The ’80s called, they want their ‘Aliens’ and 8-bit classic gaming back. Ready or not, they’re making a comeback, big time.
Aliens: Colonial Marines (360, PS3, Wii U, PC)
Looks like I’ll have to keep waiting for that ‘Zardoz’ movie sequel game. In the meantime, we’re going to get an actual sequel to ‘Aliens’ in the form of ‘Aliens: Colonial Marines’. SEGA has been trying bring ‘Aliens’ back for years, but has always fallen back to its arcade successes of the past, including a lackluster ‘Aliens vs. Predator’ in 2010. In 2009, SEGA cancelled an ‘Aliens’ RPG, a game which represented the company’s first real attempt to capitalize solely on the James Cameron film without any arcade or ‘Predator’ influence.
Noting the response and interest in a continuation of the ‘Aliens’ story, SEGA then completely placed its focus on a project with Gearbox (known lately for ‘Borderlands’, but originally for several successful ‘Half-Life’ expansions). Gearbox president Randy Pitchford has stoked interest for this game by occasionally dropping large hints about the concept and plot. Some tidbits, however, have been troubling.
We know that the game is being developed using a modified version of Unreal 3, and we know that Gearbox is no stranger to making the most out of this incredible engine. The game’s basic outline involves a Marine search and rescue for the U.S.S. Sulaco just after the events of ‘Aliens’. Having Syd Mead on hand to develop concept art should go a long way towards ensuring that ‘Colonial Marines’ will be visually true to the movie.
Pitchford has also talked about a long meeting between Gearbox’s Brian Martel and Ridley Scott, which covered a lot of Scott’s original ‘Alien’ storyboards. So it would seem that, on some level, there’s been some creative overlap between the ‘Prometheus’ movie concept and ‘Aliens: Colonial Marines’. Pitchford has also said that the fates of certain ‘Aliens’ characters at the beginning of ‘Alien 3’ are considered canon, but Gearbox and SEGA have recently revealed various character skins for use in multiplayer modes. I’m sure that many people, like myself, are looking forward to ‘Aliens: Colonial Marines’ somewhat guardedly. The fate of this game may just decide for me if there’s anything good left in the ‘Alien’ franchise.
Retro City Rampage (XBLA, PSN, WiiWare, PS Vita, PC)
Ah, the ol’ timey 8-bit graphics style, an acquired taste, beloved by the good people of Earth and feared by everyone else. While many recent games like ‘Fez’ and ‘Cave Story’ sport some merger of 8-bit graphics and pixel art, ‘Retro City Rampage’ promises to merge gameplay systems from the ’80s, ’90s and the modern era.
The core would seem to be a take on the first two ‘Grand Theft Auto’ games, with a bird’s eye view of car appropriation, while the shooting combat follows the old 360-degree ‘Robotron’ arcade style. However, these aspects are just the beginning, as it’s quickly apparent that the game will feature ‘Smash TV’ style combat rooms, ‘Bionic Commando’ style platforming action, and even some 2.5D helicopter hijinks. The incorporation of modern shooter mechanics like a cover system is just a bonus for me. I pre-purchased the PC version some time ago, and really can’t wait until ‘Retro City Rampage’ can get free of certification and into our hands.