Wednesday, September 11, 2013

VGR Alien Trilogy

In space, no one can you play!

VGR: Alien Trilogy
From Probe Entertainment/Acclaim Entertainment/Fox Interactive
Played on Sega Saturn
Also available on PSX & PC

Type FPS
Year 1996

Here's another movie adaption from Probe, the same crew behind Die Hard Trilogy. And from the looks of the title it seems at least Fox Interactive expected the same kind of treatment/success.

But don't let the title fool you, this has so very little to do with either Die Hard Trilogy or the Alien film trilogy.

Like DHT, the also came out in 1996, it's another 20th Century Fox license but this one was bound by any current film, no new Alien film was planned at the time.

So why didn't they take their time on this one and release it separately from Die Hard? I really think some extra-time would have given the game the much needed polish it needed to make it even more memorable.

But I'm getting ahead of myself here.

This one offers a single campaign and is a First Person Shooter from beginning to end.

Alien Trilogy can either be taken as an alternate story or simply consider the main character of this game - Lieutenant Ellen Ripley - a completely separated character.

The story is told via CGi cutscenes here and there and text screens in-between missions, but even so it's a game more focused on the action than a concrete plot anyways.

The game starts like a retelling of the second film more or less. The colony established on LV-426 has lost contact with the outside world.

A squad of Colonial Marines are sent there to investigate, including YOU. That is, Lt. Ripley.

As this "Lit. Ripley" you will have to explore three chapters, of about 10 missions each. From a colony to a prison facility, a crashed alien spaceship, into the hive itself and finally proceed to escape from there.

Structurally the colony chapter is based on Aliens, the prison on Alien³ and finally the derelict on the original Alien.

The game is a sort of Doom/Duke Nukem clone clone in the big lines.

Only, on each level you are given very specific objectives you need to take care of before reaching the goal.

It's a classic early 90s FPS, huge, open and labyrinthic. Each level has several enemies waiting for you and you find some secrets behind walls. Just throw grenades at any suspicious or different wall you'll encounter (and if that doesn't work, try shooting at it just in case).

The mission objectives can be a bit confusing sometimes. They might range from killing certain precise enemies to finding a specific item or activating switches.

There's a margin of error, once you reach the exit the game will give you a percentage and you need to keep it over 50%, 80% at least to be able to pass on to the next stage.

The weapons are you standard shooter guns, only inspired by the films. They range from the standard pistol to the shotgun, the famous pulse rifle, the flame thrower to the Colonial Marines' classic smart gun!

Your foes are mostly taken directly from the film, such as the facehuggers, chestbursters, warrior and drone xenomorphs, dog aliens and finally the alien queen. The queen is used as the end boss on all three chapters though. I kinda wish they'd try different confrontations...

Oh, and there's also the employees of "the Company" which in context means androids from Weyland-Yutani.

The problem is that the game's way too dark at times (I advice setting your screen brighter just in case) and the level design's a bit confusing and repetitive. Sometimes it's hard to make head of your situation since the textures and architecture repeat a lot.

Thankfully you have access to a shoulder lamp that runs on your armor's battery power. It's a great help to see in the darkness at times.

Alien Trilogy does a great job at recapturing the authentic tone from the films, that is if you willing to ignore the story. 

Even the Space Jockey makes an appearance, and a lot more faithful than the one from the later more graphically advanced Aliens Vs Predator game.

Let's also not forget the motion tracker which isn't super helpful in this game at times, since the creatures moves way too fast for it, but it does a great job at making you feel like a Colonial Marine.

The game has a great atmosphere and music, thanks to composed Stephen Root. It feels almost creepy at times

Overall, it's not a great game per say but it manage to do just well as an interactive Alien experience.

It's sort of like replaying the settings of all three first Alien films - minus the story. 

The game seem to go for way too long (30+ stages), maybe there's one level too many.

While both the Playstation and Sega Saturn version seem pretty similar at first glance, there's some missing sounds and the controls are a bit less precise on the Saturn. But all in all, they did an impressive job on both console versions which are pretty similar in the end (the enemies on the Saturn move a bit slower too, however it ends up helping the player in the later parts actually).

Finally you would expect the PC version to ahead on a simultaneous mutli-console release and be the better one, but that's not the case here with Alien Trilogy. It was clearly made for consoles so the PC port looks really bad. The only good point is the mouse/keyboard controls, but if you have access to a Saturn or PSX go for those instead.
I give it:
2 / 3 Quacks!

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