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Mind Games
1984
Tactical Combat
£8.99
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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50,51
Jim Douglas
Chris Bourne

Alien is in no way to be confused with Aliens, the new game from Electric Dreams. Alien first emerged from the depths of Argus Press way back in 1984. Based on the exploits of the crew of the ill-fated Nostromo spacecraft, the game, though was panned by some reviewers was generally quite well-liked.

It's now been re-released as a budget game. Obviously, Argus (pretending to be Bug-Byte) has in no way engineered the release date to coincide with movie/game promotions of Aliens, but I dare say it's possible to conceive the odd sale being picked up this way.

The game is much happier as a budget title. At full price, the product promised too much. No matter how hard you try, it's very, very difficult to promote a computer game as being genuinely scary. The harder Argus tried, the more ridiculous things got: "Warning: Do not play this in the dark."

In fact, despite some ropey abbreviations allowing words to fit on the screen (Incineratr) and some iffy graphics, it isn't too bad. You take the role of a member of the crew, Lambert, Kane, Ash, Dallas, Parker, Ripley or Brett, in a desperate bid to rescue your spaceship from the altogether beastly alien.

As the game goes on, messages will pop up on the screen, telling you that something exciting has just happened elsewhere (Ripley sees Jones the cat).

The basic idea is to track the alien through the ducts, and blow it away by whatever means are most efficient. Blowing up the ship is quite a safe bet, but everyone gets killed, and since you die you lose a few points on the competence rating.

Alien is claimed to feature a unique personality control system. What this means is, in fact, that other characters will get a bit stroppy if you leave them to defend themselves. The more upset they get, the less likely they are to agree to one of your more lame-brained ideas.

Label: Bug-Byte
Author: Paul Clansey
Price: £2.99
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Jim Douglas

***

Alien is a reasonable same, a good budget bet, and is more suspense-orientated - like the first film.

3/5