Alien 3 review - Sega Megadrive

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Try to imagine the feeling someone might experience when they are punched a few dozen times in the stomach after a few dozen milkshakes and a few dozen burgers. Not very nice! But for those who have fallen foul of Alien impregnation, feeling a bit beaten up and bloated would be a cosy alternative to the gut-bursting hell that awaits them! Such is the destiny of inmates on a futuristic run-down prison planet. This is, of course, Alien 3, with Ripley as the ever-present spanner in the works.

Megadrive owners are treated to plenty of grim blast 'em up action as the obligatory game-of-the-film comes to the Megadrive. Although the film, Alien 3, doesn't actually feature guns, 20th Century Fox have allowed Acclaim to include all of the blasters from the film's predecessor. Fully tooled up, Ripley has to make her way around plenty of Alien infested levels to search out and rescue the prisoners. Ammo, energy and time can all be picked up on the journey, but the priority is finding all of the prisoners and getting through the exit before the mission time runs out. If it does, the unfortunates who have not been rescued are going to need more than Setlers Tums to ease the pain in their stomachs!

What the Mean Machines staff thought


" Alien 3 immediately impresses with its dark, menacing graphical style, amazing parallax scrolling and excellent animation. The sound is equally superb, boasting some skill (if a tad inappropriate) music and raucous blasting effects. The gameplay is almost as impressive as the audio/visuals. The game is quite difficult (especially on the NORMAL and HARD levels), with a crushing time limit and rock 'ard Aliens constantly getting in your way. The only problem I can see with Alien 3 is that the gameplay fails to change significantly between each level. It's always a case of learning where each and every Alien and prisoner is. The game runs to a set pattern which MUST be learnt to beat the time limit. If there was more to the game, Alien 3 would definitely deserve a Megagame award. As it is, although not perfect, Alien 3 is an extremely polished, highly enjoyable blasting/exploration game. I strongly recommend you take a look at it as soon as possible. "

" The preview of this looked impressive enough, but since then the programmers have polished it up and it now looks and plays even better. The screen shots make it obvious how good the graphics are. I haven't seen the film yet, but the game captures a real sense of despair and foreboding with brilliantly detailed backdrops and sprites. The animation is a winner as well contributing, as the graphics do, to the cinematic atmosphere. The movement of Ripley's sprite is particularly realistic. It is at this stage that so many games are flawed, because more time has been spent on the way it looks than the way it plays. Fortunately the gameplay in Alien 3 lives up to the standard of the graphics. Although changing to the best weapon takes a bit of getting used to, it soon becomes second nature finding the right blaster for the right moment. The inclusion of a time limit fuels the game with the frantic excitement of the films, and neat touches, like the chance to fire in many directions, and crawling along ventilation shafts, succeed in conveying the thrills and suspense you would expect. To top it all off there are some superb aural effects, especially the sound of the guns, which are expertly reproduced. My only criticism, concerned more with a mater of taste, is that the music didn't always seem to fit the atmosphere, lacking the grimmer elements of visual spectacle. Maybe a few Cure tracks would have gone down well here! This aside, Alien 3 has captured all of the elements a game needs to make it a classic. "


Overall Score89%

Retrospective comments


Thank heavens for gaming mags and their level guides. If it weren't for those wonderfully, printed, cartographic-wonders, I'd still be trying to find my way around those air-ducts now. I played the game before typing this and got lost again except that this time I didn't have a map and couldn't find one on the net.

Alien 3 is one tough game. You need to run around to make sure you free the hostages in time, but running around means that you run 'into' the Aliens: you don't have any time to waste with being careful. Still at least you are armed with all of those lovely weapons. That Pulse-Rifle still sounds the same and has a really satisfying 'Thup-Thup-Thup' sound. The picture of the Alien at the start of each level used to scare me but I'm OK now, Mummy told me that it's all just make-believe !

Alien 3 was, and still is, a good game.

As usual, I'll suggest that you get down to your local games store, car-boot sale or log on to your favourite auction-site, and get a copy.

Two things still bother me though; Why do the Aliens explode when shot? And how do the hostages that I just freed, get out to safety before me?

Maybe I'll follow one of 'em next time!

- Martyn 'MOB' Bowell

Tris Wicks - 11 Nov 2008, 02:08 GMT

This game feels like the movie should have done. It's an intense, claustrophobic shooter where every bullet counts. Things get repetitive after a while though, but modern game designers must have been taking note. The simplest formula is often the right one. Just look at Resi.

Dan - 28 Apr 2009, 16:05 GMT

Remember the LONG falls you could have in this? They used to send a right shiver down mi spine. Good game, the formula got tiresome by the time you got to the last levels, but it was still a grand game.

It also felt waaaaaaaay more satisying wasting an Alien with a pulse rifle in this version than in the SNES version.

roger - 27 Aug 2010, 17:54 GMT

A classic fast npaced shooter.

roger - 27 Aug 2010, 17:56 GMT

A dark and tense affair which captures the paranoia of the game.

RetroCollect - 24 Dec 2010, 21:19 GMT

Alien 3 had some fantastic visuals for it's time!

Rachael - 24 May 2011, 03:14 GMT

This game used to scare me. I never got very far because I found the hostages dying too distressing!

Dylan Barry - 20 Jun 2012, 15:46 GMT

everything about this game is good, amazing music... especially the canteen section.. realy stylish graphics... really hard game ...its not so much hard, just terrifying like all good aliens games..

Staresy - 23 Dec 2012, 18:32 GMT

Even though the graphics, sounds and the bulk of the playability of this game was amazing I could never get into it fully for one simple reason....

......Ripley simply didn't respond quick enough to the controls.

The sprite would react a good half second after the button or directional pad was pressed and by that time a Xenomorph was out of the ground, had pounced and was eating you. Crouching and even turning around left you wide open to attack while the animation for each move finished.

Funny because I remember really enjoying the Amiga version which I think was just a cut down copy of this.

A real shame because I'm a big fan of just about anything Probe Software developed, but I just can't enjoy a blaster/adventure game if I'm doing the right thing but my character on screen isn't!

If it had much more responsive controls then this could have been possibly one of the best games ever made, but it just get's me frustrated too much.

Ninjah1982 - 17 Apr 2013, 15:00 GMT

The music and the sound FX alone in this game was sufficient enough to elevate the games rank to a high status in my opinion, let alone the graphics and gameplay.

Mean Machines Issue 24 - September 1992
Platform Game Sega Megadrive
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Alien 3

Alien 3

Alien 3

Alien 3

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