Alien 3 was released for the Sega Megadrive in 1992 by Arena Entertainment and developed by Probe Software. It was a side-scrolling shoot ’em up based on the Alien 3 movie. You play as Ripley and have to save the prisoners on Fury 161 from becoming hosts for more aliens and then escape the planet.
Title: Alien 3
System: Sega Megadrive
Publisher: Arena Entertainment
Developer: Probe Software
Genre(s): Side-scrolling Shoot ’em up
The funny thing about this game is instead of just one alien in the game there are many as well as larger Guardian Aliens (that serve as boss battles) and facehuggers too. So, it’s a lot like they combined Aliens and Alien 3 together as Ripley also has a number of weapons to use too (Pulse rifle, flame thrower etc) and presumably hasn’t been impregnated by an alien herself either.
Throughout each level, there are a number of ammo and health pick-ups as you go through both quite quickly if you aren’t careful. Each level also has a timer which counts down and you have to free all the prisoners and exit the level before it runs out.
You get a few different difficulty levels (easy, normal, hard) and up to nine tires to finish the game. There is no password system so you have to finish the game in one sitting unless using an emulator to save your progress.
As soon as you start up the game it matches the Alien 3 movie tone quite well. Even if there is no elaborate intro, it replicates the feel of the movie decently. There are a few options to play with difficulty settings and the amount of continues can be set too.
The graphics are quite large and the overall tone matches the gloomy, dark themes of the film quite nicely. The Animation of the sprites is top notch! There is also a good amount of visual difference between each different level tile set and the sprites for the aliens are a particular standout for me.
All the sound effects in the game are clear and crisp. The music is quite good too, I never found it too repetitive because the levels are fairly short, but I don’t know if it successfully matches what you would expect from Alien 3, if this was an Aliens game, it would be great!
Obviously, if you are playing this game on emulator the controls are going to be a lot more responsive than using a gamepad on a Sega Megadrive. However, I still didn’t find too much of a delay, jumping was fine, moving around was fine, sometimes using a ladder, in the air ducts was a bit clunky (even on emulator). There is a small delay depending on which weapon you use, for example, the grenade launcher takes a brief moment to fire so you have to keep that in mind etc.
If you are really committed, you could finish the game in half a day, as long as you remember where each prisoner is hiding it’s pretty easily finished without too much trouble. It’s still a fun game even if it gets a bit repetitive in the middle, there are a couple of levels where you just have to reach the exit or just free the prisoners that break up the running and gunning a little bit as well. If you beat this game once, I don’t think there would be a rush to go back and do it again.
Alien 3 is a great example of a fun ‘run and gun’ title for the Sega Megadrive, it’s also a good example of how to effectively use a movie license. Even if it’s more similar to the previous movie then the one it’s meant to be based on! The game has great graphics and soundtrack plus the gameplay is enjoyable too. I feel the level design is varied enough not to get too repetitive and the different sections of each level, like air ducts to crawl through and moving platforms, help keep the gameplay fresh. The best out of the Alien 3 series of games for Sega and Nintendo and one of the more decent games based on the Alien franchise.
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