Alessandro Grussu9th January 2022
Published in Al's Spectrum Annual 2021
Aliana, the first hybrid between human and xenomorph from the planet Atlas, has begun her personal war against the two races. With the only help of Alma, her navigation system, Aliana has three goals. First, she has to cleanse the alien research centre, where humans were slaughtered by aliens. Then she must attack the xenomorph colony on the planet Acheron. Finally, she has to take over the spaceship Decoud, used by humans to transport alien life forms, and destroy the Alien Queen once and for all.
Each of the three objectives corresponds to one of the three levels in which Alien Girl, a shooter/maze game created by Javier Fopiani with the Churrera MK1, is divided. Acting as the "half-breed" Aliana, you will have to make your way by spraying bullets around three levels, collecting keycards to open doors leading to the various sections and bombs to place at the end of the path, after which you must return to the starting point within 60 seconds. Sometimes you will get stuck in a screen until you eliminate a certain number of enemies, which are constantly flowing; blocks can be moved in order to slow them down, or stop them. At the end of the third level, the alien queen will have to be destroyed with your rifle as you won't have any bomb at your disposal.
Clearly inspired by the movie franchise inaugurated by Ridley Scott more than forty years ago, Alien Girl has been carefully crafted: the intermission and endgame screens, Greenwebsevilla's music score and, above all, the size of the game world and the continuous, non-stop combat action are its strengths. Sprites are nice - I liked Aliana in particular - but settings do not look equally well done, with some dubious colour choices, especially in the second level, and they also tend to a certain uniformity.
The main criticism, however, is an excessive linearity: levels follow a distinct "find the object/look for the key/open the door/repeat" pattern, somewhat mitigated in the third level, where Aliana also has to operate some terminals. A diversification between the tasks to perform in the levels or a greater complexity in their layout would have given more depth to the game.
You can freely download a demo version of Alien Girl for the 48K, including the first and second level. The complete game, with AY music, digitized speech and ingame screens, can be purchased as a digital download from the author's page on the itch.io website. In addition to the game you will receive a manual in PDF format, some development images, background music in both AY and live recorded format and even two videos, a presentation trailer and a "making of" where the author himself shows the process that led to the creation of the game. You can then receive, at a minimum cost of two euros, much more besides the game itself, which, again, is made with care and fun to play despite its limitations.