Sinclair User


Alien
By Mind Games
Spectrum 48K

 
Published in Sinclair User #37

Alien

TERROR stalks the corridors of the spaceship Nostromo as the alien devours the crew members, inexorably, one after the other. If you thrilled to the haunting and genuinely scary movie, Alien provides an authentic recreation of the plot.

You control the crew of the Nostromo, by manipulating the characters through a series of menus. You can use a joystick to move the cursor to the various instructions. A plan of the three decks displays the current position of the character you are controlling, and reports beneath send messages concerning the status of characters or damage to the ship.

To win you must either herd the alien into an airlock and blow it into space, or destroy the Nostromo while escaping in the shuttle Narcissus.

As in the film, the characters have minds of their own and will behave accordingly, sometimes disobeying orders if they are too scared. Jones, the ship's cat, is an infallible guide to the nearness of the alien. Unfortunately, you cannot launch the shuttle without first rescuing Jones, and the cat only likes certain crew members.

Whenever doors or ventilation grilles are opened, there is a corresponding whoosh from the Spectrum, and an electronic tracker, when found, beeps if anything is moving in an adjacent room.

Although the graphics are symbolic, and the representation of the alien less than frightening, there is a tremendous tension in playing the game, and scope for extremely complex tactical decisions. When all you can hear are the sounds of the alien approaching, panic can easily set in.

Chris Bourne

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