Category Archives: sega megadrive game

Queen of the videogame of the movie – it’s Alien!!!

The adaptation of videogames from movies is a long and ignoble tradition. As long as there have been arcade, and later, console and computer games, there have been ‘games based on the movie’. Invariably, they have been a pretty sorry bunch even at the dawn of videogames (a Death Race 2000 game courted controversy over 30 years ago, but was poor even by the basic standards of the day). A few years later, Atari adapted the Spielberg blockbuster E.T. for their 2600 console, but its confusing, badly programmed gameplay left consumers cold and Atari on the verge of collapse. If you have never heard the story of hundreds of thousands of copies of the game being buried in a landfill, then take a look here.

At epinions.com there is a list of the worst movie to game adaptations.

There have, however, been some great games of movies, and even great games that just take the characters out of the movie and put them into a game. Here are a few off the top of my head;

Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II (Gamecube, 2001)

Lego Star Wars (Xbox, PS2 & various other platforms, 2005)

and



Robocop
(Arcade, 1988)

In my opinion, some of the best adaptations of movies to games have been based on the Alien series of movies. This is by no means a definitive list of games based on the characters and films, but presents what I think are the best or most significant of the bunch. The list is chronological, from earliest to most recent.

Aliens – The Videogame (1986 – Amstrad CPC464 and Commodore 64)

I had the Amstrad version (published by Electric Dreams*) and thought it was one of the best games or apps for the system – up there with the Graphic Adventure Creator, Alien 8, Footbal Manager or Elite. You had control of several characters, including Ripley, the Marines, Bishop the Android and that bad man from the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, Burke. The objective is to explore the devastated colony by instructing the people under your control. You must also ensure that you watch them or else they could be under attack. Each character has different characteristics and reacts differently to each situation. The objective is to get to the Queen Aliens chamber and destroy the eggs she is incubating. A great game for its time, and one that is worth investigating.

Some kind soul has posted up some action from the Amstrad version on youtube;

Wiki entry
IGN review of the game
Alien Trilogy at Gamespot
Some good coverage of the title at Moby Games

Links!!!

There is a list of Alien and Predator (and Aliens versus Predator) games here

Relive the heady days of the nineties when web pages were written with what looks like notepad-type simple text programs and learn more about the Alien movies at the same time!

* and if that’s not a name for the Eighties, I don’t know what is.

Futuresport of the Past Part I – Speedball 2 (1990)

Quite probably the finest example of futuresport in videogame history, Speedball 2 is also one of the greatest games on any of the formats it graced (Amiga, Atari ST, Sega Megadrive amongst others). A cross between handball, ice hockey and basketball, with full body contact absolutely allowed, the game pace was never less than frenetic, the tension and excitement always ramped up.

The game rules were simple – you took control of the Speedball team ‘Brutal Deluxe’ as they began a new season in the second (of two) leagues. With 8 teams in the both divisions, the objective is simple – to win as many games as possible to go up into the first division, and while you are at it, build up your playing squad with money earned from playing the game. When you are in the first division, you do the same again, crushing your opponents to top the league and keep earning the cash to build strengthen your existing squad or bring in new additions.

Game play is simple to pick up, and this is a big part of the success of ‘Speedball 2’. You basically start with one of your players in the centre of the arena waiting for the small metal ball to shoot up from the centre of the pitch. From there, you need to get the ball before the other team does, and if not, get it off them before they create a scoring chance. You can charge up field, knocking opponents off their feet (or getting knocked off yours, depending on your physical stature and prowess) and try and score by throwing the ball past the goalkeeper into the goal, is a fairly big hole in the wall. A favourite tactic of mine is to throw the ball at the keeper and then charge him, knocking the ball from him and then scoring. That way you knacker the goalie while getting the points. That’s the way ‘Speedball 2’ draws you in – it is not just about winning the game, it is about playing the game. By playing the game, I mean using all the tactics and tricks available to you – so that means trying to wreak as much damage to the other side as possible, and using all the power-ups, coins and armour that litter the playing field.

Once you get up to the first division, the game gets really tough, with the likes of Fatal Justice and Super Nashwan being a real challenge to even the most experienced player. You get a maximum of 2 seasons in the game, which is a shame, and the only real downside to a brilliant package.

Speedball 2 is one of the finest examples of videogaming – it is simple to pick up, but incredibly difficult to master, but the learning curve is never too steep. Maddeningly addictive thanks to the many options of play (Cup, League, Management etc) the game is still highly enjoyable now. It even made the transition to the Game Boy Advance in 2000, and even works well on that platform.

Finally, sit back and enjoy the match as Brutal Deluxe take on one of the weaker sides in the league – Revolver, courtesy of youtube.

Links!

Not only does the mobygames site have a great overview of the game, it also handily reprints some of the reviews of the game at the time of its release – see here

An appraisal of all the teams competing in Speedball 2 at SuperNashwan

Wiki FAQ for Speedball 2 on the Sega Megadrive

Speedball 2 Wikipedia entry