AGH Atari 2600 Review:

by Fox Video Games

Alien is based on the classic thriller film of the same name, although you'd be hard pressed to recognize it if not for the cart label with its artwork depicting the movie. Fox Video Games basically took the movie and translated it into game action through a maze format that's very reminiscent of Pac-Man. The maze is supposed to represent the inside of a spaceship that has been infested with alien beings. Adult aliens are loose in the ship, laying eggs in all the hallways and chsing the human crew. It is the task of the player to rid the ship of the eggs by running over them and to destroy the adult aliens whenever possible. In addition, there are special prizes that appear from time to time, and picking these up will increase your score significantly.

The character you control, a tiny blue figure, emerges from a space in the middle of the maze and begins to move around the paths. As quickly as the figure moves over the dots - or eggs - they disappear and running speed is increased through cleared passageways. If the Human falls to the aliens, another Human appears in the center chamber and prepares to take up where the last one left off. Side exits to the maze in this game are referred to as hyperwarp passages, but the effect is the same as in move any game of similar format. The Human is also given access to a Flame Thrower that can eliminate the adult aliens. This device is activated by pressing the red fire button on the joystick, and succeeds in immobilizing an alien for a short period of time. The power of the Flame Thrower is limited, however. Additionally, three Pulsars appear in each maze. You wouldn't know what they are just by looking, but take my word for it. These pulsars cause the aliens to turn blue and become vulnerable to counterattack from the Human.

The only unique feature of Aliens is the inclusion of a Bonus Round. When the screen has been cleared of aliens and eggs, the screen changes to a picture of rows of adult aliens in random order, moving quickly across the screen. The Human is at the bottom, the special prize is at the top. Between the two are five rows of aliens. You have to guide the Human to the prize without being touched by an alien beig or you won't get the bonus points.

The only other distinguishing feature is that it isn't as cute as most other games of the same genre (of course, it's not supposed to be.) Other than that, it's a type of game you've probably seen and played a billion times before.

Title Alien
Publisher Fox Video Games
System Atari 2600 (VCS)
Graphics 4
Sound 5
Gameplay 5
Overall 5
Reviewer Keita Iida

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