These 5 Aliens Games Defined the Franchise

We’re big fans of the Aliens franchise here at Boss Rush Network. For this week’s list, our staff put together a collection of the games that had the biggest impact on the franchise’s gaming destiny. Not all the games on this list are good games or ones that all players will enjoy, though most are; but each game on this list has shaped the direction of video games development within the franchise.

5) Aliens: Infestation: While many fans may never have played this entry into the series, this release from WayForward and Gearbox for the Nintendo DS remains the gold standard for side-scrolling action and exploration. The franchise has a long history of games within this genre dating back to the nearly half-dozen different versions of Alien 3 on the NES, SNES, SEGA, and Game Boy consoles. Aliens: Infestation takes everything gamers love about the Metroidvania genre and adds Colonial Marines, lethal Xenomorphs, and permadeath.

Image: WayForward

4) Aliens: Colonial Marines: Yes, that game, the most-infamous within fan circles. The game released with massive disappointment among fans due to the terrible AI programming for the Xenomorphs, the incoherent storylines, and the vast differences between the initial trailer and the finished product. Nevertheless, the game has had a lasting impact on the franchise in a number of ways. Despite its flaws, the game had memorable Xenomorph designs that have lived on past the game’s shelf-life. Perhaps the best example is the Crusher Xenomorph, an evolution of the Runner alien that developed a Praetorian crest; the design returned in future games such as Aliens: Fireteam Elite and Aliens: Dark Descent. Beyond its creature designs, the game served as a cautionary tale for nearly a decade within the developer community.

Image: Gearbox Software

3) Aliens: Fireteam Elite: While this release from AA indie developer Cold Iron Studios had A LOT of bugs at launch, the game developed a cult following and proved that a good shooter was still possible after the disaster of Aliens: Colonial Marines. The squad-based online cooperative play (when users could successfully find squad mates) was incredibly fun. Cold Iron Studios poured love and passion into the game and created an experience that felt authentic and true to the lore. While the game isn’t loved by everyone, those that enjoy it are extremely passionate and anxiously await more content for the game.

Image: Cold Iron Studios

2) Aliens vs. Predator (2010): While it’s not the only game of its namesake, the 2010 release from SEGA remains one of the most celebrated. The game featured fantastic storytelling, with a dedicated campaign for each of the three species, with the stories overlapping and intersecting. But most-beloved was the multiplayer experience that let players fight as any of the three species. The game sold 1.69 million copies in its first month and remains a fan-favorite to this day.

Image: SEGA

1) Alien: Isolation: While it’s not technically an Aliens game since its titular name is an homage to the first film and the franchise’s horror roots, no list discussing Aliens video games would be complete without it. The 2014 masterpiece is widely regarded within the industry as one of the greatest survival-horror games of all time, with an AI-driven enemy that has withstood the test of time. Alien: Isolation proudly and triumphantly returned the Xenomorph to form, reminding everyone that the Perfect Organism isn’t some bug that should be easily dispatched. The game’s influence within the Aliens games development sphere is far and wide and can be clearly seen in more recent games like Aliens: Dark Descent.

Image: Creative Assembly

Honorable Mention: While it’s too soon to know the impact of Aliens: Dark Descent, the game has been extremely well received by fans for its intense simulation of Colonial Marine combat life and the dramatic tension of the celebrated 1986 film. With a developer team stacked with lifelong fans, the game exudes authenticity and atmosphere. While more time is needed to avoid the recency bias, we believe Aliens: Dark Descent will take its place among the most-impactful games in the franchise.

Tell us what you think! Do you agree with our list of the five games most responsible for defining the Aliens video game experience? Share your reactions in the comments below or join the conversation on Boss Rush Network’s Discord and Facebook.

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