The Alien franchise, with its iconic extraterrestrial antagonist, has been terrifying fans since the late 1970s. It has left a profound impact not just in film but also in the world of video games. Across platforms and generations, developers have aimed to capture the chilling atmosphere, memorable characters, and heart-racing encounters with the Xenomorph. Here's a look at the ten best games that have successfully brought the tension and horror of the Alien movies to the gaming sphere.
1. Alien: Isolation (2014)
Alien: Isolation is a survival horror masterpiece developed by Creative Assembly. Set 15 years after the events of the original movie, the game follows Amanda Ripley, daughter of the franchise's protagonist, Ellen Ripley, as she seeks the truth about her mother's disappearance. The game emphasizes stealth and resourcefulness as players navigate a derelict space station haunted by an unpredictable and relentless Xenomorph. Isolation perfectly captures the oppressive atmosphere of the original film, offering an experience dedicated to the fans who crave the suspense and dread that comes from the Alien universe.
2. Aliens vs. Predator (2010)
Rebellion Developments revisited their beloved formula with the 2010 version of Aliens vs. Predator, allowing players to experience the conflict from three perspectives: the Colonial Marines, the Predators, and the Xenomorphs. Each faction offers unique gameplay mechanics and narrative perspectives. The Marine campaign is a fearful fight for survival. The Predator campaign offers strategic hunting and tech use, while the Alien campaign gives players the visceral thrill of being the iconic monster. With its varied play styles and intense multiplayer, this game remains a fan favorite in the crossover saga.
3. Aliens: Colonial Marines (2013)
Aliens: Colonial Marines by Gearbox Software received mixed reviews upon release but has garnered a cult following for its loyal representation of the Aliens universe. The game is a first-person shooter featuring a squad of marines exploring the aftermath of the events of the film "Aliens." It showcases familiar settings such as the U.S.S. Sulaco and the colony on LV-426. The narrative-driven experience integrates classic weapons and offers cooperative gameplay, allowing friends to endure the Xenomorph threat together. While controversial in its execution, it stands out for its dedication to franchise details.
4. Aliens: Fireteam Elite (2021)
The cooperative third-person shooter Aliens: Fireteam Elite, developed by Cold Iron Studios, takes place 23 years after the original trilogy. Players team up as a trio of Colonial Marines dispatched to address Xenomorph outbreaks, exploring various locations teeming with alien threats. Customization and character advancement add depth to its intense firefights and strategic gameplay. As a more action-oriented take on the material, Fireteam Elite delivers a pulse-pounding experience that brings the Xenomorphs to life as an overwhelming swarm to be conquered by teamwork and firepower.
5. Alien Trilogy (1996)
Alien Trilogy is a first-person shooter for classic consoles like PlayStation 1 and Sega Saturn, developed by Probe Entertainment. This game brings together elements from the first three films, reimagining them into a single cohesive story. Players take on the role of Ellen Ripley as she battles across familiar locations such as LV-426 and the Fiorina "Fury" 161 prison planet. Combining action, suspense, and exploration, the Alien Trilogy delights in delivering an authentic atmosphere akin to the movies, complete with pulse rifles, motion trackers, and face-huggers lurking in the dark.
6. Alien vs. Predator (1999)
The 1999 release of Alien vs. Predator by Rebellion Developments for PC was a landmark moment for both franchises in gaming. This early title established the foundation for future AvP games with three separate campaigns where players could embody the terror of the Alien, the technology of the Predator, or the vulnerability of a human Marine. Combining atmospheric tension with visceral combat, this title allowed players to delve deeply into the distinct lore and capabilities of each species, becoming a cult classic and critically acclaimed entry in the crossover series.
7. Aliens: The Computer Game (1986)
An early attempt to translate the movies into an interactive medium, Aliens: The Computer Game, developed by Software Studios/Electric Dreams Software, was a mixed-genre game for Commodore 64 and similar platforms. It featured first-person corridor navigation, a "Quick Load" shooting gallery, and a tactical section where players control reinforcements arriving on LV-426. Each part of the game aimed to echo a corresponding section of the film "Aliens," and while primitive by today's standards, it was a novel approach to making players feel part of the action in the mid-80s.
8. Aliens: Infestation (2011)
Aliens: Infestation is a unique entry in the franchise's gaming lineup. Developed by WayForward and Gearbox Software, this 2D side-scrolling action-adventure for Nintendo DS pays homage to the 16-bit era. Players control a squad of marines investigating the U.S.S. Sulaco and must navigate through levels filled with Xenomorphs and other dangers. The game implements permadeath, which means losing a marine is permanent, adding to the tension. It's a great blend of retro styling with modern gameplay mechanics, resulting in a noteworthy and endearing spin on the Alien formula.
9. Aliens Online (1998)
Aliens Online was an innovative and ambitious title for its time, developed by Mythic Entertainment. This was an early attempt at an online-only FPS where players could choose to side with the Colonial Marines or the Xenomorphs in team-based conflicts. It featured maps inspired by the "Aliens" movie and a role-playing game-like progression system. Despite its now obsolete gameplay and the eventual shutdown of the servers, Aliens Online represented a pioneering step towards the team and class-based multiplayer shooters we see today.
10. AVP: Evolution (2013)
For a mobile gaming experience, AVP: Evolution brought together the Alien and Predator franchises in an action-packed offering from Angry Mob Games. This game for iOS and Android devices provided a narrative linking the two species in a tale of pursuit and survival. Players could upgrade and customize their Alien or Predator, unlocking new abilities and armor as they progressed through various missions. Its impressive graphics and solid touch-control mechanics made it a standout title that allowed fans to live out their favorite extraterrestrial battles on the go.
From console to mobile and from first-person horrors to 2D side-scrollers, the games based on the Alien franchise offer a variety of experiences that celebrate the series’ enduring legacy. These games have defined and redefined what it means to encounter a Xenomorph, transcending the limitations of the medium to deliver thrills, scares, and action-packed adventures. They are enduring testaments to the terrifying appeal of the Alien saga, remaining popular among gamers who love a good fright and formidable challenge.