Alien Trilogy

Developer: Probe Entertainment
Publisher: Acclaim

Launched early in the Playstation's life cycle , most would probably dismiss Alien Trilogy as an attempt to cash in on both Doom's and Alien's popularity. Luckily none of that prevents it from being a damn fun game!

Don't let its name fool you though, despite having the moniker  'Trilogy' it does not attempt to follow either story or events in any of the three movies. You still play Ellen Ripley, a Lieutenant in the marines sent to planet LV426 to clear a colony that's been decimated by xenomorphs.

While parallels to the second movie can certainly be drawn, Alien Trilogy is its own story which involves clearing a prison similar to the third movie and an alien spacecraft similar to the one found in the original Alien

It's pretty clear this aims to appeal to fans of 'Aliens' first and foremost, between that and the critical acclaim Alien Vs. Predator received just two years earlier on the Atari Jaguar it's easy to imagine the thought process behind this game.

Upon starting the game, you're prompted to a short CGI video detailing what little story there is before being thrown right into the action. As with any Doom clone you have to navigate maze-like levels while gunning down hordes of enemies. The atmosphere is dark and moody, fitting the alien franchise like a glove. Xenomorphs and face huggers litter every level and will easily swarm you if not kept in check. This is made especially worse by the extremely stiff controls and the lack of Dual Analog compatibility.

The developers went out of their way to create as much enemy variety as they could within the established canon, going as far as to even include the dog-like xenomorphs from the third movie.  They all look menacing and terrifying given the hardware limitations, I especially like the facehuggers who can surprise you by jumping onto the screen, covering it almost completely. The effect looks pretty pixelated but I'd be lying if I said I didn't jump out of my seat when it happened.

Unfortunately there are only so many variations one can draw from the source material, as a result several human enemies have also been added. These are not nearly as interesting or menacing as the xenomorphs and only serve to cheapen the game, making it look more like a generic Doom clone rather than the original title it aims to be.

Your weapon variety is also not as great as it could've been, handing you a mere handful to choose from. I honestly found there was little difference between them, save for damage output, and by the end of the game I barely ever used the pistol or shotgun as they simply required too many shots to dispose of a single foe. It also doesn't help that health and ammo is pretty scarce, so you'll have to keep an eye out for secret stockpiles. Thankfully, the gunplay never gets old, shooting your first xenomorph is as rewarding as your last kill. They even leave a pool of acid in their wake which should be avoided.

Graphically the game looks amazing for a Doom clone. While the levels are somewhat claustrophobic due to all the corridor mazes, they all look as they did in the movies. I especially loved the space ship which featured plenty of H.R. Giger inspired visuals. The music ranges from atmospheric to techno and it fitted the scenery really nicely with the dark brooding corridors adding to the tension and feeling of hopelessness.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised by Alien Trilogy. I expected it to be a run-of-the-mill Doom clone. Instead I found a love letter to the franchise's second movie. The stiff controls and human enemies may be a turn off for some, but if you love 'Aliens' and old school first-person shooters then this is the game for you!

Pros:
- Faithful to 'Aliens' gameplaywise
- Dark and moody atmosphere add to the tension
- Fun gunplay, killing xenomorphs never gets old

Cons:
- Human enemies cheapen the whole experience
- Limited weapon selection
- Stiff controls

Final Grade: B

That is one sexy cover! It lets you know it's an alien game and that it won't pull any punches. Unfortunately, both the title and tagline make it a bit misleading by promising the "complete alien trilogy". Yeah sure, the game itself is complete, but it's really got nothing to do with the movies.

Inside you'll find a below-average manual and an Acclaim catalog.
The manual provides no background information plot-wise, at least it goes fairly deep on how to play the game, complementing the information with screenshots. It's just a shame the screens are so dark and blurry you'll be hard-pressed to make out anything in them.

Finally there's the catalog which is somewhat hit-or-miss. Half of its titles are sports or wrestling games which didn't make for interesting reading material. Oddly enough, the WWF Wrestlemania page features a promotional picture of three of the wrestlers that is way too stretched out. I'll admit I don't know what kind of image editing programs were used back then, but that does not look at all. Other games in the catalog include Alien Trilogy, D, X-Men Children of the Atom, Rise of the Robots 2(ergh) and Bad Mojo.

Overall the packaging isn't bad but it could have been so much more. At least the catalog is worth a browse or two.

Packaging Grade: C+

1 comment:

  1. I actually had this one for the Saturn and spent quite a while playing it. Can't remember how far I got now but it was pretty good for the most part as I recall :)

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