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Alien 3 [Sega Genesis] – Review

Alien 3

Truly my foray into the Alien franchise began with Alien Trilogy on the PlayStation, although I’ve barely touched that game. It began in earnest after watching Prometheus, an “unofficial” movie in the series, although it’s about as official as anything else if you ask me. I’ve now watched all movies in the franchise and am ready to dive into the related games and feel confident in my understanding of the source material. It helped too! I can comprehend the mediocrity of Alien 3 on the Sega Genesis a little more knowing that the movie it’s based on is of the same quality.

Of the “five” movies, I’d put Alien 3 at the bottom of the list. This is to say, I didn’t begin playing the Genesis game with much optimism. On the whole, I thought the movie was rather brown and monotonous visually, and the game didn’t shake this aura early on. It looks to have a few different environments to be fair, but I didn’t witness these firsthand. The gameplay was related to the events of the movie too but skewed (and omitted) the storyline in favor of more action.

Most stages tasked Ripley with rescuing the prisoners of Fiorina 161 and combating the aliens.  The stages needed to be completed in a set amount of time and this was hard to do the first time through. Most took a few attempts to learn where the aliens popped up and rushed me and where the prisoners were. Locating the prisoners wasn’t so bad (I had to explore the stages anyways, right?) but constantly getting bum rushed by the aliens grew annoying. Often, they’d materialize at the edge of the screen as I progressed. They’d quickly charge and if I didn’t immediately start shooting, I would take damage. This led to much trial and error.

Hostages were abound, but aliens were more prevalent.
Hostages were abound, but aliens were more prevalent.

This sounds like a lot of negativity towards Alien 3. You want the lowdown though? I only progressed to the third stage and the game has twelve! I had no idea it was that beefy until I did further research. This being the case, I would only take this review as my experiences with a minority of the game and not a comprehensive examination of it. After seeing that I barely scraped the surface I am interested in playing more of it, but not because what I experienced was such a joy to play. I was oddly compelled to continue playing it, even when I felt like many of my deaths were cheap, so take that as you will.

OutRun Europa – First Impressions

No suitable Game Gear box art, and the copy I purchased was the cart only.

So I was at a local game store the other day when I glanced in one of their display cases and noticed sitting front and center in a stack of Sega Game Gear games was OutRun Europa. Having recently spent some time with OutRun Online Arcade I decided to pick it up and see what it was like.

First off, the game is not developed by Sega, nor was it even published by them. The game was developed by Probe Software (a British studio no longer around) and published by U.S. Gold (a British publishing house that shares the same fate). It came out on a variety of platforms in the early nineties, mostly British computers but it also saw release on the Sega Master System and the Game Gear, the version I purchased.

Rather than simply driving, OutRun Europa features a very light story element. All I could gather from the game however was I had had my vehicle stolen, so I stole someone’s motorcycle to chase down the thieves, which is ironic since by doing so, I was a thief, whatever. I guess there is a different vehicle for each stage, but I wasn’t able to make it past the first stage, and it isn’t the game’s fault.

Alas my Game Gear was pretty much useless. The sole speaker on the system didn’t work and the headphone jack didn’t give me the full soundtrack. This is a shame because I watched clips of different versions of the game on YouTube and the soundtrack was good. The major problem with my Game Gear was the screen however. It was hardly legible and adjusting the contrast didn’t help. I could barely read the heads-up display or even see the pickups on the road.

While the stages were fairly lacking in detail, the Game Gear still had some impressive visuals.

So I didn’t get to play a lot of OutRun Europa, but I was able to piece more and more of it together from playing it a few more times and scouring the internet for information. I did like the handling of the motorcycle from what I played although I could’ve done without the pickups. These pickups gave me shields, boost, and maybe ammunition in later stages. There was a fork in the first stage but it doesn’t have a format similar to most other OutRun games, that is to say it doesn’t have multiple branching paths. I wished I could’ve played more to see the different stages and vehicles (a Jet Ski?!) but I won’t be able to until I get another Game Gear or a different version.