Rather than following the plot of the third alien movie, the game instead takes place in a different continuity; assuming the roles of two unnamed Space Marines, players are sent to the USS Sulaco to investigate an alien outbreak, only to discover the ship's crew has been massacred and the entire ship is infested with all sorts of aliens. Crashing the Sulaco on the penal colony of Fiorina-161, players will need to survive against hordes and hordes of alien enemies as well as malfunctioning security robots on Fiorina programmed to eliminate everything on sight in multiple action-packed levels. Unbeknownst to the players, however, their mission is compromised by their higher-ups in Weyland-Yutani.
The game is well-received by video-game critics and was actually the most-successful upright arcade unit in 1993, according to Japan's Game Machine magazine.
Compare Aliens, based on the second movie.
This game provides examples of:
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The second level onwards presents robotic soldiers, who's programmed to eliminate everything in sight... including humans like you.
- Alternate Continuity: This game doesn't even feature Ripley with the protagonist role instead going to a pair of marines. Interestingly, the first level doesn't even take place on Fury, instead taking place on board the Sulaco. It seems likely that Ripley, Newt, and Hicks died aboard the Sulaco and the Xenomorphs made their way down to Fury instead.
- Badass Longcoat: The Weyland-Yutani enforcer in the final level wears a long brown coat.
- Bait-and-Switch Boss: The last level begins with you facing off against the penultimate boss again very briefly before you take on the nameless Weyland-Yutani enforcer that demands the samples and then faces you down as the final boss.
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: The grammar of the game script appears to be quite...imperfect.
- Bolivian Army Ending: A Weyland-Yutani enforcer (who is given the incredibly helpful name of "An Unidentified Man") is the final boss, sent to kill the space marines (I.E you) after they destroyed all of their "samples". After his death, a group of Weyland-Yutani soldiers greet the players. With a final "Let's go!", the soldiers charge forward as the screen fades to white. The text epilogue states that the marines' names were stricken from the USCM's records, and that no one knows if they are alive or dead.
- Boss-Only Level: The final level only features finishing off the Dragon by activating jets of molten lead on it and the battle with the Weyland-Yutani enforcer.
- Determinator: Hoo boy. Blow off an Xenomorph's arms or legs? It doesn't matter, the bastards will still try to kill you. A general rule of thumb is that if you shoot one down, it's not dead until its corpse turns grey.
- The Dragon manages to survive being dunked in a pool of molten lead, and slowly crawls towards you after emerging from it. Only when it is sprayed with water does it finally meet its end.
- Cool Guns: The iconic M41A Pulse Rifle is lovingly recreated as the cabinet's light gun.
- Gameplay Grading: As you continues to amass points, you'll get a rank at the end of every level, starting at "Private" at the end of the first level and culminating in a rank of "General" at the end of the second-to last level if you play especially well.
- Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: An Inverted example: After spending the whole game fighting xenomorphs, facehuggers, hostile robots and the like and defeating the insanely tough Dragon alien, you then brace yourself for a Final Boss battle... against a human agent sent by Weyland-Yutani. Presumably, it's supposed to be the Bishop who appears at the end of the film.
- Grenade Launcher: The Pulse Rifle, like its movie counterpart, can launch grenades with a button on the foregrip. Said grenades are limited in number, but will wipe out everything on the screen.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: When it (finally) dies, the Dragon's upper half disintegrates, leaving its legs to collapse onto the floor.
- He Knows Too Much: This is the implied reason why the Weyland-Yutani enforcer tries to kill you the moment you defeat the Dragon.
- Jump Scare: The game is quite fond of having Xenomorphs pop up right in front of your vision.
- Should you opt not to continue after running out of health, you'll be treated to a lovely scene of a monochrome Xenomorph violently lunging at you, complete with a scream. It then cuts to static, implying that the Xenomorph has killed you.
- King Mook: Some of the bosses, for instance the first one being called a "Super Facehugger" that is larger and stronger than the average facehugger. The "Super Alien" and "Super Dogburster" also applies.
- Life Meter: It's on the bottom left, and it's a green bar, separated into 10 sections, decreasing from right to left, as you take damage.
- Made of Iron: While it's expected for the bosses to have higher-than average life bars and plenty of health, the game's Final Boss is a human agent sent by Weyland-Yutani who can inexplicably soak up hundreds of rounds and multiple grenade hits, while firing projectiles at you. See WMG for a plausible analysis.
- Mecha-Mooks: Robotic mooks are a reoccurring enemy type from stage 2 onwards. After crashing on Fiorina, you run into a prison colony whose secruity robots are activated to destroy everything in sight... including you.
- Mêlée à Trois: Upon crashing on Fiorina, you discover the prison planet's security system have activated, releasing hordes and hordes of robotic soldiers programmed to destroy everything, humans and aliens alike, and you are the third party in a robot-vs-alien war.
- No Name Given: The Weyland-Yutani Enforcer's name is... "An Unidentified Man".
- Oh, Crap!: The final stage begins with one of the player Marines uttering the s-word upon seeing the defeated Alien from the previous stage coming back out of the furnace.
- One-Man Army: The players rack up a massive kill-tally of xenomorphs, facehuggers, and robots at the end of each level.
- Open the Door and See All the People: The game loves to do this in the later levels. You're going through an alien-infested penal colony, down a suspiciously-empty corridor ending with a closed door. You punch a console on the door, causing it to open, and are promptly greeted by six xenos, multiple facehuggers and chestbursters on the other side.
- Overheating: The game's Pulse Rifles have Bottomless Magazines, but will be temporarily disabled if they overheat.
- Ring-Out Boss: The penultimate boss fight against the Xenomorph has a false health bar that you can't deplete. The only way to defeat it is to unload a steady stream of bullets right into it until it is pushed into a furnace pit - and it is immune to bombs as well.
- Smart Bomb: You start with three Bombs, which are used to clear the screen of enemies or deal major damage to bosses. More of them can be picked up by shooting power-ups. The button for triggering the bomb is located where the grenade launcher is.
- Unique Enemy: During the prison rampage you come across a cluster of three turrets, looking like those turrets from Aliens, which you can easily destroy. You don't see this type of obstacle anywhere else in the game.
- Un-person: The players are implied to have had this happen to them in the ending.
- Video Game Flamethrowers Suck: Averted; the flamethrower weapon you obtain early in the game comes in extremely handy in leaving behind piles and piles of crispy aliens and facehuggers.
- Vulnerable Civilians: The prisoners of the penal colony during the prison evacuation level can be killed if they get in your way as you're shooting enemy aliens. While you get rewarded for assisting the prisoners' escape (by boosting your health), you can also gun down unarmed prisoners for shits and giggles, and suffer NO penalty for it (well, apart from being denied a health boost).
- Wake-Up Call Boss: The "Super Dogburster" is faster than the previous alien bosses, and can sic globs and globs of acidic projectiles at you. It's also shown to be smarter and capable of thinking strategies when attacking you unlike the other xenos, such as launching acidic blobs while taking cover behind barricades and trying to sneak up on you from the corner of the screen.
- Zerg Rush: Much like the series' second movie, Aliens, the Xenos in this game frequently employ this tactic as well.