Fifty years ago, flight officer Ripley narrowly escaped death at the hands of an alien, a ruthless and biologically perfect killer. Her small ship drifted for those fifty years until, by chance, it was discovered by a deep space probe, and returned Now Ripley is being taken back to the plant LV-426, where she first encountered the creature...
I must say, it's good job I was wearing the old brown cord trousers when I went to see Aliens the movie. Worra tense film! And then there was the first Electric Dreams game which was another tense little drama, covering the run from the atmosphere processor to the landing pad. Now we have the US version of the game, originally designed by Activision (US) for the C64, and converted to the Spectrum by Mr Micro (Who he? Ed). The game is a compendium, which although it doesn't mean you get Snakes and Ladders, Tiddley Winks and Snap, it does mean that you get 6 tightly crafted and well hard games to play. The atmosphere of the film is so accurately captured at times I had to hide behind the sofa to play it.
You begin the game steering the Dropship down through the atmosphere of LV-426, through a series of guidance circles on your heads-up display. This section of the game is quite hard, and it's probably for this reason that Electric Dreams has incorporated a 'skip' feature, whereby you can push SYMB SHIFT/7 to jump onto the next level. In this case the next level is the APC Rescue Attempt, where you have to guide the marines back from the catwaks under the atmosphere processors to the APC, te armoured command car. This again is quite hard, 'cos you have to get away from the swarms of aliens and control four marines at once. Then it's on to the Operations Room Rampage, where you are left on your own to fend off a barrage of aliens while your team cut through the door at the end of the corridor. After that, you are running through the maze of air ducts looking for the exit that takes you to the Dropship, whilst avoiding the crawling aliens. Phew!
But as you know, when you get back to the ship, you go back to find Newt on the catwalks. You follow her signal on the locator, and shoot at the aliens as they leap out at you And finally having escaped (so you thought), you are faced with the Alien Queen, and have to beat her up with the loader arms before flinging her down the hatch.
Aliens features a nice variety of game types, with left/right scrolling, plan view and point-ofview styles being used to gasping good effect. Splattering good fun.
A brilliantly executed computer movie, where you play the leading role to terrifying effect. First class.
As you steer down to the planet's surface, you are guided by the heads-up display, computer generated circles projected onto the windshield. You must keep the ship in this pipe, or the excess hull ionisation will cause the drop to abort.
The game is linked throughout with lots of nice graphics like this one, telling some of the story of the film, and setting the scene for those people who didn't see it in the first place. The real strength of this game is that it really gets the atmosphere across using devices like this.