Alien (1984 video game)

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Alien 1984 C64.jpg
Developer(s)Concept Software
Publisher(s)Argus Press Software
Designer(s)Paul Clansey (C64)
John Heap (ZX)
Garry Hughes (CPC)
Platform(s)Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC
ReleaseCommodore 64
ZX Spectrum
Amstrad CPC
Genre(s)Strategy, adventure[1]

Alien is a 1984 hybrid strategy/adventure video game developed by Concept Software and published by Argus Press Software for the Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum, and later ported for the Amstrad CPC in 1985.[2][3] It is based on the science fiction horror film Alien.


Alien is an omniscient menu driven game. The player is put in charge of all of the crew members of the Nostromo. The game starts with one of the crew members being killed by the alien, which mirrors the death of Kane when he gives birth to the alien in the movie. The player moves the characters around on a map-grid representation of the ship as they search for the alien. Littered around the map are various objects that are useful such as nets, incinerators, pistols, and oxygen tanks. The player can order one of the crew members to pick up such objects and use them when needed.

Based on the current situation, the emotional status of the crewmen can change. Their emotional status can range from confident, stable, uneasy, shaken, hysterical, and broken. This means that the crew members will not always obey the player's orders and can be frozen by fear or unwillingness to enter a hazardous situation. Ordering characters to pick up weapons can positively affect their emotional status and make them more likely to follow orders. Sending a character off alone can negatively effect their emotional status, causing them to perform poorly. Furthermore, like in the film, one of the crew members is secretly an android and he will turn on the other crew. When the crew is reduced to three there is the option of activating the ship's self-destruct sequence and escaping in the Narcissus.

Alien CPC.jpg Alien C64.gif Alien argus press.gif
Amstrad CPC (1985) Commodore 64 (1984) ZX Spectrum (1984)


Alien received mixed reception from game critics. The CRASH review overall verdict declared: "An excellent game — should keep you going for weeks. Hitchcock would have loved it."[4] The three Your Spectrum reviewers gave it a positive review with the scores of 3/5, 4/5, and 5/5, respectively.[5] On the other hand, Computer & Video Games reviewer gave the C64 version an averaged score of only 11/40, opining the game was a poor adaptation of the film and a "sad disappointment, with appalling graphics, sickly colours, and very little action."[6] Retrospectively, Stephen Kleckner of Thunderbolt wrote positively about the game, including it in his "must-play" list of Alien titles.[7]


  1. ^ Retro Gamer (4): 38.CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)
  2. ^ Worth, Pete (11 February 2013). "An Alien Retrospective". Thunderbolt Games. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  3. ^ Corriea, Alexa Ray; Riendeau, Danielle (3 October 2014). "From Atari to Isolation: A video and written history of Alien games". Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  4. ^ "Alien". Crash (Online ed.) (15). Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  5. ^ "Your Spectrum : Joystick Jury". Retrieved 2015-07-17.
  6. ^ "Computer and Video Games Magazine Issue 040". Retrieved 2015-07-17.
  7. ^ Kleckner, Stephen (7 October 2014). "Games of the Alien series, Part 2: The 'must play' edition". Retrieved 21 July 2015.

External links[edit]

  • Alien at Lemon 64
  • Alien at Spectrum Computing
  • Alien Amstrad CPC gameplay at YouTube