Alien3 – My Personal Dark Souls (of the 16 bit era)
- 6 minute read - 1181 words
Not the hardest game on the Megadrive but, in my opinion one of the small few that’s annoyingly fun and keeps me returning for more Pulse Rifle carnage.
Alien3 was a Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, Master System, Game Gear, Amiga and Commodore game developed by Probe Software and published by Arena Entertainment in 1992.
Is The Story The Same As The Movie?
It’s got Rilpey, trapped prisoners and Xenomorphs; that as similar as it gets. Considering the limitations for the hardware of the time, something as complicated as a “stalker and prey” game mechanic like Alien Isolation wasn’t possible.
Even if it was, Alien3 is an action packed game, sneaking and running away from one enemy wouldn’t be much fun I don’t think.
and it wouldn’t get you very far in the game, either
There Coming Out Of The Walls?!
You’re on the planet of Fury 161, in a mining complex with prisoners. Areas and stages span from the living quarters, to the abattoir, to the lead works. After that the differences start to show: the forth stages seems to be set in an alien ship, for instance.
Fans of the film will instantly see differences between game and source material.
Rescuing Prisoners and Surviving
piece of cake right?
Oh no. You have a very strict time limit. So the whole being a savoir for the prisoners thing is made more effort consuming by adding a time limit.
May as well be tap dancing on a pin head as well.
Time limit? Is Finishing The Game At All Possible?
Short answer is yes.
talk about a short answer
Longer answer: repetition, a bit of luck and a lot of ammo. Completion of this game is possible if you’re willing to put all the effort in.
To help you in this mammoth task Ripley is, from the start, armed with a selection of 4 different weapons:
And throw-able grenades
Being armed to the teeth from the start may seem like a bonus but isn’t such a good thing in the long run; ammo runs out fast so finding more while on your rescue mission is a must.
Jay: the weapons selection seems like it’s lifted straight out of Aliens, too
You Can Never Have Too Much Ammunition!
At the beginning of each stage or whenever you lose a life,
which will happen to you; like, a lot
the first thing you see is a Xenomorph staring at you before you start. Drooling and showing sharp teeth, mocking you. Almost daring you to partake in the tall order of the next stage.
The walls, THE WALLS, THERE EVERYWERE!!
For me playing this when I was a nipper, I found these screens intimidating and frustrating.
depending on the current luck of the run
Alien3 on the Mega Drive was the first (of many) games that had me swearing at the screen. I must have been 7, maybe 8, years old. Oh the shame of it!
Swearing wasn’t allowed when I was that young, but it felt good to scream at the TV
Did You Just Keep Trying Or Did You Have A Game Plan?
if you’ll pardon the pun
Well, exploration is the main aim for stage progression. However I wasn’t disheartened as a nipper when I ran out of time or lost all of my health, because the game actually mocks you by showing you the prisoners locations and them kills them via chest bursters.
Mocking me will lead to your downfall, foolish game!
Maybe not a complete downfall, every few stages there is a boss round. Pure survival against a Xenomorph on steroids!
Back! Get back, you acid filled muscle with teeth!
So is that it? Same formula but different locations?
Essentially, yes. Remember this is a Mega Drive game, no massive updates to fix bugs and no gigabytes of installs to get the game going; just insert cartridge and start blasting.
With each stage completed comes bigger environments, more enemies and an all round quite steep difficulty curve. Especially for a Mega Drive game.
The Music. Oh Sweet Baby Kangaroo, The Music!
One thing you should know about me is that I dig Mega Drive music, I really dig it. Alien3 is no exception.
Seriously, I listen to this sound track to get myself pumped up for the gym and when I go out running.
come to think of it, hearing the sound of a a Xenomorph in my ears… explains why I run like hell as often as I do
Exit? WERE THE HELL IS THE EXIT!?
I have a bit of an addiction to this soundtrack, it sounds like something Claptrap from Borderlands would mumble and sing to himself a lot.
It has his quirkiness written all over it, with a slight dub-step vibe to it.
well the first stage does, in my opinion anyway
If I were to pinpoint my favourite track, I would say the abattoir level, starts of slow and slightly atmospheric then gets metal and f*#k and fast as hell. Getting you pumped and on edge all at the same time, helping you get and stay in the zone.
Are There Any Secret Levels? Any Secret Unlocks Perhaps?
I, despite my best efforts, never managed to finish this title myself.
However I do know that there is at least one bonus stage somewhere in the abattoir stage. Your mission is to get from start to finish
no need to rescue anyone in this case
in one piece, rewarding you with supplies upon completion. Going from memory here, I think this level is given to you as part of game progression.
Jay: here is a video of YouTuber LordOfUltima finishing the mayhem stage in just over a minute
There are no major secrets in the game apart from maybe a sneaky item compartment through a hollow wall, which isn’t easy to spot.
After a little bit of research
on account of me not finishing the game
I found out that the last boss stage has 2 bosses that need to be fought simultaneously.
If anything, this fact alone spurs me on to finish the game to meet this particular challenge: two acid spitting, high jumping, razor sharp claw swinging, muscle bound perpetrators of swift death to fight?
I’m game if you are. But much, just like Dark Souls, I shall have to “get gud”
If I manage this feat by the time I finish the next post in this mini series (the next one being about the SNES version of Alien3),
oh heck yes, this is a two-parter
I’ll pop up a snapshot of either the ending screen or Ellen Ripley standing victorious over the two juggernauts of screaming extraterrestrial death.
So as always thank you for reading this post.
Did you ever complete this fun yet frustrating title? What was your favourite weapon? Was it the Pulse Rifle, like me? Did you ever get stuck on a particular level? And how did you fare against the bosses?