Retro Coin Op Synopsis

Welcome to Ellen Ripley’s nightmare...

All the acid-spewing, flesh-rending, heart-stopping action of the feature film Aliens came to the arcade in 1990, dragging players down into the depths of a human colony overrun by deadly extra-terrestrials. Joining movie hero Ripley was Corporal Hicks, her film co-star and compatriot in battle. Together, the two embarked on a terrifying rescue mission to the abandoned human settlement on LV426 Acheron.

The arcade version of Aliens translated much of the movie’s plot into a side-scrolling action shoot-em-up, complete with special weapon power-ups and seemingly endless enemies. Ripley and Hicks (or just Ripley in a one-player game) raced through dark corridors, rode on elevators and armored personnel carriers, crawled through sewers and crept along tight ventilation shafts, all under constant threat from facehuggers, warriors and other human-hating baddies.

Unlike most other games of the genre, Aliens had no jump button, forcing you to fight your way through its many levels of terror. As a sort of compensation, the game featured many power-up weapons that could be picked up along the journey—missiles, flamethrowers, three-way blasts, bombs and more. The game also allowed Ripley and Hicks to crouch, a necessary trick both for shooting low-riding facehuggers and for crawling through the colony’s shafts.

Mutated boss aliens awaited at the end of stages, capped off by not one, but two showdowns with the enormous, egg-laying Alien Queen. For the latter battle, Ripley could don the powerful exo-skeleton from the film, allowing her to go mano-a-mano with her fearsome foe.

Despite the four-year lag between the film’s release and the arcade game’s debut, Aliens still had a large share of fans ready to take control of their tough female hero and her he-man cohort. Both the film and the game led to further sequels, keeping the creepy franchise alive and creeping through the 1990’s.

Arcade Machine Release History

1990 - Aliens

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