It’s sad that one of the best licensed titles of the 32-bit era was based on one of the two most reviled films in the Alien universe, but if you can ignore the bile rising in your throat at the thought of playing Alien Resurrection, you’re going to find a ridiculously playable FPS that manages to do something very few shooters achieve: scare the ever-loving crap out of the player. US gamers, after years’ worth of teasing ads in magazines, got the chance to play starting today in 2000
The story, for those of you unwilling to watch the movie again, is that thanks to genetic tampering by Weyland-Yutani, Ellen Ripley finds herself alive despite diving into a vat of molten lead more than two centuries earlier. Now she’s a “guest” (read: prisoner) on the Auriga, a scientific research ship where the crew is tasked with studying the xenomorphs to see if they can be trained and turned into living biological weapons. Naturally this goes horribly wrong, and it doesn’t take long before the aliens have swarmed the ship, face-hugging, double-jawing, and tail-impaling everything in their path. Your only chance is to meet up with a crew of rough-and-tumble mercenaries and fight your way to their ship, the Betty. Whatever you’re gonna do, you better do it fast because the research ship’s headed on a collision course with Earth, and when those two heavenly bodies meet the results will be explosive to say the least. Welcome to the future!
Alien Resurrection takes the simple formula present in Probe Entertainment’s 1996 Alien Trilogy and injects a fresh new supply of nightmare fuel. Where Alien Trilogy looked and played like a modified version of Doom, Resurrection plays like an enhanced version of Quake II with fewer weapons and infinitely more scares. Even the opening cinema sequence is a beautiful example of just how creepy the PS1-era FMVs could look when given the right treatment. The game is far more Resident Evil than Doom, however. Ammo for every weapon but the pistol is in short supply, and you’ll need every clip and magazine you can get your hands on to take care of your opponents.
Xenomorphs are fast, deadly, and relentless. They scuttle through the shadows, scurry across ceilings, explode from vent shafts, and creep silently behind you. Soldiers stationed on the Auriga try their best to fend off the aliens, but more often than not you’ll run down a corridor towards the sounds of gunfire and screaming only to find mauled bodies, smashed windows, and acid-burned husks left behind. Aliens still bleed acid, so don’t use that shotgun at point-blank range if you have a choice.
Alien Resurrection takes full advantage of its 3D engine, assembling levels that require you to climb ladders, traverse catwalks, duck through air vents, and even swim through flooded areas as you play. Corpses, blood stains, wrecked machinery, shattered control panels, and dodgy lights greet you frequently, and the endgame even features a sequence where the Newborn Alien Hybrid hunts you through the ship like Nemesis from Resident Evil 3. In addition to all this, the damage the xenomorphs cause to the Auriga over time renders more and more of the ship unstable. The further you get into the game, the more you’re fighting against not just the aliens, but the ship falling apart all around you as well. It’s a ridiculously atmospheric gem–make no mistake, you will know what it’s like to be hunted after an hour spent in the Auriga’s hallways.
Overlooked and underrated by the gaming press at the time, Alien Resurrection suffered from a release date nearly four years after the film arrived in theaters and an ad campaign touting it was coming soon beginning in 1998. Not exactly Duke Nukem Forever, but when your PS1 game’s release date coincides with the US launch of the PlayStation 2, you’re bound to get overlooked. Alien Resurrection also suffers some odd glitches if you try to play it on anything newer than a PS2, so you definitely want to run this one on the original hardware.
Halloween’s just around the corner. If you’ve got Alien: Isolation, then play that. But if you’re done with Isolation, and you’re looking for something spooky that ties in with the Alien franchise, then Resurrection might be the game to scratch that itch. Now, enjoy our little ad gallery: