Exploring space and doing battle with its less welcoming inhabitants has long been a popular theme in the world of gaming. Given that the sector also has a long history of collaboration with the movie industry, it’s unsurprising that the Alien, Predator and Alien versus Predator franchises have provided rich pickings for game developers.
What might surprise you, however, is just how many times those developers have been to the well. 58 different games have made it to general release over the past 37 years, with two more in the pipeline and numerous others that made it to the beta stage but were then pulled.
That’s a lot of games for even a dedicated Alien / AvP fan to work through. But fortunately, we’ve done the leg work for you and come up with five of the best across a range of platforms.
Like the original film, the first ever game deserves a mention, and not just because it was the precursor of all to follow. The early 80s had some great innovations in gaming, but those based on movies were a little hit and miss – ET, anybody? Alien, however, was a fun maze-style game in which the player must navigate the hallways of a ship, destroy alien eggs and overpower alien invaders using flamethrowers. It’s essentially Pac Man, but with eggs and aliens instead of unspecified dots and ghosts. It proved popular in the early 80s and is still enjoyable to play almost 40 years on.
This 15-payline slots game is from the NetEnt stable and is a mainstay across the online casinos. The design embodies the atmosphere of the second movie in the series, and features Ripley’s battle to reach the Queen Hive. It might not be the best slots game in the overall “battling aliens” genre of slots, at least not according to those who play Space Race slots game, which boasts 20 paylines, multiple levels and some generous bonuses. Nevertheless, Aliens is definitely worth seeking out for fans of the franchise who want to try their luck with a spin of the reels.
Alien vs Predator (Super Nintendo)
A classic arcade-style beat ‘em up, this is based on the game that you can still find in a few traditional arcades. The gameplay will take you straight back to the 90s, and there are some bizarre aliens with which to do battle, and some classic Alien weapons at your disposal. It’s nothing especially sophisticated, but you are guaranteed fun and entertainment – surely that’s what gaming should be about. These days, it’s available via emulator to play on your PC, and there are few better ways to spend an idle 30 minutes.
Alien versus Predator (PC)
Released at the turn of the millennium, this was seen as the gold standard in Alien-related games, at least until our final entry appeared on the scene. The story is excellent, and in choosing to play as either Alien or Predator, you can approach it and the game’s universe from two very different angles. 20 years on, it holds up well, with impressive effects and graphics.
Alien: Isolation (PS4, Xbox, PC)
The most recent console release based on the franchise, it is also the best. Ripley’s daughter has inherited all of her mom’s badass characteristics, and leads the player on a journey that will completely draw you in. The graphics are of movie-standard quality, and when you play games like this, you start to understand why some people believe playing games will ultimately render simply watching movies from the sidelines obsolete. The ending left gamers optimistic that a sequel would follow, but five years on, we are still waiting.