Not quite Ripley battles hordes of aliens and assorted zombies. Zombies?
Aliens was one of the few arcade games I enjoyed on a regular basis in my younger years. For some inexplicable reason the title was in my small hometown arcade forever sitting unforgotten and unloved. Back in itís original arcade run heyday though, Aliens was in fact the best translation that the Alien franchise ever had at that point. Now days, itís looking a little dated, but more on that in a bit.
Following in the footsteps of the second and most popular Aliens film, you play as Ripley, at least, youíre as close a proximity to Ripley you'll see, since they obviously didnít get any rights to making the character in the game look anything like Sigourney Weaver. Your job is to rescue Newt, so itís best to assume that the game takes place near the end of the film after the rest of the Marines get torn to shreds, blown up, or what have you. Even better than playing as Ripley, the second player gets to be Hicks. You know, Iíll always be pissed that he got killed at the beginning of Alien 3, but I digress.
The gameplay in Aliens is similar to a side scrolling beat-um-up, except it's all shooting. The Marine ďsmart gunĒ from the film is the starting weapon and there are plenty of upgrades found throughout including a three-bullets-at-a-time gun (Yeah, I couldn't think of a better name for it), a homing rocket launcher, a three-way directional gun, and a flame thrower. In addition you can throw occasional grenades you find along the way.
Youíre going to need the weapon upgrades, because there are hundreds of aliens crawling throughout the levels. There are the usual types seen in the film or at least they're similar to the standard alien with varying colors. There are also plenty of other Aliens that look like they came from some other, less awesome sci-fi film. Thereís all kinds of weird looking creatures including some flying bat like things and even some zombies. The Aliens series is kind of limited in the enemy type area, but the completely un-alien looking aliens is one of the worst features of this game.
The sound effects are creepy enough with the most notable being the weird/scary scream that issues out of Ripley when she dies. It still gives me the creeps to this day. The music is also notable for being fairly good. Itís one of the few arcade soundtracks that I can remember when Iím not playing the game.
Aliens' graphics scream early side-scroller. It's in that weird middle phase between crappy Atari graphics and the better graphics of games like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In Aliens the graphics are palatable, but not spectacular. Aliens also features a few early digitized photos in the opening screens to lure you into playing. While they look pretty dated now, they still add a little bit to the experience. The end battle with resulting cut scene "animation" is worth playing this game for alone.
Level design is fairly straight forward with occasional breaks in the standard blasting by having you crawl through some air ducts. A few other times you must ride on top of a of a A.P.C. blowing away aliens as you go. A few of the levels are closer to the film than others and even the ones that are farther away from the source material fits the feel of the Alien series. In fact, the game as a whole does a fairly good job of emulating the feel of the films, even with all the bizarre enemies.
All in all, Aliens is worth a play if it isnít the greatest game ever, although die hard fans of the series should really appreciate this one more than anyone else.
Still better than Alien IV.