Alien 3 (Super Nintendo)

by PaulEMoz in , ,

It's film tie-in time today, as I've decided to dip into the SNES catalogue and play "one of the best SNES games of all time", Alien Cubed. Sorry, Alien 3.

You know that when Acclaim bought the licence to Alien 3, they were really just buying the licence to the Alien name. Then again, after the action spectacular that was Aliens, maybe they just figured the film would be another all-guns-blazing affair. I bet their jaws dropped when they saw that it was more in the vein of the first film.

What are you looking at? Eh?

It's interesting to see, then, that they've almost completely disregarded the film's plot in making the game. The characters and setting are there... Ripley is shaven-headed, and there are prisoners to be rescued here and there. Generally speaking, though, Alien 3 is a maze game where you blast as many aliens as you can find.

And really, that's it. There are missions, sure... accessed through the many terminals that are scattered around the landscape. But what it boils down to is that you trudge around a bleak-looking maze, shooting aliens and finding stuff.

Christ. Bit bleak here, innit?

I'll be honest, I found Alien 3 to be an uninspiring effort in my short time with it. There's not really any skill involved... because a large part of the game takes place in tunnels or ducts, the aliens are just there to be shot. Once again, a game that's been touted as an all-time classic has disappointed me. Just as well there's always another game around the corner...

Super Star Wars - Return of the Jedi (Super Nintendo)

by PaulEMoz in , , , ,

I've been involved recently in, if not exactly a war, an entertaining discussion around the relative merits of the Sega Megadrive and the Super Nintendo. Or, to put it bluntly, which is the best. It's the kind of argument that has enlivened many a playground break over the years, and it's nice to know that we, as grown adults, can still stoop to that level.

I was a Sega Megadrive kind of chap, mostly because we owned one from early on, and I only got a SNES late on. As I've mentioned before, that came about because my brother swapped my copy of Landstalker for it. That alone meant I felt some resentment towards the machine. Hardly owning any games for it didn't help matters.

Super Star Wars - Return of the Jedi has been recommended as one of the best games the system had to offer. And as it's one of the games I currently own (although probably not for long...), I figured I would give it an outing.

Yeah, I don't remember this bit from the film, either...

It didn't start well. The first level is in the F-Zero vein, only shit. You race into a brown landscape, jumping over holes and avoiding boulders. That's it, and it's terribly dull, almost enough to completely put you off.

Still, the second level reverts to a more traditional platformer, which is better. I wouldn't say it was terribly exciting, though. Lots of jumping and somersaulting, the odd bit of shooting or light-sabering, some being dumped back at an earlier point in the level or falling down holes you didn't know were there... run-of-the-mill, standard stuff, dressed up in a few bits of Star Wars clothing. You get a choice of three characters this time, although there's not that much of a difference between them, and you're going to go for Luke anyway.

And... that was it. I played for ninety minutes and couldn't get past that level. Too much finicky jumping, and getting knocked off a platform and falling miiiiiles down. Pity, I would have liked to have seen if things picked up or what else the game has to offer. Maybe another day, before the SNES is gone for good.

Super SWIV (Super Nintendo)

by PaulEMoz in , , , , , ,

Silkworm is a game I loved on the Amiga. It's a horizontally-scrolling shoot 'em up, where you can choose to play as either a helicopter or a jeep, blasting opposing military forces to Kingdom Come. It's really hard to play as the jeep in a single player game, but the real beauty of this is the co-operative two player mode. The helicopter relieves a lot of the pressure on the jeep, making the jeep much more effective.

It started out as an arcade game and was converted to the home formats, where it was so successful that a pseudo-sequel, SWIV, was released. And, as interested as I was, I never got to play that. And that obviously did OK, because another sequel was produced for the SNES, entitled Super SWIV, and that's what I've just played.

Helicopters, as a rule, should stay away from giant lasers. They're harmful.

Given my enjoyment of the original game, and that I was quite looking forward to playing this, I came away a touch disappointed. For one thing, switching the game to a vertically-scrolling shooter has taken away a fair bit of the charm and polish. It actually looks like an older game than the original, which is a bit odd.

As before, the jeep is more difficult to play with than the helicopter. But not in a good, challenging way - more in a weird, difficult-to-control way. That said, given enough practice, I would say it could be perfectly workable... if you hold the button down, the firing locks in the direction you were travelling at the time. I just don't happen to like it.

And so I've been playing Super SWIV as a simple, straightforward shmup, using the helicopter, relegating it to the ordinary. There's nothing wrong with that, particularly... it's a serviceable enough shooty game. But it certainly didn't grab me like the original Amiga version of Silkworm did.