Can you survive a journey through the atmosphere processor in this remake of a classic 8-bit computer game?
Today is Alien’s day. A day created by the marketing team at 20th Century Fox to celebrate thirty years since the release of the 1986 film, Aliens, directed by James Cameron. As you may recall, the planet in the film was known as LV-426. Split the numbers and you can create the 26th of April (4th month, 26th day), Aliens Day!
I thought it would be rather appropriate to offer up this PC remake of the classic game for the 8bit machines of the time back in 1986. I have previously reported on the original game back in 2014 with a Retro Review and thanks to Reddit I discovered that someone had remade it for modern PCs.
The original game was published in 1986 for the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC and the MSX by Electric Dreams. This particular version of the game was created for the British market as the Americans received their own variant but I won’t dwell on those details as you can find out more by reading the Retro Review.
LV-426 places you in control of Ripley and five of the United States Colonial Marines. The aim of the game is to make your way from one side of the atmosphere processor to the other in order to reach the drop ship and make your escape from the planet.
The display is split into two with the top half relaying the view from the currently selected crew member’s head mounted camera. This pseudo first person view can only be rotated left or right using the gun sights of your weapon, allowing you to look around each room in a 360° arc.
Placing the gun sights over the door and pressing the space bar allows you to move through if it is unlocked. If the door is locked, you can shoot a hole allowing you to pass through but this will use some of your precious ammo.
Finally, there are the alien creatures to worry about as well. Entering a room that contains one of the nightmare inducing beasts will trigger an alarm alerting you to their nearby presence. You will have to sweep the room and shoot them before your brief chance expires. If that happens, the alien will capture or kill you and the character is lost for the rest of the game.
The bottom half of the screen provides information on the health of all six characters under your control. You can see who is alive, who is dead and which characters are in the presence of an alien allowing you to quickly switch to that character and defend them.
The original release of the game came with an A3 map of the game. According to the remake’s author the structure has been preserved and if you still have that map, you can use it with this version as well.
This remake also includes a small onscreen map that represents a small portion of the full-size map, allowing you to see your progress. Damn! I could have used that back in the day as I found the game hard enough as it was. Getting lost was incredibly easy.
The graphics have been updated and given some nice new animations but still retain their faithfulness to the original release. Also, sounds and music have been lifted from the original film to help you to become more immersed. This game can be quite tense at times.
You can find the game here at Debian Games where you can download it and read the full instructions.