Aliens Thanatos Encounter
Platform: Game Boy Colour
Release Date: March 2001
Developer: Crawfish Interactive / Wicked Witch Software
Aliens: Thanatos Encounter is a 2001 shooter video game developed by Wicked Witch Software (on behalf of Crawfish Interactive) and published by THQ for the Gameboy Color.
The game is played from a top-down perspective and is inspired by James Cameron’s Aliens. The story sees a group of Marines returning to Earth from a training mission when they receive a distress signal from a space freighter called the Thanatos. They board the ship and discover that it’s infested by Xenomorphs. They must kill all the Aliens and rescue any survivors.
There’s around a dozen levels in Aliens Thanatos Encounter where your primary goal is to escape the Xenomorphs and find the exit. A few levels do have some specific objectives such as destroying all Xenomorphs, rescuing the survivors or finding a keycard.
Before you head into a level, you can choose between five characters which vary in speed and health. If a Marine loses their health or is captured, another character is given 200 seconds to go and rescue him. If the player doesn’t rescue him in time, the character is unplayable for the rest of the game.
You have a variety of guns at your disposal including a pistol and you can pick up a shotgun, pulse rifle, flamethrower, grenade launcher or smartgun found in the levels. A Marine also has a motion tracker which shows the location of survivors and Xenomorphs. The player can also use the Power Loader which slows the player down but increases their health.
Across the levels, Marines will encounter Facehuggers, Chestbursters, variants of the Alien Warrior and the Queen. At the start of the game, enemies will only be able to hurt you by melee but in later levels, they are able to spit acid from a distance. When you’re low on health, be sure to look out for first aid kits scattered around.
When you finally find the exit to a level, game progress is saved via the use of level passwords.
Despite Crawfish listed in the credits and on the box, Aliens Thanatos Encounter was actually developed by Australian game developer Wicked Witch Software. There was a post on Wicked Witch’s website (which has since been removed) that stated that Crawfish Interactive actually asked them to develop the game.
Front (UK Cover)
Back (UK Cover)
Nintendo Power (May 2001)
Aliens Thanatos Encounter received mixed reviews from critics. Nintendo Power awarded it 2.5/5 saying the topdown perspective ruined the suspense but the time-limit to rescue survivors added to the gameplay. Summing up, they said: “It surely won’t send shivers up Sigourney Weavers spine, but Thanatos Encounter boasts an original premise, large areas and difficult shoot-’em-up action.”
N64 Magazine gave it 2/5 saying the unpredictable Alien AI and fast movement speed made the game very frustrating. In Corporal Hicks’s AvPGalaxy Review, he gave it 8/10 saying “Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed playing this game. It’s extremely simple at its core but those small touches really help lift the game up. It wasn’t too easy, I had to redo several levels and rescue several marines but it’s certainly not a frustrating game.”