Sinclair User21st September 1987
Published in Sinclair User #69
Aliens (US Version)
If you're going to pay mucho money for a film tie-in licence, I would have thought that it would make sense to bring the game out while the film was still doing the rounds, or at least fresh in everyone's minds. Oh, and to make the game quite good as well.
A sense of doom first sets in when you realise that Aliens consists of six separate arcade games, strung together to recreate sections of the fabby film. While the Activision Aliens sensibly made a very good job of representing one section in detail, ED Aliens does a sloppy job of six wee gamettes, none of which conjure up much excitement at all.
The first boring bit is identifying the equipment used. Since most of us can tell a gun from a helmet without needing a training course, this isn't much of a challenge.
Then, after umpteen tape loads, we finally get to the first part of the game. And deary me, it's that tedious old pilot-your-spaceship-through-a-series of wobbly-concentric-circles idea, first seen in the venerable Master of the Lamps. If you can survive the excitement, you get an entry code to the next level, which again is loaded from tape.
The best part of Aliens (which unfortunately bears a good deal of resemblance to the Activision version of the game) takes place in the system of tunnels leading to the Atmospheric Processor. You have four marines to control, switching from one to another with the number keys. Each has a status display showing general health, and whether any aliens are nearby. If this turns red, indicating that the marine is in Alien hands (or claws), you must immediately guide another marine there and blast your buddy free.
The next bit is a sort of horizontal Space Invaders. Then a dismal maze-game.
Then it's back to the tunnels again, this time in a solo mission trying to find the lost Child Newt!
On the whole, a pretty badly-conceived and poorly executed effort, not a patch on the Activision Aliens. They say that there are some place in the Universe you don't go alone. There are also plenty where is just isn't worth the effort.
A "Superman" for 1987? Not a patch on the other "Aliens", this one never recaptures the excitement of the film.