In light of Sega's recently-revealed Alien vs. Predator game, PSW takes a look at the topsy-turvy history of the games starring those slimy, black extraterrestrial horrors.
To be fair, the 1979 movie Alien was a little bit like Pac-Man without ghosts and with improvised flamethrowers, but considering the Atari 2600 couldn't even do Pac-Man properly, Alien had a snowball's chance in hell. It was games just like this that caused the gaming industry of the early Eighties to crash spectacularly, and rightly so. It was awful and as much fun as a stomach-burster.
8-bit computers/ 1984
By perfectly capturing the atmosphere of the movie, Alien gave Spectrum and Commodore 64 owners one of the most terrifying games of the time and arguably an early example of Survival Horror. When played in the dark it really could put the willies up you, but then again, the Spectrum's colour palette was the thing of nightmares all by itself.
Aliens The Computer Game
8-bit computers/ 1986
By enabling the player to control all of the film characters simultaneously via multiple screens, Aliens managed to capture the mood with a unique style. Listening to the motion tracker beeps provided audio terror and watching as each screen turned to static as your squad was picked off was frightening.
8-bit computers & home consoles/ 1992
The third Alien movie took the series back to its roots and so Ripley had to deal with the xenomorph without any guns - or hair. Not that the game gave a damn about such details and instead was content to be a platform-based shooter with a vast arsenal of automatic weaponry. It was a fair shooter, but it wasn't the Alien3 you were looking for.
8-bit computers, NES/1987
This piece of hacked-out fodder let you play Arnie in his role as Major Alan 'Dutch' Shaefer and have all the fun of making him amble from left to right while shooting dumb Colombians. Excitingly, the Predator's targeting reticule would appear and you'd have to dodge it - but then you'd be back to the walking bit.
8-bit computers, PC/1990
You are Danny Glover playing Lt Mike Harrigan playing Operation Thunderbolt. What would you do with the concept of an invisible alien that stalks gangs in a sweltering city? Probably not decide on a sideways-scrolling tin can alley. At only four levels long, it was over quickly.
Aliens vs. Predator 2
F.E.A.R. publishers Monolith were the chaps to thank for AvP2. Better multiplayer modes and a campaign that made sense of the storyline, the ability to play the Alien in any of its forms as well as being able to save your game anywhere, were some of the perks found in this superior sequel.
More than just Doom with Aliens for enemies, this early PlayStation FPS placed you as Ellen Ripley as she fought her way through the first three films by being sneaky.Trilogy's dingy corridors and reliance on the sound of a motion tracker kept the mood just right. Original PlayStation pads lacked thumbsticks, so without DualShock-related sticks it handled like a bitch.