Ever since Bill Paxson's character said "game over, man!" Aliens has been a movie pleading for a high quality video game to call its own, and miraculously we finally have that game in Aliens: Extermination. I say miraculously because 1. This is actually the third attempt at creating an Aliens arcade game (1990's Aliens was a standard side-scroller shooter -- albeit with a fun final stage based on the climactic power loader scene -- while 1993's Alien 3: The Gun merged the second and third installments of the series into a well-meaning, but familiar shoot-em-up), and 2. the arcade game industry is currently in its dimmest state in decades, with paltry new offerings that focus mostly on novelty. Through all of this, we have Aliens: Extermination, and even though it came out in 2006, it's still new to most of us since actually finding a newly-released arcade game is a game itself.
I had little hope of finding Extermination after reading about it last year, but as the saying goes: "Walk down the wrong alley in Boise, and if your expectations are low enough, you can find just about anything." Well I found it, and damn am I happy I did. Remember the Terminator 2 arcade game? Arnie himself wouldn't go back to that game after playing Extermination, it has to be considered one of the best movie-based video games of all time.
As you can see from the image above Extinction is a shoot-em-up, but it brings a lot to the table than simply pulling the trigger and aiming. It takes you deep into the Aliens world, giving you the role of a marine landing on EV-426, just as in the movie. You'll see a few Aliens landmarks and moments here and there, but it's mostly a new spin on the movie with the likes of android enemies and different strains of the alien species.
The most familiar Aliens artifact is the life-size pulse rifle that serves as the game's controller -- it comes complete with the familiar two-digit ammo counter on the back. For those of you who have fantasized about Michael Biehn lovingly explaining how to load a magazine into a machine gun, you've found your game. The ammo counter on the gun is crucial, as unlike most games of the genre you actually have a limited amount of your base ammunition, and once it's gone you'll be reduced to using a humble pistol against the hordes of aliens. In addition to pulse rifle rounds, a button under the gun's barrel allows you to operate a flame thrower and another button lets you throw grenades and laser-guided missiles. These controls open up a myriad of offensive options, as in any given fire fight you could find yourself firing the pulse rifle, flame thrower, grenade and pistol in rapid succession without taking your eyes off the battle at hand.
The action in the game is as furious as you want it, and at some parts you may find yourself screaming "Oh you want some too?" like Paxson's character does -- unfortunately there's no option to pull the pin on a grenade when you're out of ammo like our fellow marine Vasquez. It gets so chaotic that the rumbling gun often leaves your hand feeling like mush -- so walk it off, OK, marine? With four long missions taking you through every corner and depth of EV-426, Aliens: Extermination is a dream for any fan of the movie ... as long as you can find it.
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Filed Under Casual whimsy