How the Arcade Aliens helped sell R-rated movies to children
Even Xenomorphs are cute when they're pink.
It's time for Monday's video! And today, we've got a review of an Arcade game that is kind of liked, but is also usually given a bit of a quizzical eye in retrospectives and what have you...it's Aliens, the 1990 game from Konami! The game itself is a perfectly fine run-n'-gunner in a similar vein to Contra only with the addition of a three-quarters view, but it is somewhat loose when it comes to adapting the franchise it has licensed. As ever, you can watch the video below.
So...pink aliens? a blonde Ripley? Zombies that fire guns? What's going on? Those are usually the things that people bring up with this game, but I think people do forget a little that the game was meant to be marketed towards children, who made up most of the arcade-going public back then -- so a straighter adaptation might not have been welcome. There wasn't exactly much other reason to make an Aliens game after all, seeing as it came out four years after the film hit cinema. The Alien franchise itself has an interesting history when it comes to more kid-friendly tie-ins -- even the original film had an action figure in 1979 (which was soon pulled for being too realistic), and not long after the Aliens game came out, Keene released a more successful Aliens toy line that lasted for a few years. With a lot of blockbusters at the time being violent action-packed films aimed at adults, people had to figure out how to get younger folks involved in all ways short of actually seeing the film -- the likes of Aliens, RoboCop and Rambo all managed to do that eventually.
The inherent weirdness of this adaptation and the pondering over why it even exists does tend to hide the very solid game that lies within -- as far as quarter-munching run 'n' gunners go, Konami are definitely close to the top of their game here. It plays a lot like an unofficial Contra sequel, meaning that Konami finally get to make a direct game from one of that series' biggest influences. The final boss battle pitting the Alien Queen against Ripley in her Power Loader is also a gem, and there's all of the traditional Aliens accoutrements - pulse rifles, radars, and of course -- zombies that crawl around on the floor and shoot you with their pistols...it is indeed an odd little Arcade game, but it sure is fun.