Now, with the release of Alien: Isolation, a first-person, survival/horror stealth game (developed by The Creative Assembly, published by Sega, and available for Xbox 360, Xbox One, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, and Microsoft Windows) that puts fans in heart-pounding, blood-chilling scenarios just as horror-inducing as the Ridley Scott classic creature feature, you and I have the chance to feel the same terror as Ripley and her crew felt when the Nostromo picked up the worst hitchhiker in the universe!
Alien fans, eat your heart out . . . or something else will!
This video game is one giant, amazing, and beautiful homage to the original Alien film. The creative team behind the game made it clear from the start that this would not be another action-oriented, Cameron-esque, first-person shooter, where you would mow down hordes of Xenomorphs while screaming, “Game over, man!” Instead, the intent was to recapture the terror of Alien, where the crew is hopelessly outmatched and must rely on their wits, hiding, and fleeing skills to stay among the living. The story takes place during the year 2137 on board the desolate space station Sevastopol, and while 15 years have passed since the events of Alien, the technology and setting are all extremely reminiscent of the interiors and atmosphere of the doomed Nostromo. The very setting itself has been rendered with such care and detail that I imagine it’d even impress Alien concept artist Ron Cobb, and much of that is thanks to the three terabytes of behind-the-scenes photos, videos, and other assets of the movie provided to the game developers by 20th Century Fox! And, with the final product as the perfect piece of evidence to prove it, 20th Century Fox’s faith in Creative Assembly has payed off with a fully realized, immersive Alien experience!
Musical scoring is a huge element of the perfect horror setting and scare. The right soundtrack can creep under your skin and fill your heart with dread in just a few notes, and that’s the kind of musical score Alien: Isolation is packing! Creative Assembly had access to the original, haunting Alien film score composed by Jerry Goldsmith and rerecorded several chunks with a live orchestra. The score is designed to emulate the feel of Ridley Scott’s masterpiece, but also reacts to what the player sees, increasing the cinematic feel (and the breathless tension) of evading the vicious beast.
Need more to gush over, fellow Alien fanatics? Well, Alien: Isolation has got you covered there too, my friend. Creative Assembly offered two pre-order exclusive bonus content promotions (“Crew Expendable” and “Last Survivor”) that feature some of the crew of the Nostromo as playable characters and include newly recorded dialogue from much of the original cast, including Sigourney Weaver, Ian Holm, Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, and Yaphet Kotto. As if Alien: Isolation didn’t already remind players enough of the first time they pissed themselves in fear watching that iconic film.
They always we’re a little twitchy.
While no Ash-like Hyperdine System's 120-A2 model synthetics show up in Alien: Isolation, the Sevastopol is manned by a number of androids manufactured by Seegson Corporation and referred to as “Working Joes.” Resembling the “Crash Test Dummies” of the '90s TV PSAs, the “Working Joes” are more than a little twitchy and have no problem permanently immobilizing humans in order to “assist” them when they are becoming “hysterical.”
Never did trust those things . . .
In space, no one can hear you scream.
No one . . . except maybe your next door neighbors. And, trust me, they wouldn’t blame you because this is one @#$%ing scary video game! As for inside the game, Amanda Ripley (daughter of Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley and the character you play as in Alien: Isolation) really does experience the isolation mentioned in the title. Creative Assembly has cleverly echoed the slow, yet dramatic, build of tension present in the film, allowing you, as a player, wander the eerie, nearly abandoned space station feeling like a solitary survivor. Air ducts echo unsettling noises from afar, lights flicker ominously, and every dark corridor fills you with dread at the potential death waiting in the darkness. On occasion, you do encounter other human beings, but if they’re not violent and hostile, you are only able to cling to their presence for a short amount of time before the nightmare creature appears and pulls them screaming into the darkness, leaving you alone once more.
This game-defining piece of equipment is both your ultimate blessing and ultimate curse. It does take a few levels before you acquire the motion tracker and while it is designed slightly different then the film versions we’ve seen, the iconic screen and sound effect are straight out of the 1979 film. Once you have this little, beeping bugger in hand, you’ll literally be checking it every five seconds as you play a consistent and terrifying game of cat-and-mouse with the Xenomorph. While it is helpful to be able to keep tabs on the big chap, if you haven’t already been well trained by Cameron and Scott’s films, Alien: Isolation will soon cause your blood to run cold every time you hear that familiar electronic beeping that occurs when movement is detected.
In addition, if you are big into video game tie-in comics, Dark Horse Comics released a free Alien: Isolation one shot comic at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. While the story is fairly simplistic and straight forward (as is usually the case with this type of trans-media promotional material), the comic does feature a spectacular coloring job by Carlos Badilla (who also rocked some colors on Fanboy Comics‘ graphic novel, The Arcs). With a little lucky, you should be able to locate a copy on the internet for a fairly reasonable price.
This is Bryant Dillon, President of Fanboy Comics, signing off.