Blast from the Past: Alien Trilogy (SEGA Saturn)
Up until the recent release of Alien Isolation the Alien license had been abused by most game outings. Creating an atmosphere to tie in with the movie was always something that eluded any Alien game. Alien Trilogy was one of the better Alien games, but there was still a facehugger that stopped this from being a classic.
Alien Trilogy, as the name suggests, is based on the first three Alien movies. Problem is that the plot is all over the show and ties in with it very loosely. You’ll play as Lieutenant Ellen Ripley as she assist marines by eliminating xenomorphs and clearing the path for them. The very first level has a striking resemblance to Alien, whereby the second level looks and feels like Aliens. From there onwards it barely looks like anything out of the movies, and that’s perhaps a good thing.
The SEGA Saturn lacked an analogue stick and requires you to move backwards and forwards, as well as turn, only using the D-Pad. It plays very much like early Doom games on console and takes some getting used to. The left and right shoulder buttons are used for strafing to the left or right and somehow works. It’s definitely not perfect, but considering the challenges at the time it’s as good as you’ll get. The 6-button setup does feel weird at first, but once you gather which button is used for shooting, changing weapons, throwing grenades, running or activating doors it all seems to gel quite well.
Each and every map, 30 in total, feels like a bit of a maze. Though the maps aren’t anywhere near as expansive, when compared to those of current times, it’ll require you to memorise where you saw that power switch that requires the battery you just picked up to open the exit or activate the lift. Press pause and the map shows you your location and nothing else. Unless you take note of landmarks you’re in trouble. Throughout the game there are switches that open doors and inside it you’ll find important items and, more often than not, aliens.
There’s just about no suspense as you’re blasting an alien within the first two minutes of playing the game. They’re all over the place and with it comes a bunch of other baddies. The Chest Burster, Warrior, Young and Adult Dog Alien, Facehugger and, later on, The Queen will be out to kill you. You’ll face The Queen three times and each confrontation is a complete joke. One of the easiest boss battles in a game. It’s however the human enemies that pose a real threat as they have guns and have been infected.
You’ll have several weapons at hand to dispose of foes, but it’s the Shotgun, Flame Thrower and Pulse Rifle that’ll bring most of the enjoyment. It should also be said that you’ll be spending much of your time with your 9mm as ammunition is in short supply in this game. I often found myself completely running out of ammunition. Once that happens you’ll have unlimited handgun bullets, though there’s only one bullet in your gun and takes a few split seconds to reload. Not the desired option when a Warrior is ripping you to pieces.
Alien Trilogy does look like a dog’s breakfast on the SEGA Saturn and it’s a well known fact that both the PS1 and PC versions looked better in the graphics department. When a Face Hugger jumps up on your screen it’s a mess of pixels staring you in the face. That said, the soundtrack in this game is amazing. It creates a fantastic atmosphere, though, as mentioned earlier, there’s very little time for suspense in this all-out action FPS.
There are worse Alien games on the market and if you’re feeling like more Alien action and don’t mind a bit of old school Doom-like treatment you’ve got an enjoyable game at hand. It’s just that the SEGA Saturn controller feels a bit alien when it comes to an FPS.