With the release of the Alien 3 film several games were released to tie into the film. With the Super Nintendo and Genesis as the leading platforms the game was built and ported to other systems, including the Commodore 64 and Game Gear. The games are set on the world of the film, Fury 161, but the gameplay actually has more in common with the film Aliens, throwing wave after wave of enemies at the player. Whereas in Alien 3 there was only one xenomorph.
The video game versions (except the Nintendo Entertainment System) were praised at the time of its release for not sticking with the lack of guns and multiple aliens in the film, which was the film's most criticized aspects.
In the SNES version, Ripley begins the game in a corridor where she can operate a computer terminal which gives her access to various missions. Missions have Ripley completing objectives such as destroying groups of eggs, fixing pipes or junction boxes, isolating rooms, killing Alien Queens or rescuing trapped inmates. Completing these missions leads to the game's ending, which is closer to the movie than the other versions. Like most versions of the game, the SNES version was liberal with the material, generating waves of enemies to combat.
Unlike the other versions of the game, health, ammo and enemies respawn during the levels.
There are 6 levels in total, each having a range of missions in them. Since completing a level takes around half an hour to an hour, the levels can be accessed via a password system.
The soundtrack is inspired on that of the film's, unlike the Genesis's more action game music. Complex orchestrations delivered by the SNES's sound chip accompany the game to give it a movie-like feeling.
The graphics are also superior, having rich detail in the backgrounds and effects like smoke and rain occurring in parts of Fury 161. Ripley and her enemies have smooth animations and there are lighting effects on the scenery and/or the objects when using a flame thrower in egg rooms or closing a door.
The SNES version was released after the movie, therefore it doesn't contain any deleted scenes or scenery present at the time of the other versions' developments.
The Genesis version was a slightly different case. Instead of missions in a large, persistent area, the game uses stages (or levels) like many other platformers of the time. The majority of these see the player fighting their way through hordes of Aliens in order to rescue prisoners before the timer runs out. When the timer does run out, the player is show a scene of each of the remaining prisoners giving birth to a chestburster Alien. In addition to these rescue missions, there are other mission instances. Every few missions the player must fight a boss alien (and in the games finale, two at once) and occasionally, the player will have to rescue lots of prisoners, without interference from Aliens. As well as the opposite, having to shoot lots of Aliens and reach the exit without needing to rescue prisoners.
The game consists of roughly 20 missions, each increasing in difficulty and features several different locations from the movie (such as the prison grounds, the lead works, the slaughter house, the Alien nest, etc) and features a number of weapons commonly seen in the franchise (but ironically, none of which were seen in the actual film) the pulse rifle, flamethrower, grenade launcher and hand grenades.
In addition to this, the player is given health and battery pickups. The battery pickups allow the motion tracker in the top right hand corner of the screen to work for a short time, but once the battery has run out it reverts to being blank again until the player picks up another battery. Enemies include the ubiquitous Alien, as well as much later in the game Eggs and Facehuggers, in addition to the larger boss Aliens.
Since the movie was subject to various creative inputs due to a lack of consent over the final script, many things were scrapped but some remained in the video game, such as the abattoir level (which is present in the recent Alien 3 Assembly Cut) and the fact that Ripley survives in the end.
Master System, Game Gear, Amiga and Commodore 64 Versions
The Master System and Game Gear versions are very similar to the Genesis version, the first few levels are exactly the same but with a major graphical downgrade. The player has access to largely the same arsenal of movements and weapons, as well as having a countdown clock and prisoners to rescue. Beyond the first few levels, they begin to differ slightly, but not much from the Genesis version of the game.
The Commodore 64 version follows the same principle and scenery of the Genesis game, but with altered level design.
The Amiga version looked and played similar to the Genesis version in terms of graphics but the player had to choose either to play the music or sound effects but not both.
The NES version was developed by LJN LTD, and featured a drastically different visual style as well as gameplay mechanics. The graphics are indistinct, the Alien creatures appear to be vague shapes of solid color and the game world itself features a lot less detail than that of the Master System, or other versions. The game features a large HUD which occupies the bottom portion of the screen and displays information such as remaining ammunition. The game's sound effects were also a much lower quality than that of other versions. The game featured a variety of different mission locations taken from the film, and like the other versions the main objective throughout the game is to rescue prisoners on each level before proceeding to the exit.
Though seen as a mediocre game at the time of its release, the game has been heavily criticized as time went by.