Alien (1984, ZX Spectrum) :: Review | Ep. 23


Hey, guys! It’s that time of the year!… Hey, guys! It’s that time of the year!… I’ve just realized that I don’t have a
Halloween hat. Hummm.. Ok! Moving on! The game I bring you this week was one of the scariest experiences I’ve ever gone through! Let’s take a look! In 1986 I was just 11 years old when I saw,
for the first time, the movie ALIEN, from 1979, and played the Spectrum game soon after. Developed by Concept Software and originally published by Mind Games in 1984 for Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC and the ZX Spectrum, it wasn’t
the first game based on the Alien franchise. The Atari 2600 was the first system to get
a Pac Man game.. Huuuu, I mean, an Alien game!… In 1982 Pac Man was one of the most popular
games out there, so the Atari people thought that it would be a nice touch to adapt the
maze style gameplay to this first Alien title. Well, it’s totally a piece of crap. So, in my modest opinion, the first title that can really put us in that creepy environment is this one. Alien provides an authentic recreation of
the film’s plot. You control the crew of the Nostromo spaceship
by manipulating all the characters through a series of menus. A plan of the three decks displays the current
position of the character you are controlling and, beneath, their status or damage to the
ship. On the 3 decks there are 35 different rooms
that are connected by ducting which the alien uses freely. To win in this game you have two options:
herd the alien into an airlock and blow it into space, or destroy the Nostromo while
escaping in a shuttle. All characters have minds of their own and
sometimes disobey orders if they are too scared. Jones, the cat, is an important guide to the
nearness of the alien, but, unfortunately, he only likes certain members of the crew. Remember to take him with you when you’re
preparing your escape in the shuttle and, to catch him, you need a cat box! Another very important item that you need
to find is the electronic tracker that beeps if anything is moving in an adjacent room. The sound effects helped to create suspense;
the fact that you cannot see where the alien is, but keep coming across evidence of its
passage, and hearing it move around, adds to the atmosphere of groping around in the
dark. Until the release of this faithful movie conversion,
games licensed from films or TV have been marriages more of convenience than anything
else. Games like The Fall Guy or Ghostbusters just
concentrated on only one or two subject ideas from the movie and even this last one was
hailed as a masterpiece of thematic conversion. Thankfully this is not the case with Alien. Alien the game was written by fans and it
shows. There’s even a quick summary of the film
in the excellent booklet that came with the original release of the game. Even today, tension and suspense are very difficult properties to convey on a computer game. And, back in 1984, the creators of this title
succeeded in fully recreating this tense environment. Although the graphics are simple and the looks
of the alien less than frightening, there is a tremendous tension in playing this game,
and needs extremely complex tactical decisions. When all you can hear are the sounds of the
alien approaching, panic can easily set it. This is it for this episode of the Pixel THING. Next week I’ll be covering a title suggested
by a subscriber of the channel. So, be tuned! Thank you very much for watching and… I’ll see you all next week.

16 thoughts on “Alien (1984, ZX Spectrum) :: Review | Ep. 23

  1. great video. I think you deserve more subscribers considering the quality of your videos. Maybe it's that there are so many game reviewers already.

  2. Although the Spectrum was never really on my radar (started on a C64plus4 then consoles then Amiga) I still enjoy watching these older vids about games I know I will never play.

  3. Those old point and click games from the 80's. Know how to create a creepy atmosphere. Good job on showing the booklet, and it's relationship with the game's plot. I miss getting a book when you buy a new PC title.

  4. Hey PixelThing! Love your show so much that here I am in a hotel with 30 mins of free Wifi, so I just have enough time to download this vid and some of my other subscriptions to watch for when it runs out! Thumbs up from me!

  5. Good old times 🙂
    Também tive um Spectrum, aliás ainda o tenho e totalmente operacional, oferecido em 1987, uma peça de museu.
    Excelentes videos
    Like + sub

    Cumps

  6. I've been wondering which Speccy games to play and this looks really good. I'll definitely be giving this a go. I never had a Spectrum back in the day, so it's all new to me. The only game I ever played back then was Gauntlet at my friends house, which was good fun 2 player. Another good vid, thumbs up from me.

  7. I've been wondering which Speccy games to play and this looks really good. I'll definitely be giving this a go. I never had a Spectrum back in the day, so it's all new to me. The only game I ever played back then was Gauntlet at my friends house, which was good fun 2 player. Another good vid, thumbs up from me.

  8. Always nice to find a fellow Speccy game reviewer. Nice editing skills there mate and thanks for reviewing it. Ive subscribed for sure. Looking forward to more of these! 😉

  9. How the hell did I miss this?! Looked awesome. My friend's Father was property master for some the later Films so I wish I'd had this to show him.

  10. Ganda malha… experimenta o novo Alien Isolation… é baseado no 1.0 Alien e o ambiente é assustardor mesmo.. muito bom! Abraço

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