Alien 8


Alien 8

Infobox VG
title = Alien 8


developer = Tim and Chris Stamper
publisher = Ultimate Play The Game
designer =
engine = Filmation
released = 1985 (Spectrum)
Nov/Dec 1985 (MSX) ["Knight Lore, Alien 8 and Nightshade" MSX pre-release promotional brochure, published by Ultimate Play The Game in October 1985. Available to view at World of Spectrum: [ftp://ftp.worldofspectrum.org/pub/sinclair/company-pics/UltimatePlayTheGame/Brochures/KnightLore+Alien8+Nightshade_Brochure(MSX)/] ]
genre = Arcade adventure; Maze
modes = Single player
ratings = N/A
platforms = ZX Spectrum
BBC Micro
Amstrad CPC
MSX
media = Cassette (Spectrum, BBC, Amstrad, MSX)
Cartridge (MSX)
requirements = 48K RAM (Spectrum)
32K (BBC)
64K (Amstrad CPC)
input = Keyboard, joystick (Spectrum, Amstrad, MSX)
Keyboard (BBC)

"Alien 8" is a ZX Spectrum video game. It was written by Tim Stamper and Chris Stamper of Ultimate Play The Game, and was released by the company in 1985. The game was also ported to the BBC Micro, Amstrad CPC and MSX platforms. It is the follow-up to Ultimate's "Knight Lore", which had been released in 1984. As with its predecessor, "Alien 8" is a platform game rendered in then-novel isometric projection. [cite web | url=http://www.crashonline.org.uk/51/runagain.htm | title=Looking For An Old Angle | publisher=Newsfield | work=Crash Magazine, Issue 51 | accessdate=2006-10-03] In the game, the player takes control of a robot, "Alien 8", whose job is to ensure that all of the cryogenically frozen passengers on a spaceship remain viable during the ship's voyage.

Introduction

Typically for an Ultimate release, players are given a tantalising and cryptic introduction :

:"THE PLANET

:Long long ago...in a distant galaxy, on a distant dying planet, the last of the guardians prepare their starship for its final journey. All of the libraries, records and knowledge have been stored aboard the vessel, along with the very best of their cryogenically preserved race.

:The planet's final end draws near as the last, most vital piece of equipment is loaded aboard, activated, and the hatchways closed. The ULTIMATE evolution ALIEN 8 cybot whirrs into an artificial cybernetic rush of intelligence.

:All hatchways are sealed, as the starship prepares for its long uninterrupted journey into the inky void of space.

:THE JOURNEY

:Aeons pass and still the ALIEN 8 unit is functioning perfectly, gliding swiftly and silently around on multi-sealed-thermotion bearings in waxolight shrouds. The very pinnacle of robotic development from a now long dead planet, on its immense task of keeping the cryogenically immersed cryonaughts activated by preserving and maintaining their life support systems and waiting...

:The long journey is near completion as the central computer alerts you to the nearing of the pre-destined solar system. The dust of aeons lies heavy on the ageing data banks of the central computing core, tired from centuries of repetitive computing and re-computing, at last the final sequential landing operations.

:The craft begins its final slowing sequence several hundred light years from the destined planet and as, almost immediately the starship slows to sub-hyper warp speeds, is open to attack.

:All the starship main defence systems have remained unactivated, as the reverse polarity negative-ion thrusters battle and strain to halt the enormous bulk of the ship.

:The main computer reports Alien penetration in almost all areas of the ship and all life support systems have become damaged and deactivated. All cryogenic systems must be reactivated before auto-phase thrusting systems manoeuvre the ship into its semi-cycle planetary orbit, at 0 light years from the planet.

:Your programming insists that you complete the mission and restore all cryogenic life support systems to operation."

Gameplay

Taking on the role of the "cybot" "Alien 8", the player must traverse a large starship in order to ensure that the cryogenic life support system that preserves the biological crew is kept activated. The core of this system is a series of geometrically-shaped circuits. These have been removed by invading aliens, and distributed around the starship. By collecting these circuits and returning them to their proper locations before the starship reaches its destination, Alien 8 will successfully satisfy its programming. Failure results in violent reprogramming.

In "Knight Lore", the player must return the objects to a single central location. In "Alien 8", there are many cryogenic suspension rooms, and only a few types of circuit (e.g. cube, pyramid, dome), which means that the gameplay is less linear.

As with "Knight Lore", the environment of "Alien 8" takes the form of a series of isometric flip-screen rooms (which trace the outline of a large starship). These are filled with platforms (including some that move), moveable objects, static hazards and dangerous aliens. The latter take the form of strange, sparkling lifeforms (similar to "Knight Lore"), mouse-Dalek hybrids and mindless, but fast-moving, clockwork mice. As well as executing well-timed manoeuvres and jumps, inventive players can use starship props to block or defend themselves. Another feature is the use of remote controlled drones, which can be directed by the Alien 8 into inaccessible or dangerous areas.

References

External links

* [http://www.ultimate-wurlde.com/games/alien8intro.shtml "Alien 8"] at Ultimate Wurlde
*WoS_game|id=0009302
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* [http://www.crashonline.org.uk/15/alien8.htm "Alien 8" review] at "CRASH" magazine
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