The launch of the Turbo Grafx-16 was the first, and only, foray into the North American gaming market for NEC (for more information on this see our historical look back here). NEC were pulling out all of the stops, at least as many as they could with their libary of launch titles. To say NEC were covering the bases would be an understatement of sorts, though they missed the boat entirely on a few of these choices. Alien Crush is not one that came up short of expectations, though. Alien Crush did just what it probably was meant to do- outdo Nintendo offerings such as Pinbot. The fledgling Sega Genesis didn’t have a pinball title at launch (or for quite awhile) but was it an overshot by NEC and proof they didn’t really understand the North American gamer?
First and foremost, there are only two tables available in Alien Crush– which is fine considering how much there is to do on those two tables and the multitude of bonus rooms. Alien Crush, as the name implies, is all about crushing aliens with your pinball skills. Sounds pretty simple.
Alien Crush is no normal pinball game, pulling from the E.T. mythos Compile/Naxat (the developers) were able to create a graphical tour de force that featured many “familiar” creatures. I say familiar because these are not licensed so they are not “exact” such as the little alien that comes out of the mouth of the bigger alien in the Sigourney Weaver action flick.
Alien Crush was followed, in North America, by Devil’s Crush and eventually Alien Crush Returns on the Nintendo WiiWare platform. Pinball fans can certainly find worse electronic versions of their favorite game but nothing compares in real life.