The following post was written by Joe Fulton of the most excellent site, Millionaire Playboy.com. The Aliens game for the Commodore 64 is very near and dear to me, so I really was glad to get this from Joe. Expect me to drop some thought bombs on this subject in the future.
It’s no secret that video games based on films have always sucked. Don’t get me started on films based on video games. A video game never does a film justice! One exception is Aliens by Activision for the Commodore 64.
Made in 1986, Aliens is a fun game that follows very close to the events in James Cameron’s film. Twenty four years ago games based on films was rather new concept. Actionvision created an amazing game that spared no expense to immerse yourself in the Aliens world! The game begins with the Aliens title slowly fading in. The first thing you will notice is the quality of the music and graphics. Key scenes from the film are recreated providing very impressive graphics and sound. The game also does a great job of providing you with the key elements of the story before each mission.
Trust us, this was an amazing photo-realistic image back then.
Before the first mission we see the scene of the marines and Ripley in mission briefing. The dialog of the film is recreated including Hudson asking “Is this going to be a stand-up fight, sir, or another bug hunt.” Before you fly down to the surface of LV-426 you have to identify the different equipment and weapons. A pointless exercise, that fills more like filler than anything else.
If you couldn’t get this part right, you didn’t deserve to play the game.
Once you complete the weapons identification you move into the dropship for the first mission. After the primary couples are released, Corporal Ferros gives you the mark to begin the decent to LV-426. Switching to DCS Ranging allows you to pilot the dropship through a series of rings attempting to stay profile compliance (a.k.a Aliens talk for don’t fuck that up).
At least you’ll have more fun flying through rings than in Superman 64.
Using your joystick (mine was from my Atari) you must keep the nose of the ship through the rings. If you begin to miss rings you have to start over. Flying through the rings is probably the hardest part of the game. At times I thought it was impossible, but with a little patience you will get the hang of it. It takes about two minutes to fly down to the planet to deploy the marines.
Ahhh the thrill of victory.
“We’re in some real pretty shit now man…”
The next mission takes place in the terraforming colony after the initial Alien attack. The mission is to return Drake, Crowe, Frost, and Dietrich back to the A.P.C. safely. You must monitor the status and health monitors of your soldiers as Gorman switching between the four remaining soldiers. If one of the soldiers are being attacked you must switch to that soldier to fend them off. If they
are overtaken you have a small amount of time to get one of the other marines to save him.
“This can’t be happening, man! This isn’t happening!”
“Ho, that’s beautiful, man. Oh man, that that… that just beats it all…”
The third mission requires you to fight off the Aliens with a flame thrower while Hicks cuts through the door. If you let any Aliens through they will take the remaining marines. Depending on how many marines you have left will give you a better chance of making it past. Be warned some of these fuckers are fast.
Oh noooos! Aliens!
Like Pac-Man… if Pac-Man let his friends kill themselves.
If you’re lucky to get through the door the next step is to make your way through the heating system to the dropship. The system is a maze of pipes that can be very difficult to navigate. As the bomb icon you must avoid the blinking asterisks or the Aliens. They sparkle!
That’s a lot of eggs.
Newt is then captured by the Aliens. As Ripley you return to the colony interior to rescue Newt. The locator band tells you how many meters you are away from Newt. So you don’t get lost you can drop flares. This helpful after you rescue her. You have limited time to get out before the whole colony explodes.
Ever want to see H.R. Giger in 8-bit? Check out that screen.
Once you escape with Newt the final mission is aboard the U.S.S. Sulaco. Unbeknownst to Ripley, the Queen Alien was aboard the dropship. When she attacks Bishop you get into the Power Loader to save Newt. The game then cuts away to the infamous scene of Ripley telling the Queen “Get away from her you bitch!”
Holy Shit! Now I was 9 years old when this game came out. It was unbelievable to me that a video game would have a swear word in the game. The word “bitch” is not that big of deal, except when you are nine.
Welcome to the big dance.
Into the garbage chute with you… oh sorry, wrong movie.
As you battle the queen you have to grab her by the throat with the cargo loader. Once you got her in your grasp, the airlock opens up to suck that bitch out into space. The game then cuts away to Bishop telling Ripley “Not bad… for a human!” The game concludes with Ripley and Newt asleep in the hypersleep chambers.
And that’s coming from an android that couldn’t keep himself together in the final act. Jerk.
Feature Writer for Millionaire Playboy