Alien Games at Their Best and Worst

Alien Games at Their Best and Worst

Can't wait until Alien: Isolation arrives? Here are some classic Alien games you should play, as well as a few you should avoid.

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I remember playing 'Alien Trilogy' as a kid and it scary the hell out of me, great game. The fact that I agree with your placement of the two most recent games in the 'bad' list just reminds me how inadequately this franchise has been used as of late. Here's hoping Isolation breaks that trend.

...That said, I remember enjoying the hell out of Alien: Resurrection. That said, I enjoyed a lot of awful ass games at that age.

I think somebody never played Alien Resurrection, it was one of (if not the) first to use dual stick controls and also had kb/m support (on the PS1!). Reviewers slated the controls because there was no auto aim and they'd gotten too used to Medal of Honor/Goldeneye aiming on their behalf, but in fact the controls are excellent, they'll be instantly familiar to anyone who's played a console FPS in the last decade.

Aside from the very last level (hello Mr Newborn) the whole game is pretty excellent, so much so that Edge ran a feature about all the things it got right not so long ago. The water levels and the Auto-doc meta game revolving around Face Huggers were especially tense and frantic.

I rather enjoyed the 2010 AVP game. It was far from perfect (my biggest gripe was how jarring and flow-breaking the prerendered execution moves were), but the core gameplay was pure AVP. It didn't innovate much from the '99 version, but the '99 version was damn near perfect, so I'm not sure that's a bad thing.

The original ZX Spectrum Alien game was one of the creepiest things I've ever played. And I was kinda fond of the Aliens run-and-gun thing in the arcades, too.

Alien 3 wasn't the worst SNES game I've ever played.

Why isn't Monolith's AvP2 number 1 good, let alone in the good list at all!?

AvP2 is IMO, to this day one of the best games ever. It was a perfect shooter in almost every way, from the balance, the maps, the "classes" the game types, stability, features, mechanics and gameplay. For its day I would also add gfx/sound to that list.

It was great in single player but in multi-player it was sublime. Remaking it again as was in a new engine for modern PCs (f**k consoles, seriously, GTFO, hands off this one, go play Colonial Marines) it would still hold up as a great game, both SP and MP. I was a master Predalien and AvP2 genuinely provided more pleasure and enjoyment than all other games in the franchise, combined.

I'm gonna second what KingsGambit said. How the hell did AvP2 not make it into this? I would have easily put AvP2 on the good side over Alien Trilogy or Aliens vs. Predator (1994).

AvP 1999 and AvP 2004 still hold up as pretty good games, even today, and I recommend checking them out. I think the former is on GreenManGaming, though I haven't been about to find the latter online.

Also, I've played AvP: Extinction. Wasn't that bad, but it never did anything noteworthy, except for that when playing the Xenomorphs, you had to find enemy troops with facehuggers to create new units, which is actually a really unique idea for an RTS. Again though, while not necessarily bad, it didn't really do anything noteworthy.

Alien Resurrection wasn't that bad... well, yes, it had horrible controls in an era when first person shooters didn't have the "twin sticks & triggers" standard, but it had some pretty cool concepts, like actually having to remove the alien embryo when a facehugger latches on your face, I also agree it had some pretty good scares, it just oozed with atmosphere, but... I have to admit the game was slooooow and the framerate drops were pretty bad, to say the least, also I hated that the save stations were pretty few and far in between.

Even by that era's standards, it was pretty average at best, and I definitely wouldn't recommend it to anyone, but I insist that it had some pretty cool concepts and great atmosphere.

EDIT: Before anyone quotes me, yes, the game DID have a twin stick configuration and even mouse support (!), but it was still a hassle to play.

AvP coin-op was awesome, I remember playing that game until the arcade closed, they had the gate half down so nobody else would come in as we finished up our quarters. I got 1999 off steam and have really been digging it, despite it so openly showing its age.

MarsAtlas:

Also, I've played AvP: Extinction. Wasn't that bad, but it never did anything noteworthy, except for that when playing the Xenomorphs, you had to find enemy troops with facehuggers to create new units, which is actually a really unique idea for an RTS. Again though, while not necessarily bad, it didn't really do anything noteworthy.

I had a good bit of mindless fun with that game when I was younger, I'd kinda like to see them do it right but I suppose Star Craft is nearly the exact same thing anyway.

AvP2 (pre the v1.6 patch) was an amazing game and by far the best alien game made. The multiplayer was awesome fun. It did aliens right.

I'm gonna have to join the "Where's AvP2?" crowd here. That game took what was great in the first one and improved on it, especially the story.

That said, the Primal Hunt just got so much wrong it actually detracted from the experience. For example, you finally get to play as the predalien but instead of feeling like a total badass you just feel weak and outgunned the entire time because most of the enemies are heavy-weapon synths, who one-shot you and don't give you any health when you headbite.

I am disappoint.

That aside tho, AvP 2 was definitely the best put-together of the bunch, complete with overlapping story arcs between the three playable characters (anyone else remember the predator taking out the dropship?) and actions that had consequences for each one (alien takes out the power => marine is stuck in the dark; marine brings power back up => the others have to deal with turrets etc).

All that said, there was a nice feel to AvP 99's detached and unforgiving levels, plus the tension was that much more palpable without save points or regenerating energy (tho both of those elements were patched out, I believe).

Special shout out for the '94 arcade game tho, that brought a dash of pure unadulterated epicness to my childhood.

Yeah was pretty shocked to see AVP2 not on the list 1 was good but 2 was dam near perfect, Multiplayer was years of fun still have a copy installed for unplanned LANs

What about the Aliens game on the C64, that was fun though completely confusing maze of samey looking backgrounds with only the wall colour giving you the hint that your in a new area. lol. Though it did have a better boss fight with the queen than colonial marines. http://youtu.be/efolLO2zcpc

As for the new game, Isolation could be good, but if you only have one alien, then the rest of the game better be fun and keep you occupied. Would be disappointing if its just lots of moving shadows and noises for most of the game. Thing is though im trying so hard not to get excited about this game. Think it would be good to stay cynical and not get my hopes up. :-)

You missed Alien Vs Predator for the Jaguar circa 1995. The controls were horrible, the graphics were pedestrian and the fact that it was on the Jaguar and cost over $100 at the time was ridiculous. Some would say it was a good/great game but I owned it and it was bad...just bad.

Funny, how I enjoyed the "two worst" more than any of the best ones... (Granted, I played the PC Version of Colonial Marines, which got patched to hell and back and is now way better, including WAY harder and smarter AI, better lighting and - with the Singleplayer DLC - way less plotholes.)

KingsGambit:
Why isn't Monolith's AvP2 number 1 good, let alone in the good list at all!?

AvP2 is IMO, to this day one of the best games ever. It was a perfect shooter in almost every way, from the balance, the maps, the "classes" the game types, stability, features, mechanics and gameplay. For its day I would also add gfx/sound to that list.

It was great in single player but in multi-player it was sublime. Remaking it again as was in a new engine for modern PCs (f**k consoles, seriously, GTFO, hands off this one, go play Colonial Marines) it would still hold up as a great game, both SP and MP. I was a master Predalien and AvP2 genuinely provided more pleasure and enjoyment than all other games in the franchise, combined.

I was hoping I wouldn't be the one to point out that, since we're counting AvP titles for this topic, AvP2 is clearly the pinnacle of any game relating to aliens. Period. For starters it has not one, but three stories that can not only be followed but actually intertwine upon one another. And what's more, the story was actually good! Hell, the year it came out, the Marine campaign was voted Scariest Single Player Campaign of the Year (by IGN, I believe).

Each race was badass in it's own way but still had it's shortcomings as well. Marines and Corps had devastating firepower - actually outgunning the Preds in most cases - but it was really hard to see. Preds had a very impressive arsenal along with their cloaking and vision modes, of course...however their dependence on vision modes made it tricky to fight against both aliens and humans in the same match. Aliens can see everything, are the fastest race, have a kick-ass pounce attack, but they're so fragile.

As for me, I shifted between Aliens and Preds, depending on my mode...the class depended on the map. For larger, more open-air maps (such as the two Fate maps) I'd be a Predalien because you can literally fly with it's obscene pounce, while on smaller levels I'd go with the good ol' fashioned drone. For preds I'd generally go with the Heavy Pred if I was only up against one other species and the regular Pred if I was up against both other species...specifically because there was a glitch where you could pistol-stun yourself to clear up your vision mode's "fog", making it incredibly easy to spot aliens while in human vision or humans while in alien vision. And don't start griping about using such an exploit, EVERY marine player either used the pulse rifle rapid fire glitch, the frickin' Exo suit (which alone is obscenely overpower), or the sniper rifle rapid-shot glitch. Clearing up my vision modes as a pred hardly compares to any of those.

ExileNZ:
That said, the Primal Hunt just got so much wrong it actually detracted from the experience. For example, you finally get to play as the predalien but instead of feeling like a total badass you just feel weak and outgunned the entire time because most of the enemies are heavy-weapon synths, who one-shot you and don't give you any health when you headbite.

What I found the most disappointing about Primal Hunt was the fact that 1: it turned the Predator's cloak into a frickin' glowing rainbow haze that was incredibly easy to spot, and 2: the Self Destruct attack it gave the predators was absolutely worthless. It was literally no more powerful than a Marine's frickin' pulse rifle grenade. I'm not asking for a thermal nuclear explosion that wipes out everything on the map...but come on, at least kill everything in the same room as you. But no, you've gotta be humping their leg right when you explode, and chances are if they're at full health and armor you're still not going to be killing them.

All that said, there was a nice feel to AvP 99's detached and unforgiving levels,

Unforgiving levels indeed. The 2nd to last level as a marine - the one where you're running through an infested space ship, right before the last level where you fight the Queen in the hanger - was horrifically unforgiving. I don't know if it was just the copy that we had, but my older brother and I actually noticed something kind of strange. If we failed to beat the level on our first try after loading up the game, it became nearly impossible because on all subsequent attempts the aliens kept infinitely spawning and rushing in groups of 3 or 4. Literally as soon as you killed one group, here comes the next one. It was damn near impossible to progress. One the first try after loading up the game, though, that wasn't the case. You could actually take out the group that rushes you at the beginning, make some progress through the level before the next group comes, and so on. But for whatever reason every attempt after that you'd fight the Infinite Swarm. So if we failed on our first attempt, we'd have to back out of the game and reload it to try it again. :P

Hmmm.....I still have the original AvP game for the Atari Jaguar. Probably covered in dust or hidden away in some box deep in my closet. I loved it but it was hard. Controllers back then were even worse for FPS games than they are now. I also remember loving Alien3 for both the SNES and the Genesis. Here's hoping Isolation is good. A:CM was pretty disappointing. Everything I think of A:CM I tend to remember the glimpses of greatness that are there only to be buried in an avalanche of 'bleh' and bugs. Sigh....oh well. I only paid $5 for it.

SoulChaserJ:
You missed Alien Vs Predator for the Jaguar circa 1995. The controls were horrible, the graphics were pedestrian and the fact that it was on the Jaguar and cost over $100 at the time was ridiculous. Some would say it was a good/great game but I owned it and it was bad...just bad.

Funny that you would say that. I have very fond memories of AvP for Jaguar and would definitely put it in the "good" category. For the time, it was atmospheric, challenging but not impossible, and occasionally scary as heck.

And it seems I'm not alone.

Mortuorum:

SoulChaserJ:
You missed Alien Vs Predator for the Jaguar circa 1995. The controls were horrible, the graphics were pedestrian and the fact that it was on the Jaguar and cost over $100 at the time was ridiculous. Some would say it was a good/great game but I owned it and it was bad...just bad.

Funny that you would say that. I have very fond memories of AvP for Jaguar and would definitely put it in the "good" category. For the time, it was atmospheric, challenging but not impossible, and occasionally scary as heck.

And it seems I'm not alone.

Maybe I'm the dissenting opinion among the 5 or 6 of us that actually owned a Jaguar and the game. To me anyone that would give a Jaguar game a "great control" or anything similar has rocks for brains. To me, a dial pad with a piece of paper over it is far from intuitive and far from "great". Again, all my personal opinion.

 

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