As one of the greatest science-fiction horror franchises of all-time, there was just no way that the Alien movies were going to be left alone following James Cameron’s epic 1986 sequel to the original film. The development of a third movie began quickly following the success of Aliens, culminating with the 1992 release of Alien 3, a movie that disappointed a number of both fans and critics. But it was the early 90’s, and any reader of this column knows that good movie or not, it was headed for some serious licensing money.
Probe Software were put to work developing Aliens 3 for the Sega Genesis, the same company responsible for a number of well-received Sega ports of arcade games including Mortal Kombat II and Primal Rage. The game released just two weeks after the premiere of the movie, arriving on store shelves on June 9, 1992. The Genesis version of Alien 3 is a fairly standard side-scroller from the time, with the player controlling Ripley as she tries to navigate some truly large and convoluted levels.
There are some cool parts to the Genesis entry for sure, there’s a nice opening cinematic and some pretty good music. The occasional overlay of your motion tracker replicates action from the movie and helps to create a bit of suspense. But for the most part, game play consists of mindlessly going up and down ladders, blasting aliens (ammo can be limited though) and trying to rescue people that have been captured by the enemy. While not a horrible game, Aliens 3 does come off a bit like a typical licensed game, in terms of what it offers as a whole.
At the same time, the people at Kenner were busy creating their own line of Aliens toys, fresh off of their success at producing figures for other popular blockbusters like RoboCop and Terminator 2. In order to make their latest offering slightly more child friendly, Kenner meant for the toys to tie-in with an upcoming Saturday morning cartoon show, Operation: Aliens. The show, however, was cancelled before completing production, and the toys continued on, as the company released four series of figures composed of different types of aliens, characters from the movies, and vehicles. The Alien Queen Hive play set has to be among the top offerings from the line, as it features a giant alien that is able to slime other action figures.
So while Alien 3 may not be a cinematic masterpiece, and it left the franchise in a somewhat questionable place going forward, it did provide an excuse for companies to create a bunch of products perfect for the early 90’s. The Genesis game based on it may be mediocre, but what would have been better than renting it along with a VHS copy of the movie and spending a few nights playing Sega and watching aliens bleed acid and terrorize people? Now that could have made for a pretty good weekend back in 1992.
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Cardback photo: http://www.bogleech.com/junk/aliens-cardback.jpg
Queen Box: http://www.toyarchive.com/STAForSale/NEW2001+/Aliens/QueenHiveMISB1b.jpg