Thursday, 12 February 2015

Alien 3: The Gun - Arcade


Thankfully, more monsters than in the film.


It's an odd circumstance when you take a film that doesn't have much in the way of action and try to fit it into the sphere of gaming that is an arcade game. Players are not likely to pump money into what is basically "Space Monster BOO!" and you can expect even less for them to be entertained by it. It needs a challenge, it needs action and it needs to be unfair enough to force people to keep playing but not too unfair that people give up on the grounds that it's just a sink for credits and cash.

If you can't work this out, you're going to lose, fast.

Alien 3, as a film and basis of this game, does not provide the suitable backdrop for the arcade game. So a little (read: LOTS) of artistic license has been used to work this game. For a start, there's more than one alien (hooray!), there's multiple types of aliens and enemies such as robots, tanks, droids, cyborgs and most of this was never in the original film.

There's quite the myriad of monsters, body parts and action here.

Plot wise, you do follow SOME of it. You're two surviving marines from the 2nd film that have remained on the original ship, except it's been overrun and infested with Xenomorphs. Grab gun, infinite basic ammo and some "kill all" grenades and let the acid-blood-bath begin! Or we would if the game was that fun to play. While battling aliens and other enemies, you get to see set pieces from the film, run across the surface of the planet, see the factory installation of Fury 161, run the gauntlet with the other prisoners and then finally battle the "Plot" Alien boss and dunk it in liquid metal before a showdown with the Bishop Android/Man.

"We'll help!" By which they mean 'Get in the way ALL the time'

Your bosses and enemies are Aliens based, apart from the robot ones which seem to be thrown in there at the last minute and take their cues from Revolution X for annoying boss tactics. Including "Not being hurt when the game wants you hurt instead" and the more annoying "Only one part of my body is vulnerable and you're NOT seeing it any time soon" types that can't help but give you a beating before teasing you briefly like a cheap stripper in a backwards club.

Anyone remember this in the film?

The music cannot really be commented upon, as it is barely heard during multiple playthroughs, the balance seems very one-sided towards the sound effects which come through rather 'tinny' and the odd speech sample makes it sound like ALL the voices were done by one person irrespective of whomever is talking, be it player characters or NPCs. Bullets sound far too metallic and aliens have that odd rasping noise synonymous with plenty of other monster games as if it's been taken from "Bad Sound Effects volume 82 - monster edition"

Or that part where the robots ran around shooting people? That in the film either?

But what of the gun? It's a bulky lump but does feel almost like you're holding something worthy of blasting aliens, but doesn't seem to match the damage inflicted upon the monsters within the game. Mainly because each time you down them, there's a chance they get back up but damaged and attack in a different way, then they could be shot AGAIN and wait a little longer in writhing agony but if you get too close (because you're in an on-rails shooter no less) they might lunge yet again. You have to keep hitting them until they're dead. By dead, we mean they've changed colour and stop physically moving. However the gun is large, meaty looking and has two key functions; the trigger for shooting and a button for hurling out instant-death to most enemies and significant damage to bosses.

Grenades and flamethrowers add to your weaponry, sadly not too often enough.

Items and power ups are far and few between. You might be able to find some health, perhaps a few extra grenades and very occasionally a flame thrower that instantly kills whatever it hits, but will never last long enough for you to make significant progress and the delay between trigger pulling and impact is longer than the bullets so you're likely to be slapped about by the aliens anyway for a while you adjust to the delay.

Red vision, or how to make the game harder by doing very little.

That said, there is some replay value in the game, in that there's multiple routes one can take through a few of the levels and trying to get better and better scores is always available for the competitive streak in some people, but the annoyance and unfairness of the aliens and some of the attacks hitting while ignoring the damage you're dealing, will turn many people away from this game.