun shooter, even if it is fairly cheap. No matter your skill level, you’ll end up with facehuggers covering up your screen, sucking away your health and your quarters. Fortunately, you have screen-clearing grenades at your disposal and it’s a blast when you’re side to side with a buddy, firing away (remember, short, controlled bursts). This is a faster-paced and more exciting game than Extinction. If you manage to find one, it’d be well worth dropping a few quarters in.

Alien Resurrection

9. Alien: Resurrection (2000)

Platform: PS1

Developer: Argonaut Games

Publisher: Fox Interactive

A spooky game that sees you slowly clanking around metal corridors, fearing the next xenomorph attack, this may be the only game on this list that’s better than its film. Although that’s not saying much in this case.

While it’s got great sound design and graphics, the aliens all look chunky and hilarious, and the game doesn’t even touch the level of lighting effects that had just come from Alien Versus Predator (expect that one later on the list). Plus, this is the age of the grey and brown shooter, when every single room looks the same and everything is just bring to look at.

It’s somewhat ironic that this game was slammed upon release for its controls, which used the left analog stick to move and the right to aim, controls that Turok: Dinosaur Hunter innovated on the N64 years earlier. This would eventually become standard for every single modern first person shooter, but at the time, it confused players. It’s just another way that the Alien franchise helped drive innovation in the gaming industry.

Aliens Konami Arcade

8. Aliens (1990)

Platform: Arcade

Developer and Publisher: Konami 

If you’re looking for a faithful adaptation of the Aliens story, star far away from this arcade game. Neither Ripley or Hicks look anything like they should, and they both head into the alien Queen’s nest to find Newt. But this side scrolling beat ’em up owes a lot to Contra (including some vertical stages), and takes liberties with the story, it delivers fun action. There’s all kinds of new aliens, including some that fly and spit, and bosses that shoot out big orb-like projectiles. Oh, and there are zombies. But it doesn’t really matter, since it’s all about shooting everything that moves and it delivers on that front. Plus, it lets you jump in a power loader and mow down enemies for a level.

As far as sidescrollers go, it’s a decent one one, but this game comes from an era when we were being inundated with them. Everyone from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to the X-Men to The Simpsons were showing up as beat ’em up games at this point, and it was hard for Aliens to compete.

Alien Trilogy

7. Alien Trilogy (1996)

Platform: PS1, Saturn, PC

Developer: Probe Entertainment

Publisher: Acclaim Entertainment

It looks a little clunky now, and truthfully, it wasn’t the best looking game on release, but Alien Trilogy still holds up as one of those fun old-school run-and-gun first person shooters. Upon release, this was one of the finest games for the original PlayStation, one that utilized everything about the franchise to its fullest potential. The sound design is impeccable, with all of the weapon and equipment sound effects coming through faithfully. The aliens, while of the 2D sprite variety, are a pain to contend with and you face tons of them.

This game owes a lot to Doom, which itself riffed off Aliens, so it’s only fair. Much like that shooter, you can’t look or aim up or down – your aim automatically corrects to fight facehuggers on the ground or xenomorphs on the walls. It’s also vicious and doesn’t care about killing you off with cheap enemies that jump at you and whittle away your health before you have the chance to react.

This “trilogy” doesn’t really follow the events of the films, instead offering 30 levels that pick and choose from each movie and throws them into a non-stop action slurry. It’s a shame it’s not more readily available.

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