Format reviewed: SNES
Publisher: Probe Entertainment
Submitted by: Mark Bartholomew
Love it or loathe it, the 3rd film in the Alien saga gave us gamers some superb conversions to get to grips with via a number of platforms. The excellent Mega Drive version gave us an arcade style shooter with a wonderful synthesized soundtrack and tricky search and rescue missions and the later arcade release, Alien 3: The Gun, brought fast paced blasting action coupled with an in-your-face experience of Xenomorph destruction!
However, in terms of keeping with the film's plot and ambience, the SNES version really nailed it. Essentially a puzzle/exploration shooter, the player was dropped into Ripley's (shaven headed) guise on Fury 161 after a faithful recreation of the Sulaco's escape pod eject sequence, and given the task of mopping up the alien infestation single handed. Whilst simultaneously playing the part of handyman, pest controller and all round hero!
The game is split into 6 huge levels and the player must access computer terminals dotted about the corridors to obtain missions. These would range from simple "search and rescue the prisoners" to repairing electrical systems, wiping out egg/facehugger infestations or destroying one of the many mother aliens that were dotted about.
The film's prison planet atmosphere was recreated superbly with memorable nods to the waste area (complete with Ripley's escape pod!), medic bays, cell layout and industrial areas. Coupled with an orchestral soundtrack and excellent samples of the alien's screeches, pulse rifle fire etc, it comes as no surprise that the game still remains a favourite amongst the nostalgic.
Downsides? Well, aside from going against the movie's depiction of zero weaponry on Fury 161 (you have access to an entire Colonial Marines armoury right from the start!!), the game could get rather repetitive quickly as the mission structure seemed to be the same 6-7 layouts but split between more rooms and with more Aliens to destroy.
A little tip: the flamethrower is your best friend, and for the love of Christ, don't EVER get up from the crouch walk position unless you want to whittle away your health by shaking off facehuggers!!
But all in all, Alien 3 on SNES is a great little tactical blaster and will keep you on your toes for a good while…..at least until it's "Game Over, Man!!"