Platform: Atari Lynx Release Date: Cancelled Genre: First Person Shooter Publisher: Atari Developer: Images Software
A long-rumoured game release for the Atari Lynx was Alien vs Predator which was in development in the early 90’s by UK developer, Images Software, led by Karl Jeffery. The developer created a demo (which you can download and play today) that featured a Marine and Predator as playable characters. The design documentation had numerous characters and locations from the Dark Horse AvP comics series although Atari didn’t have any licensing agreement with Dark Horse.
The Atari Lynx game was put on hold and eventually cancelled by Atari and focused their resources on the Atari Jaguar. Test cartridges can be bought on Ebay for the Lynx and four different prototype roms are available to download with different levels of playability. According to many sources, the game was 85% complete when it was cancelled.
Some work on the Lynx game continued after Atari started exploring the possibility of making it for the Jaguar. Atari hired Rebellion to make an Alien vs Predator game for their new Atari Jaguar console. and they’d given Rebellion some design ideas and assets from the Lynx game.
Alien vs Predator is a first-person shooter where you can play as either a Marine or a Predator. A playable Xenomorph was planned but you couldn’t play as one in the prototypes. The levels are on a Predator ship and depending on which character you select, you’ll have three weapons available to you which you can select from pulling up on the status screen. Marine weapons include a pulse rifle and flamethrower, while the Predator has a combstick, shoulder cannon and a disc. You can find ammunition, bombs and energy power-ups throughout the ship. The status screen also lets you view an overhead map of the ship, and check the levels of ammunition, energy, and points. For either character, your task is to find bombs within the Predator ship or Alien hive and find the exit.
There’s are 4 different prototype roms you can play all with differing levels of completion. The latest prototype dated 7th March 1995 was released online in 2015 and features a bit more enemy animation, black ceilings and floors and as a result, a slightly faster frame-rate. Here’s a chart showing the differences between them. (Thanks to Willard for the info).
Since Aliens vs Predator was never released, any reviews online will be of the various prototype roms floating around. AtariGamer scored it 6.5/10 praising the atmosphere and sound effects: “In conclusion, I can’t really say “you must play this game” to ‘Alien vs Predator’; but I would definitely recommend checking it out, just to see how cool it is as an unfinished product. There was really something here, absolutely, and the rating this game receives is more reflective of the unfinished nature of the game, rather than deficits in quality. The mood, graphics, sound, and the feeling of needing to check behind you… it’s all there!”