The dreaded “licensed game”. Many of you are well aware that anything that is tied to a TV series/comic/movie franchise is more than likely going to break your heart. As a child, playing video games was just an amazing experience (still is by the way) and when you were old enough to comprehend that companies would sell their ideas to video game developers, mind = blown. “So what you are telling me is that I can play as my beloved hero/heroine? Here you go take all my moneys”. Unfortunately this concept has rarely been fully realised leaving fan service to be the thing that ends up on the cutting room floor during the development process. There are some gems out there when it comes to licensed games Ducktales is one of those shining achievements. I hope that this game doesn’t disappoint (*unlike its feature film counterpart).
Alien 3 released in 1993, published by LJN (which provided us with many other great “Licensed Game” abominations) has you starring as Lieutenant Ellen Ripley after crashing on a isolated planet, waking up in a semi abandoned maximum security work prison you discover you are the only survivor of the crash; the only human survivor that is *cue dramatic music now*. You must push forward through interlocking hallways, a number of mazes filled with giant industrial fans that wish for nothing more than you to become a lovely side dish of Pâté, and last but surely not least the bloody nest rooms, all hopefully leading you to find anything that can help you survive the nightmare that is the Xenomorphs.
Yep, this is gonna suck.
Visually speaking this game is impressive for a Game Boy title. The clear distinction between a variety of areas is incredibly well done. A small library section with actual books on the shelf’s (you cant read them but hell they took the time to draw them), infirmary/dormitory areas with the metallic walls look imposing giving you a true sense of being confined and trapped (even though you can see quite clearly in the screenshot above there is plenty of room to move around to avoid the Facehuggers, just wait until you are trapped in a narrow passage getting swarmed by them and people around you at home or on the bus are wondering why you have the mouth of a sailor), the nesting areas is the stand out winner of all the locations showcasing an accurate depiction of how vile the Xenomorph infestation truly is.
The main character model is a little questionable unfortunately, all the humans in this game look exactly the same baring Ripley’s unique appearance, where the character models shine is the detail in the mini cut-scenes and the Xenos themselves.
This weapon animation for a baton is a little suggestive.
When it comes to the sound aspects of this game it does fall a little flat, the background song is on a constant loop so all hope of some variety is pretty quickly crushed. There is however some small saving grace, the weapon sounds are great although you wont hear that trademark M41A pulse rifle sound but the effect used does however get the job done. The most memorable sound effect comes from the facehuggers as they screech when they launch at your face, trying to make babies with your mouth parts.
At first the game-play can come across as quite clunky, the weapons consistently missing the enemy but with enough practice pretty soon you are able to shoot things dead in their stupid faces(I’m looking at you facehuggers). There is a lot of exploring to be had; prepare yourself for pressing the select button a majority of the time as it is your only means of searching for things on the floor across the prison. The combat at times can become quite hectic, you will die and die and die and die time and time again, touching a lot of things in this game is going to kill incredibly quickly most of the time you are dead before you get the chance to react. Use your ammo and health packs wisely because you will be overrun numerous times as the spawning of enemies can be very punishing.
You are going to see this screen a lot.
This game was quite a surprise especially considering it’s a “licensed game”. With that said, it is not without a number of rough patches, but ultimately it’s worth the ride. The level of fear this game can manage to instil is a welcomed experience, becoming quite terrified of exploring new and old locations because of every damn time more soldier Xenos or quick little facehuggers are just waiting to digest what little life you have left.
It’s highly advised that you dodge this stuff due to the sheer amount of ouchies it will cause.
*The views and opinions expressed in this review are those solely of the reviewer and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of those at Retrospekt even though the film in question did suck a lot of butts.