Available on: Amiga, C64, GB, GG, GEN, NES, SMS, SNES
Developer(s): Probe Entertainment, Bits Studios
Publisher(s): LJN, Acclaim Entertainment, Arena
Like the previously reviewed game, Alien 3 was a movie license based on a sequel that very few movie critics had something good to say about. Unlike in the case of the previously reviewed game, no one liked the games too much, either. Many different versions of Alien 3 were made, but they all shared the same basic idea, and most of them were developed by Probe Entertainment. My personal opinion? The first two Alien movies are without a doubt milestones in both sci-fi and horror. The third movie was kind of a dud, and so are the games based on it. But I guess they at least tried to make a good game out of the SNES version. The NES version's a game I had to try for comparison, and I'm sorry I did.
In this apartment complex, everyone can hear you scream
Lt. Ellen Ripley's escape pod crashes on Fiorina 161, and both of her human companions are killed. Rescued by the inhabitants of the prison complex, Ripley soon finds that the reason for the crash was an alien parasite that planted her with an egg before going into hiding somewhere within Fiorina. When prisoners start dying, Ripley arms herself to the teeth and decides to go one on one with the monstrous, persistent stowaway one last time before having to deal with the new one growing inside of her.
Long before I even knew who AVGN was, hell, before James Rolfe even began doing AVGN clips, I hated LJN. Their ugly rainbow logo on a cartridge was enough for me to leave even interesting movie licenses be. These interesting licenses usually turned out to be horrible games, though, not a surprise there. Even today, I can't think of one good game published by LJN, except for Maximum Carnage, that SNES game with Spider-Man and Venom. That's a quite reasonable game. Alien 3 on the NES isn't.
The game looks OK, although the tiny sprites tend to fade into the background and over the course of eight missions, it really doesn't change much. Ripley looks like a bald version of the side-scroller sprite of Solid Snake from the two Metal Gear games for the NES, nothing feminine about her. The music is boring electronic jambo. Not too Alien-ish, not even the theme song.
|Damn those banana peels!|
In this game, B is used for jumping and A for attacking, which doesn't make any sense. Hello?! This is an NES game, you think you can just suddenly bend an unwritten rule like this and get away with it? The ammo's limited, which is quite illogical since most aliens absorb tons of lead before dying. There are a few different weapons, though. Most require you to get as close to enemies as you can - the range sucks in most cases! - and some weapons just won't work, like grenades. There's this "really cool" feature which enables you drop grenades to the floor below while climbing a ladder, but guess what? It does absolutely no damage to enemies. Correct me if I'm wrong, please, I beg of you... I tried like a million times, but I just couldn't do damage to enemies with this method.
The game's difficulty level doesn't really increase as you go, but the level of boredom does, with each mission. They're all the same! Adding some "difficulty" into the game are enemies that randomly latch on you from ceilings, and the enfuriating facehuggers - there's one single method to dispose of them after they've jumped on your face, but as fast and hard as you might be able to press those buttons, it won't help you to get rid of the wretches any faster.
On to the SNES version - this really wasn't a nice experience. I guess I could give the game credit for the fact that it managed to entertain me for a total of five minutes - not many LJN games do.
Graphics : 6.5
Sound : 5.7
Playability : 4.8
Challenge : 4.5
Overall : 4.7
The SNES version was published by Acclaim Entertainment instead of LJN, and as naive as it might sound, it really does set the expectations a bit higher from the start. Both games were developed by Probe. The games are a bit different, but the basic idea's the same - even Wikipedia claims that the games are "completely different", which is really not the case. Alien 3 on the SNES ain't a very good game, but at least it's bearable to some extent and definitely better than the NES game.
Your main mission still is to rescue the prisoners of Fiorina 161 from being brutally murdered by a pack of aliens. This time there are different missions though, which require you to roam the complex in a Metroid style and do all kinds of shit that would potentially sabotage the aliens' chances of breeding further or being able to take control of the whole facility.
|How's it hangin'? Hardy fuckin' har.|
The weapons are the same as in the NES version, they are all good for something this time around, though. You can shoot in all different directions, you can also walk while crouching, and finally, you can use any weapon while you're on a ladder. You aren't damaged by everything in sight, and only the biggest aliens can knock you down. The control physics are pretty good. The Y, X and A buttons are all used for different weapons, which is a quite neat idea.
|Not ready to take a lava bath just yet.|
Of course the whole one-life deal, the tendency for aimless roaming brought on by the game itself and the insane amount of enemies make the game difficult, but not in the right way, I reckon. Alien 3 had the bases covered to be an OK game, but it would need a huge amount of minor and major fixes here and there to truly make an impression. Oh, well. At least it's better than the NES game.
Graphics : 8.2
Sound : 8.0
Playability : 6.3
Challenge : 6.0
Overall : 6.2
GameRankings: 44.25% (GB), 70.00% (GEN), 77.00% (SNES)