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Video Game / Alien: Blackout

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Alien: Blackout is a Survival Horror game in the Alien universe, developed by D3PA and released on January 24th, 2019 for mobile devices. It is a sequel to Alien: Isolation, as the player once again takes on the role of Amanda Ripley, the daughter of Ellen Ripley from the films. However, the gameplay is different, partly due to the mobile system demands, and being much more inspired by the Five Nights at Freddy's series.

As the game starts, four Weyland-Yutani employees onboard a cargo ship called the Haldin dock at USCSS Mendel Station for a scheduled resupply, only to discover the crew all dead by the time they arrive. Surprisingly, a Sole Survivor is onboard who has knowledge of what happened — Amanda Ripley, the lone survivor of the destruction of Sevastopol Station. Amanda was rescued and brought back to Mendel, but sought refuge inside the ducts after the remainder of the ship's crew fell against a xenomorph organism. While she has managed to jury-rig enough power from the station to control the doors and the cameras for eight minutes, she still requires the help of the employees to help make it off the ship, and elects to help them scavenge the supplies needed to take off again, and hopefully figure out how to get rid of the Xenomorph...

Alien: Blackout includes examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Survivor: As before, both Amanda and the W-Y employees become this by the end of the game, depending on who survived.
  • Air-Vent Passageway:
    • This being an Alien game, the titular xenomorph can use them liberally to attack the survivors. Moreover, Amanda only survived the xenomorph's attack on Mendel by hiding in one of these until the game begins.
    • A core part of the gameplay is that Amanda is typically situated in a junction of the station's ductwork that she can comfortably sit in, which allows her to control one of three access points in front of her. The Xenomorph can attack at any point, which forces the player to switch back to her perspective and close the requisite access point before the Xenomorph enters and kills her.
  • Alone with the Psycho: Much like the franchise it draws inspiration from, the game starts with Amanda having holed herself up in a junction onboard the Mendel, unable to move due to the Xenomorph skulking around the facility. The core conceit of the game is that Amanda is unable to leave her location until the crew members have completed their task.
  • Anyone Can Die: This being an Alien game, this trope is in full effect — you can lose up to three members of the Haldin can die and the game will still continue. Amanda is the only mandatory character who must survive to the end, as the game will instantly end if the Xenomorph makes it into the room she's holed up in.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Depending on how the game is played, it's possible for only Amanda and one other survivor to escape Mendel at the end of the game, with both characters lamenting the loss of both the other passengers and the rest of the crew of the station. This is more-or-less averted in the Golden Ending, where the characters praise Ripley's leadership, and Amanda herself elects to head back to Earth.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Several characters, including Saito and Thorncroft, will make quips or jokes while completing their tasks, even if they're in imminent danger of being caught by the Xenomorph.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Amanda has a brief discussion with the crew of the Haldin about what happened with Sevastopol, and tells them the cover story they were led to believe wasn't actually correct.
    • When discussing the AI core in Level 5, Amanda comments that she has experience dealing with them (referring to how she accessed APOLLO in Isolation, and the sacrifice it took to get there). She then says that she has no interest in trying to be diplomatic with the system, and elects to simply "pull out key components" until the core gives them what they want.
    • Amanda's final report is evocative of her mother's final log from the Narcissus lifeboat in Alien, down to specific recalled lines. "We should reach (the colony) in three days... this is Amanda Ripley, signing off."
  • Conveniently Unverifiable Cover Story: According to the crew of the Haldin, they have been told that Sevastopol Station was destroyed by an "unexpected explosion" during its decommission. Ripley doesn't tell them the whole story (least of which being that the ship ended up losing stability as a result of trying to contact the Torrens) about what happened, but indicates that the story they were told was incorrect.
  • Darkness Equals Death: The core conceit of the game — there's only enough power per level to activate the doors and sensors for eight minutes. Once that threshold passes, the floor goes dark and the characters are as good as dead, as they will have no way to effectively impede the xenomorph.
  • Excuse Plot: How a xenomorph got on the Mendel is never explained, and though it's hinted that W-Y's research laboratory may have had something to do with the matter, no rationale is given for its presence, unlike Isolation 's explanation of the same matter (that being the Anesidora's discovery of the Derelict and Foster being facehugged before giving birth to a chestburster onboard Sevastopol).
  • Flatline: Each of the four characters' names are present at the left side of the screen, along with their systolic meter. It pulses if they are still alive, but becomes a flatline if they get killed.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend:
    • If one of the crewmembers is killed by the Xenomorph, the rest will not bother commenting on the event, whether immediately, or later on.
    • Everyone is so absolutely focused on surviving against an implacable alien menace there is no time to even process, let alone mourn their losses — Ripley herself was shown having little time to cope with the loss of Axel, Samuel, Taylor, Ricardo, and the crew of the Torrens during the Sevastopol disaster and didn't do much beyond a somber comment or briefly holding back tears.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: The group of Weyland-Yutani employees consists of two men and two women.
  • Golden Ending: Escaping with all four survivors alive leads to an alternate final report from Ripley where she acknowledges all four survivors, and Yutani acknowledges Ripley's exemplary leadership during the incident.
  • Harder Than Hard: "Survivor Mode", unlocked after completing the main story, allows you to play through the campaign again — but cuts the amount of available energy cells you have (that is, the ones that can close doors or activate sensors) from eight to three, while making the game have permadeath by making it impossible to save or restart levels.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Played with — it's suggested that W-Y (as is characteristic for the corporation) bred a Xenomorph onboard the Mendel in the station's onboard labs, which subsequently broke free and massacred all the crew. When questioned about this, Yutani says she has no knowledge of such an experiment, and says that she's above-board and committed to making a difference, suggesting that some of the lower-level management isn't aware of what the higher-ups are doing.
  • I Know You're Watching Me: In the opening of the sixth level, the Xenomorph will be shown peering right into the lens of one of the cameras before moving on, suggesting it's fully aware of what Amanda/the station is doing by tracking it.
  • Invincible Boogeymen: The eponymous Xenomorph. Unlike Isolation, there are simply no weapons onboard the Mendel capable of scaring it off, and the plot requires anyone near it to either hide or run away in a panic.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The game is expressly set after the events of Alien: Isolation, with Amanda explaining that she was rescued from "a bad situation" by crew members of Mendel Station, who brought her onboard.
  • Late to the Tragedy:
    • The W-Y employees arrive at Mendel Station after the entirety of its occupants (save for Amanda) were killed by a xenomorph.
    • At the end of the tutorial level, Amanda tells the survivors that she was rescued by the staff at Mendel Station, but that she only woke up after most of the crew was dead, and had to seek refuge in the vents to escape the xenomorph threat.
  • Lights Off, Somebody Dies: Once the titular "blackout" occurs, it's just a question of when, not if, the rest of the party (including Amanda) will die.
  • Manual Leader, A.I. Party: Amanda is the leader you control directly, while the W-Y employees are only controlled through drawing routes on the map for them, or giving them commands.
  • One-Steve Limit: Discussed in-universe — Ripley asks "Yutani" if she's the "Ms. Yutani" of the Weyland-Yutani Corporation. Yutani tells her that she's the latter's second cousin, but notes how the surname is a very powerful one that requires a lot of responsibility to live up to.
  • The Reveal: Disabling the station's AI core causes several xenomorphs to pop up on the motion tracker, suggesting the creatures had built a hive under the engineering deck, similar to what happened onboard Sevastopol Station in Isolation. Luckily, they are confined to a single area, though Amanda urges the survivors to escape as soon as possible.
  • Same Story, Different Names: For all intents and purposes, the plot is a direct retread of Isolation (right down to using assets from the latter). A character / group of characters show up to a space station Late to the Tragedy, and have to contend with a monstrous creature that is Nigh-Invulnerable, and have to complete several tasks across multiple levels of the station in order to escape. Moreover, this game lifts several plot points from the latter, including the need to access the station's AI core (which then reveals that W-Y's Special Order makes it so that the corporation is protecting the creature), and the late-stage reveal of multiple xenomorphs on the station, which makes escape that much more imperative.
  • Sensor Suspense: It wouldn't be an Alien game if there wasn't a crude motion detector present. Moreover, you learn that a Xenomorph is near one of the characters when the dot representing them on the map goes pulsing red... by which point, they are usually doomed regardless of what you do.
  • Sole Survivor: When the W-Y employees board Mendel Station, Amanda informs them that she's the only survivor of the xenomorph's massacre of the staff.
  • Squad Controls: Amanda controls the W-Y employees by giving them orders like "Hide", "Sneak" or "Hurry Up".
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Blackout more-or-less confirms that the crew of the Torrens (from Isolation) were killed by the xenomorph, as Amanda is found three days after the fact by the staff from Mendel, without any word of what happened to the ship or the crew members like Verlaine.
  • Supporting Protagonist: While Amanda Ripley does appear in this game, her main role is to act as Mission Control for the other characters, who do most of the legwork securing components to fix up the Haldin and get it ready to fly again. Outside of the opening cinematic and a brief shot during the finale of the last level (running to the elevator to get to the Haldin as the Xenomorph chases her), you don't see her in normal gameplay.
  • Tactical Door Use: Similar to that of Isolation, the player can seal off doors to prevent the Xenomorph from reaching the crew of the Haldin, though there is no foolproof method for permanently impeding it, as the station has plenty of alternate corridors (and vents) the creature can use to skirt around.
  • Timed Mission: Failing to complete a level in eight minutes leads to a titular blackout, when you can no longer do anything with the ship's systems, and you are all essentially doomed from that point.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: You can complete the game with only one out of four Weyland-Yutani employees surviving, so extending an effort to ensure all of them make it is definitely this.
    Yutani:note  (After escaping with all four employees alive and well) Engineer Ripley should be commended for her actions.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: The death of Amanda Ripley immediately ends the game, while you can shrug off the deaths of up to three Weyland-Yutani employees.