Archive for the Aliens Category

Retro-Game Backlog Entry #7: Alien Vs. Predator

Posted in Aliens, Best / Worst, Blog, Games, Lists, Retro Games on July 18, 2019 by slateman

Capcom was a well-oiled machine by 1994, building off the opportunities after Street Fighter II’s ridiculous success. Their side-scrolling beat-em-up Alien Vs. Predator was not the first entry into the crossover franchise, but it remains my favorite. I don’t recall actually playing this in arcades; it came out a little late for me, but I did play it via emulation sometime in the next decade and quite liked it. Will returning to it offer the same nostalgia for a 1990s quarter muncher or has it aged less well than its contemporaries? Having moved from temporary quarters in Sweden to temp quarters in Italy, now seemed a good time to find out the answer to that very question!

Laptop, SN30 Pro and RetroArch. Check. It starts out great, mowing down aliens as one of four different characters, each of whom plays quite differently. Of course I chose Linn Kurosawa, an awesome character Capcom has oddly not cashed in on enough! The stages blazed by with two different attacks, sub weapons aplenty and killer animations. The CPS2’s Q-Sound allowed for kick-ass audio: explosions that boomed and the familiar tinny gun sound from my favorite movie ever: Aliens.

However, at its heart, it’s a side-scrolling beat-em-up. How much more can you do with the genre? Little things help, with special moves, the usual food and point pick-ups and the lot. You can shoot grenades away as enemies throw them at you. There is a bonus stage later on and one level had you driving atop one of the mobile units from the movies. However, in the middle, the usual spin arrives: that the evil madman from Weyland Yutani (misspelled in the ending as Wayland) wants to harness their power, etc. etc. etc. Thus, for a good portion of the game, you end up fighting human soldiers. This was likely a good choice to keep it from getting stale but I ended up simply not caring. Segments felt repetitive and while the game fashioned a story out of the absurd premise, even that grew thin.

Cut scenes were spread throughout the game which was quite nice and it contained plenty of dialogue – a far cry from brawlers from half a decade earlier. Animations in these interludes were minimal but in the rest of the game they were spectacular. Multiple types of aliens existed with a bevy of attacks and hit animations. Flame throwers engulfed enemies in fire and the game was bombastic as it should be. However, with two bosses being the queen, it appears in retrospect the diversity of enemies simply wasn’t there. What was there was pretty kick-ass, I must admit. Backgrounds were colorful, detailed and fit the series perfectly.

In the end, my fond memories were not quite matched by the game’s fun factor. Released three years earlier, I’d just as soon go back to Sunset Riders first. It was definitely an entertaining run and playing as other characters might spice things up a bit. This is set to appear on Capcom’s upcoming all-in-one arcade stick, a great entry considering few have played it in the last 25 years.

Aliens: Colonial Marines – Thoughts

Posted in Aliens, Blog, Games on February 24, 2013 by slateman

aliens_colonial_marines_1I normally wait to beat a game to put up my brief review (thus still no RE6!) but I had to chime in on a few things here. I’m working through Colonial Marines and it is a chore. I’ll beat it, but there are a number of irksome things to detail.

Since I’m playing New Super Mario Bros. U at the same time, we’re looking at completely different games. In that game, when I head to a curious corner; I explore it. There’s almost always something there. In Aliens, every dead end is just that – a dead end. There’s no reason to explore…simply because there’s never anything there. Of course, there are collectibles, but why might there be dog tags sitting on a desk? I don’t know who the guy is, nor why dog tags would be just sitting there. I’ll get a trophy for collecting them all, but since I know I missed some, why go back? Audio logs are a little better.

As for the visuals, it’s already been chronicled how questionable the game looks. From slow-to-load textures to an overarching shoddy presentation, it’s just wrong. Xenomorphs have stiff animations and they just disappear from time to time. Any sense of realism or fear is wiped away by these visual hiccups. The lighting sometimes look great (like with strobe light effects or during cut scenes) but other times things just look bad. Part of the problem is that the we were promised pictures like this one. I remember this scene in the game. I can promise you; it didn’t look nearly as good as what you see here.

But that’s not all. There are countless inexplicable problems. Death scenes could be so cool, instead, your character just dies and the screen turns grey. The powerloader sequence was utterly disappointing. Why do doors take forever to open?!

I mean, there are positives. Some sequences were very cool and I had a few moments of dread. Aliens did instill fear for a short while. But every time something awesome happens, the game would come back to me, washing away anything good. Now, I’m a bit more than halfway through, but why are there no tense facehugger sequences yet? No eggs hatching? This could be the greatest thing ever but instead I’m trying to find a doctor to save Bella, a character I have zero interest in?

I should save judgement because the game is not yet done. But there’s nothing that can be done to fix the issues I have already encountered. While my anticipation was outrageously high, it was brought back to earth by the poor reviews. Even with lowered expectations, this is still disappointing. Opportunities missed everywhere. Meh.

Mini-Review: Prometheus – I Definitely Liked!

Posted in Aliens, Best / Worst, Movies, Reviews with tags on June 10, 2012 by slateman

There WILL Be Spoilers

I have not been this excited for a movie since Return Of The King. That was 9 years ago. In all honesty, I have been waiting for this movie to be made for 20 years. We survived Alien: Resurrection and a pair of Alien vs. Predator films. While this may not be an official prequel, anyone who gives a damn about this series knows it is the only film to matter in almost quarter a century. As the days progressed, I kept my expectations low but the fact remained; I was excited beyond belief. Therefore, as the 1pm showing crept closer, I could hardly contain myself. Prometheus is here.

It is an interesting tale. We all yearned to know the origins of the aliens, the mythical Space Jockey’s details, the reason the space craft crashed. Ultimately however, we don’t get all the answers we desired. In fact, there is much left unclear and many new questions are raised.

  • This wasn’t LV426, so this setting isn’t the same as Alien.
  • Assuming this is an actual prequel, a different ship crash landed. Was that Dr. Shaw’s?
  • Therefore, could the space jockey w/ the chest burster be Dr. Shaw?
  • Guy Pearce played Weyland. Why not just get an older actor?
  • Vickers (Charlize Theron – rowr) – Was she an android? Why should I care that David calls her mother and she calls Weyland father?
  • The xenomorph at the end is different from what we know. Since it was all CG, recreating the classic alien should have been easy. Why opt for a different style?
  • The tattooed guy returned with super-human strength. What exactly was he?
  • Similarly, Dr. Holloway was infected with the black liquid. What was he becoming?

What I Liked..

Ridley Scott separated himself from the Alien mythos and for good reason. He would have been inundated with xenomorph questions for the entire 2-year publicity run. Once again though, we knew it was a prequel and I just kept trying to prepare myself for a different type of movie. This was not meant to be Alien and Aliens. That’s OK with me. Some of the best parts were ones removed from that style. On the other hand…

Fifield and Milburn – the scenes with them after they were trapped overnight. There was an intensity to the waiting and barring the stupidity of wanting to play with alien snakes, that whole attack scene was awesome.

The self-abortion scene was insane.

David was an excellent part of the movie. Unlike the anti-android sentiment you got in the first two movies, this was different. I never quite knew what to think of him and what his agenda was. Couple this with Vickers hatred for Weyland and their relationship, there was always a level of underlying strife.

The sandstorm was pretty cool. As were the scanning orbs (pups).

The entire look of the ship was just like the Nostromo and the outfits were classic looking. The look was familiar and awesome.

Final Thoughts

There were a few iffy moments but it avoided being cheesy and that was worth it alone. (remember Alien: Resurrection?) While it created more questions than it answered, I actually quite liked the final product. It was not what we had been expecting and that almost made it more interesting. The intense moments were intense. The thought-provoking concept was deep (and I’m still thinking about it) and barring a few small qualms, I think I liked the movie quite a lot. Now to wait for the blu-ray release, see if there are any cool extras (answers?!?!) and then rethink the whole thing all over again. Definitely thumbs up!

Newest Prometheus Trailer: How Can I *NOT* Be Excited?!?!

Posted in Aliens, Blog, Movies, Video on March 25, 2012 by slateman

I LOVE Alien & Aliens. The second is my favorite movie of all-time, I think. We’ve all heard that Ridley Scott was making Prometheus, a prequel to Alien. Wait…What? It’s NOT a prequel? But, but…but it’s got the space jockey and that ship is the same and…

OK, so it’s not officially a prequel but it’s a prequel and we all know it. I think he said it so we wouldn’t all expect face huggers and xenomorphs. Because, let’s say it were a prequel and there were no face huggers and xenomorphs, it would be a disappointment, right?

I’ve learned my lesson. I try to have low expectations for anything that could be utter friggin’ awesomeness. This is a perfect example. Prequel or not, this could be ├╝ber-amazing and for that reason alone I should have NO EXPECTATIONS. However, it’s time you watch something. It’s time you watch this, in its HD glory. It’s time to speculate, “WTF is going on?!” Yes. You are excited. You can’t help it. This could be utter friggin’ awesomeness. So, release your inhibitions and accept it. Now, wait until June 8th to find out if it does in fact disappoint you on a legendary scale. Because it just might. Or…….?

Psyched beyond comprehension – even if that is a very bad thing indeed.