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Alien Crush

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Released: 1988

Genre: Puzzle

Format reviewed: PC Eng/Turbografx-16

Publisher: Naxat Soft

Developer: Compile

I’ve always been a little confused by developers that choose to create realistic pinball games. I get the appeal of recreating existing tables – after all, very few people have the cash or space to own Tales Of The Arabian Nights – but making original video pinball tables to the same constraints as a physical table confuses me. Developers have the freedom to go nuts, adding freely moving elements, extra sub-tables and all sorts of crazy things. Games like Alien Crush are the ones that manage to get me far more excited.

I didn’t pick up Alien Crush until almost 20 years after it had been released, due to the PC Engine’s unfortunate failure to make it to the UK market, but when I finally did it still retained the power to impress. The alien-themed table is simply fantastic to look at and the bonus games, which take place off the main table, are a good test of skill. I’m particularly keen on the aliens that spawn in the lower part of the main table and begin to move around – it’s still a neat touch that is really jarring the first time you see it. I didn’t have any other PC Engine games to begin with, so I got pretty good at it as I waited for a shipment of shoot-’em-ups from Japan. Well, at least I thought I was pretty good – as I’m writing this, I’ve just seen a video of a friend scoring twice my best. Time to dig out the console, then…

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