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Aliens: Colonial Marines is a First-Person Shooter developed by Gearbox Software, set in the Alien universe. Colonial Marines is presented as the "true sequel" to the Aliens film, and boasts authentic locales from the film universe. It features a story driven single-player mode as well as a four player co-op mode and multiplayer. A single-player Downloadable Content campaign, "Stasis Interrupted", was also released on July 23, 2013.

Seventeen weeks after the events of the second film, a platoon of Colonial Marines onboard the USS Sephora are dispatched to investigate what happened, and subsequently discover the USS Sulaco drifting in space. After the initial team is attacked by an unknown entity, Cpl. Christopher Winter is dispatched to find and rescue any survivors of the original team, and quickly learns that a xenomorph infestation has taken over the ship. Together with his teammates O'Neil and Bella, along with other personnel onboard the Sephora, they are forced to land on LV-426 and quickly get drawn into a deadly conflict between the xenomorphs and Weyland-Yutani, who are attempting to harvest the species for themselves...


The game was released across several platforms on February 12, 2013, and received significant criticism in regards to numerous bugs and issues. Due to the largely-negative response, the Wii U version was cancelled. A lawsuit was filed against Gearbox and publisher Sega for false advertising regarding the differences between the game's advertised features and actual content, with both companies placing the blame on each other. Sega agreed to settle for $1.25 million, while Gearbox refused to settle and successfully petitioned to be dropped from the suit in 2015.

Despite all of the criticism, however, Gearbox issued a series of patches to bring things up to scratch, and the first DLC pack received praise for its content. Though the response is still lukewarm, critics were more positive to the effort and noted that the patching is a step in the right direction.


The game has received several game mods built by fans, the most notable of which is TemplarGFX's ACM Overhaul. The mod, built by James Dickinson, is notable not only for improving aspects of the graphics and gameplay, but addressing an xenomorph AI error that was undiscovered for more than five years.

A prequel, Alien: Isolation, was released in October of 2014 developed by Creative Assembly. It was made with a similar engine to Colonial Marines, but plays considerably differently than its predecessor, emphasizing atmospheric Survival Horror over simply shooting Xenomorphs (and given critical response, it seems to have worked).

Tropes appearing in this work include:

  • Action Bomb: The "Boiler" type xenomorph. It has a weaker carapace and is covered in acid-filled pustules, designed as a living suicide bomb.
  • Action Girl:
    • Every female character seen in the game is a colonial marine, so this goes without saying. Bella is the most prominent example with Reid being a slightly lesser example as a pilot instead of a ground-pounder, along with the occasional background female marine.
    • Multiplayer marines can be toggled between genders as well.
    • Lisbeth in the Stasis Interrupted DLC.
  • Actually a Doombot: The Michael Weyland that's present at the end of the game is just an android meant to cover for the real guy.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • In Alien³, Michael Weyland (back then simply known as Michael) was just an engineer that the Company brought in to gain Ripley's trust because of his resemblance to Bishop. Here he's one of the leaders of Wey-Yu, referred to as "the face of the Company", and is the closest the game has to a Big Bad (even though he only appears in person very briefly). This is of course a bit of a Retcon due to the reveal in AVP: Alien vs. Predator that the Weylands founded Weyland-Yutani.
      • The Stasis Interrupted DLC shows that he is, in fact, no better than Weyland-Yutani as a whole, spending time during an interrogation to make it clear how little value he sees in human lives. His condescending attitude and callousness in regards to human life is what prompts Rick Levy, a W-Y scientist, to rebel against Weyland and help Hicks send a distress message to the Colonial Marines.
    • Weyland-Yutani themselves. In the three films they (or their representatives) are featured in, their role is largely relegated to a "behind-the-scenes" benefactor who resorts to duplicitous or shady actions to get what they want. In Colonial Marines, not only are they willing to massacre civilians (in the Stasis Interrupted DLC), their own military or the Marines themselves to get what they want, but they set up a full-scale operation with a queen producing eggs for their own use.
  • Admiring the Abomination: Michael Weyland, of course, is prone to this in the Stasis Interrupted DLC.
  • Air-Vent Passageway:
    • How the xenomorphs travel throughout Hadley's Hope, much like the films.
    • Winter uses one during his escape from the xenomorph hive in "The Raven".
  • All for Nothing: Winter and O'Neal went through swarms of xenomorphs and squads of enemy soldiers in order to get into a Weyland-Yutani compound to find someone to remove the chest burster from Bella. Unfortunately, a surgeon explains that even if the embryo is removed, the hosts will die from tumors developed by the embryo.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The Stasis Interrupted DLC has a different player character for each level, as they tend to get killed off at an astonishing rate.
  • Answers to the Name of God: Happens twice in the game. Both times seem to be a subtle nod to Prometheus, or at least the themes explored in that movie.
  • Anyone Can Die/Red Shirt: Although the E3 2011 demo appeared to indicate that many generic Marines would meet their end at the hands of the xenomorphs, the actual game does not have many major characters die. During the events of the game, a large portion of the Sephora crew are killed (off-screen) during the Weyland-Yutani attack on their ship via the Sulaco, and of the named cast members, only Keyes, Bella and Cruz die.
    • Played straight in Stasis Interrupted, where every single character other than Hicks and Dr. Levy end up dying, often messily, over the course of the game.
  • Arc Words: "No Marine Gets Left Behind." Much of the plot is driven by these old fashioned and honorable words.
  • Armor Is Useless: In Stasis Interrupted, facehuggers easily take out Wey-Yu commandos. You know, those guys from the finale of Alien 3 who wear thick masks specifically to protect themselves from facehugger attacks. But it's not really the commandos' fault; the facehuggers appear to have noclip enabled, as they clip right through into the commandos' masks.
  • Artificial Human: It seems the entire line of "Bishop" artificial humans is, well, called "Bishop" and attached to Marine ships. Michael Weyland is an advanced model, however.
  • Artificial Limbs: Cruz has an artificial leg that's hard to notice.
  • Artificial Brilliance:
    • Due to a patch released in March 2013, the AI has been much improved, catapulting the xenomorphs from moving targets on firing range to a truly horrifying threat that can and will kill you. As a result, the Recruit difficulty is now considerably harder than Ultimate Badass used to be.
    • In 2017, a modder named TemplarGFX discovered the cause of the Xenomorphs' artificial stupidity. What was this massive programming oversight, you ask? A flawed algorithm in the AI subroutines? A problem with the game's collision detection, maybe? Surely something deep inside the code, right? NOPE! Somebody misspelled the word "tether" in a config file. note 
  • Artificial Stupidity: Although improved with both the March 2013 patch and fixing the "teather" typo in the ini file, the xenomorphs and the AI controlled marines started off quite braindead. A valid tactic for getting through certain levels involves simply ignoring the xenomorphs and running past them. Friendly AI also tends to be more of a hindrance than a help. They're more likely to block you or wander into your line of fire than shoot xenomorphs.
  • Ascended Extra: Michael Weyland, the man who tried to convince Ripley not to sacrifice herself in the third film, plays a key part in the game's narrative, especially in the Stasis Interrupted DLC.
  • Back from the Dead: Michael Biehn as Cpl. Dwayne Hicks, who is revealed to have been pulled from cryo between the events of Alien³ and the game, taken in as a prisoner by Weyland-Yutani, and had a body double crash along with Ripley on Fiorina 'Fury' 161.
  • Backup Twin: Lance Henriksen voices another android named Bishop, from the same line as the one in Aliens. He's just assigned to another starship.
  • Badass Creed: "Oorah to ashes", said by one or more Marines at the end of every conversation or mission briefing.
  • Badass Normal: Cpl. Winter himself. In the first chapter alone, Winter heads into a hive in the Sulaco by himself to investigate (and subsequently saves a fellow Marine), fends off a xenomorph attack in the cargo bay, then manages to climb out of a depressurizing transfer bridge after Keyes blows it up. Later on, after he's captured and cocooned by the xenomorphs in Hadley's, he breaks out of the cocooning (something no one else has been able to do in the film series), narrowly escapes from the Raven, then sneaks through a horde of boilers to meet back up with O'Neal.
  • Bad Boss: In Stasis Interrupted, Michael Weyland proves every bit as ruthless and uncaring about the lives of his subordinates as his Aliens vs. Predator (2010) counterpart, Karl Bishop Weyland.
  • Bash Brothers: Winter and O'Neal, who fight through most of the campaign together.
  • Band of Brothers: Moreso than the film Aliens, this game conveys the brotherly love and undying loyalty that binds the USS Colonial Marines together.
  • Big Bad: The Xenomorphs predictably have their Queen. The Weyland-Yutani forces have the face of their company.
  • Black Dude Dies First:
    • Stone is executed in the first scene of the "Stasis Interrupted" DLC.
    • Bella is the first of the main squad to die.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Zigzagged with the pistols; while they have a limited capacity (12-18 rounds depending on the pistol), they have an infinite supply of ammunition for reloads.
  • Call-Forward: When the chestburster erupts from Lizbeth's stomach in the "Stasis Interrupted" DLC, they hold the creature in their hands the same way as Ripley does at the end of Alien 3.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Despite Gearbox treating it as a sidestory and in continuity with each other, WayForward Productions' Aliens: Infestation is rendered non-canon by Colonial Marines. Among other things, Infestation had the Sephora encounter the Sulaco three weeks after it had been declared missing, cause a major hull breach to the ship and let it drift off-course, and went down to the surface of LV-426 (and fought the UPP and a Space Jockey-xenomorph hybrid in the derelict).
  • Cat Scare: Occasionally, including one instance where a motion tracker signal suddenly appearing nearby turns out to be a discarded blanket blowing in the wind.
  • Ceiling Cling: The Xenomorphs are fond of doing this.
  • Colony Drop: The end result of the Sephora expedition onto the Sulaco is that both ships are destroyed, with pieces of the Sephora crashing into the landscape of LV-426.
  • Continuity Nod: Several references to past events in the series occur:
    • The player can pick up an audio log in Hadley's Hope that has a woman explaining the current situation in the colony, just before she tells her daughter, Newt that they have to leave.
    • The player visits the Operations Deck (which has been partially destroyed due to the processor explosion) in two missions, and can see a number of elements shown in the film, including a table that displays a map of the facility (and is the only item that's still operational) - it's the same map Hudson used to locate the signals of the missing colonists in the film.
    • You can finally discover what happened to Pvt. Hudson during "The Raven" - you find his cocooned and chestbursted body while escaping through the hive at the beginning of the mission. A short time later, the player can also come across the doll head carried around by Newt before her capture.
    • When exploring the Space Jockey's ship for the second time, you can see one of the scanner drones from Prometheus fly past you and into a crevice too narrow for you to fit through. It's a blink-and-you-miss it moment, but does establish more continuity.
    • In "One Bullet", one of the xenomorphs locked inside a room in the Weyland-Yutani medical facility has a translucent head and human skull, reminiscent of the creature from the original film.
    • Shooting the Space Jockey head in "Rampart" results in a holographic simulation activating, which shows the crashed Jockey ship and a circular spaceship (intended to be the same craft that's leaving in the opening of Prometheus) shooting at each other in outer space.
    • A burnt facehugger (presumably the same one seen at the beginning of the third film) can be found inside an duct in the Fury 161 map from the Movie Map Pack DLC.
    • A log in the Stasis Interrupted DLC has Bishop explaining that Hudson enjoyed the knife trick he performed in the mess hall.
    • Each of the Legendary Weapons is inspired by whatever gun the character it's named after is best remembered with (so Hicks gets a shotgun, for example).
  • Continuity Porn: Much like other recent video game sequels to film franchises, Colonial Marines is essentially an excuse to revisit locations and set-pieces from Aliens. According to Gearbox, the game is a "love letter" to fans of the sequel, and that they had access to original production assets that were screen-used, which means that many elements of the film are namechecked and/or seen.
  • Continuous Decompression: Used during the escape from the Sulaco - Reid's dropship and the contents of the cargo bay are sucked out through a wall.
  • Crapsack World: LV-426 is in even worse shape since the events of Aliens. Thanks to the destruction of the atmospheric processor, the immediate area around the colony is littered with debris, the xenomorphs have mutated and Weyland-Yutani have set up shop and are breeding even more xenomorphs.
  • Cutscene Boss:
    • The Xenomorph queen is defeated during the cutscene at the end of the final mission, "Home" (driven out of the cargo bay by Cruz in the dropship).
    • Likewise, in the "Stasis Interrupted" DLC (which is set before the main game), the Queen is captured in the final cutscene by Weyland-Yutani soldiers who manage to corral her.
  • Dangerous Windows: Shooting certain windows on the Sulaco during the escape sequence triggers Explosive Decompression (and a game over screen).
  • Deadpan Snarker: Three-and-a-half months of torture seems to have had this effect on Dwayne Hicks - upon being released from captivity, the first thing he says when he realizes he's back on LV-426 is, "Oh, great. Back here again." Later on, when he executes the android Michael Weyland, Bishop is shocked.
    Bishop: My God.
    Hicks: I just killed your God.
  • Death World: LV-426 is in even worse shape since the events of Aliens. Thanks to the destruction of the atmospheric processor, the immediate area around the colony is littered with debris, the xenomorphs have mutated and Weyland-Yutani have set up shop and are breeding even more xenomorphs
  • Decoy Protagonist: Lisbeth Sanders in the Stasis Interrupted DLC.
  • Difficulty Levels: Some of them, in order of difficulty:
  • Distress Call: The game begins with Corporal Hicks' distress call/after-action report describing what happened on LV-426, which prompts the Colonial Marines to take action.
  • Downloadable Content: Several pieces were released through a "Season Pass" promotion:
    • "Bug Hunt" introduces a multiplayer-based horde mode, on 3 new maps.
    • The "Reconnaissance Pack" features four new Deathmatch/Survivor maps, and more customization options for xenomorph characters in multiplayer.
    • The "Movie Map Pack", which has 4 multiplayer maps inspired by various locations from the film franchise (including Fury-161 and the Nostromo).
    • Stasis Interrupted, a campaign DLC which bridges the gap between the second and third films and the main game, from multiple perspectives.
  • Dwindling Party: Averted. Unlike Aliens (where Marines are slowly picked off throughout the latter half of the film), almost all of the major characters survive to escape the planet (besides Bella and Cruz, who sacrifices himself to stop the queen xenomorph).
  • Easter Egg:
    • In "Battle for Sulaco", there is a hidden room full of facehugger sacs painted to look like Easter eggs, making this a literal example of the trope.
    • In "One Bullet", shooting a discolored piece of ground on the other side of a chasm near the beginning of the level results in a giant doughnut rolling down the hill and falling into the molten lava flow.
    • In the "Movie Map Pack" DLC, Jones the Cat can be encountered on the Nostromo by following a specific set of actions.
  • Elite Mooks: Weyland-Yutani Elites wear white armor and helmets, are equipped with hard-hitting battle rifles, and can take about twice as much damage as the regular grunts. They still go down pretty quickly, though. In multiplayer, the Xenos have Boilers and Crushers, which have powerful special abilities but can only be unlocked by scoring a lot of points. In the Bug Hunt DLC, in later waves the regular Xenos become progressively more powerful; once maxed out, you end up fighting mini-Praetorians who can take a few dozen bullets each before dying.
  • Enemy-Detecting Radar: The Marines' motion detector. Unusually, it's equipped as a handheld device instead of a HUD element-meaning you can have either a gun or the motion tracker, but not both.
  • Explosions in Space: The cargo bay on the Sulaco is blown open so that the dropship containing Winter, Cruz, O'Neal, Bella, Reid and Bishop can escape, causing Explosive Decompression and sucking the contents of said bay into space, accompanied with bright red explosions.
  • The Faceless: In Stasis Interrupted, although Lisbeth has her own character model, at no point in the game is she ever seen, as she only appears from a first person perspective. No other player character in the game has this happen to them.
  • Five-Man Band:
    The Leader: Cruz.
    The Lancer: Winter.
    The Big Guy: O'Neal.
    The Smart Guy: Bishop.
    The Chick: Bella, Reid.
    Sixth Ranger: Hicks.
  • Flipping the Bird: In the E3 2011 demo, the player character shows just how much of a jackass he is by responding to your Sergeant's "how many fingers am I holding up" with one.
    • Levy does it again at Hicks in the Stasis Interrupted DLC... Only to use the finger to get clearance to enter a ship.
  • Foregone Conclusion: As Lisbeth is first seen pulling a facehugger off herself at the beginning of the Stasis Interrupted DLC, she will die in the course of the story. Likewise, Hicks has to survive until he is found by Winter and O'Neil, and Hicks will be too late to save Ripley.
  • From Bad to Worse: In the interim between the film and the game, the radiation from the destroyed atmospheric processor caused all of the surviving xenomorphs to mutate and become feral, the first team of Marines sent to find the Sulaco were killed, and Weyland-Yutani moved in and started experimenting in the derelict from the original film. When the second group of Marines arrive, their actions cause pieces of the Sephora to plow into the landscape of LV-426, and things just keep going downhill from there.
  • Gameplay Ally Immortality: The various squadmates (Keyes, O'Neal, Bella and/or Reid) are completely invincible - and can be attacked by multiple xenomorphs without going down - when they are part of the player's party in normal gameplay.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: The Stasis Interrupted DLC did not allow you to use your loadout or unlockables as you play as different character per chapter.
  • Genre Shift: One of the major complaints of the game is that it shifts from Survival Horror to standard FPS flare of fighting faceless goons.
  • Giant Mook/Heavily Armored Mook:
    • Weyland-Yutani makes use of heavy troopers (called Brutes) armed with smartguns or flamethrowers and wearing heavy armor that lets them soak a couple dozen bullets before dropping.
    • The Aliens have a number of special Boss in Mook's Clothing units; the Raven is an Immune to Bullets Advancing Wall of Doom that can only be beaten with a Power Loader, while the Crushers are more of a Bullfight Boss that has to be shot in the sides or back.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: During one mission, Winter and O'Neal come across a bred xenomorph queen being held in captivity by Weyland-Yutani, who breaks free of her restraints when the duo cut power to the corporation's main complex. She ends up massacring the scientists trapped in the room (filled with thick smoke) with her, as they get yanked back from the wall with nothing but blood splatters left in their wake.
  • Harder Than Hard: "Ultimate Badass Mode", a difficulty level that removes the HUD and greatly buffs the health of enemy forces.
  • Healing Factor: Winter can regenerate a portion of his health bar (if the section is not fully depleted) by staying out of combat and waiting a few seconds.
  • Hellish Copter: Reid's dropship is clipped by a piece of debris from the Sephora, and crashes into the landscape of LV-426. Unusually for this trope, everyone survives the crash.
  • Help Face Turn: In Stasis Interrupted, Dr. Levy turns on Michael Weyland and teams up with Hicks in the final two missions, Michael Weyland's speech about how humanity is nothing but expendable dregs being the last straw for the doctor.
  • Heroic BSoD: Played with. Winter and O'Neal rescue Reid while she's being dragged away to the hive by a group of xenomorphs. She initially refuses to accept what happened, keeps repeating the same line ("Thank you") over and over again, and freaks out while realigning the comm relay in Hadley's Hope, but she soon gets over it and calls herself a "badass" for rewiring the relay with her bare hands.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Cruz sacrifices himself at the end of the final mission to kill the Queen xenomorph that's attacking Winter in the cargo bay of Michael Weyland's personal ship.
    • In the Stasis Interrupted DLC, Lisbeth overloads the Legato's engines to kill the surviving Weyland-Yutani soldiers and xenomorphs infesting the ship, just as a chestburster comes out of her.
  • Hope Spot:
    • The ill-fated attempt to extract the chestburster from Bella works out about as well as you'd expect it to.
    • In Stasis Interrupted, Stone tells Hicks that there may be a way to save Ripley. It turns out to be an aversion/Foregone Conclusion when they reach Fury-161 just in time to see Ripley kill herself.
  • How We Got Here: The beginning of the Stasis Interrupted DLC.
  • Human Pack Mule: Bishop seems to be this (owing to his android nature) - when the Marines from the Sephora crashland on LV-426, Bishop is the one who has to carry a sentry gun (in its case) on his back all the way up to the Operations Deck.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Colonial Marines does this in a very unique, unusual way. You actually carry every available weapon in the game at the same time, but can only hold 2 of them at once in your weapon slots. To switch weapons, you need to swap between your inventory and your weapon slots. The menu that does this does not pause the game, which discourages you from doing it in the middle of combat.
  • I Gave My Word: Coupled with I'll Kill You!, Hicks pledges to do this against Michael Weyland during the Stasis Interrupted DLC, which was released after the main game but chronologically takes place before it. At the end of the main game's campaign, Hicks executes Weyland for real just before the group can interrogate the latter.
  • Identical Grandson: Played with. Carrying over from AVP: Alien vs. Predator, Michael Weyland (remember him from the tail end of Alien³?) to Charles Weyland (from Alien vs Predator). But in actuality, he's an Artificial Human from the same model line as Bishop, just more advanced.
    • Also potentially averted, given that the game seems to be going off the Prometheus continuity. Michael might be a descendant of Peter Weyland, but he's clearly not an Identical Grandson to him (unlike with Charles Weyland of the AVP continuity).
  • Immune to Bullets: The Crusher is apparently impervious to all small-arms fire.
  • Indy Hat Roll: Seen in the E3 2011 demo.
  • In Medias Res: Stasis Interrupted starts during Hicks' interrogation onboard Michael Weyland's ship, before flashing back to the events that took place on the Legato and Sulaco.
  • Interesting Situation Duel: The final battle with the Xenomorph Queen takes place inside the exposed cargo bay of a spaceship that's shooting into space.
  • The Juggernaut: A new xenomorph type called "The Crusher". Guess how it attacks.
  • Justified Tutorial: The first mission begins with Winter being sent as an advance guard to rendezvous with two other platoons who are still aboard the Sulaco, then getting stuck when the umbilical bridge between the Sephora and Sulaco ruptures, and he ends up journeying into a hive. This has the dual benefit of introducing the player to several locales seen in the film, and acts as a basic primer for movement, equipment functions and combat (when the player must fight the xenomorph guarding Keyes).
  • Kick the Dog: Michael Weyland gets much more characterization in the Stasis Interrupted DLC, where he spends the entire campaign being a massive tool. No wonder Hicks was so determined to kill him at the end of the main campaign.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • O'Neil hangs one on an otherwise-apparent Plot Hole early on in the game — Weyland-Yutani, which is acting in complete secret, is conducting illegal experiments with xenomorphs onboard the Sulaco and in the Origin Facility, and their corporate logo is emblazoned over everything, from computers and video cameras to containers and entire buildings. O'Neil later points out that it seemed like W-Y wanted to be caught, given how bold they were with their corporate nature.
    • A conversation regarding an otherwise-noticeable Continuity Snarl occurs in the opening cutscene, when Lieutenant Reid asks Keyes during their mission briefing why the Sulaco is back over LV-426 and infested with xenomorphs, several weeks after being declared missing, before Keyes disregards the question completely. The reason why the Sulaco comes back over LV-426 is only explained in the Stasis Interrupted DLC.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler:
    • For both Aliens and Alien³. The story trailer for the game even mentions that all of the Marines who were dispatched to LV-426 on the Sulaco should be "considered KIA".
    • Stasis Interrupted assumes that players have already completed the main campaign, as it begins with Corporal Hicks shown alive and well (albeit, being tortured).
  • Late to the Tragedy:
    • Two different instances of this occur during the game. In the first mission, Winter is sent to rendezvous with two other platoons aboard the Sulaco, and discovers that a xenomorph infestation wiped out almost all of the Marines. Later on, Cruz, Winter, O'Neal, Bella, Reid and Bishop come upon the aftermath of the events of the film (which, in turn, involved Ripley and another squad of Marines arriving at the aftermath of Hadley Hope's last stand).
    • "Stasis Interrupted" has Lisbeth wake up onboard the Legato as it's being attacked by a Weyland-Yutani cleanup crew, who are executing all of the civilians. The rest of the mission is spent discovering what happened after the fact.
  • Level in Reverse: In the last two missions of the Stasis Interrupted DLC, Hicks and Levy travel through a similar route that Winter and O'Neil take in the latter half of the main game (communications tower, Queen's holding pen, Derelict, FTL ship), except in reverse.
  • Made of Iron: In the E3 2011 demo, the player character survives a concussion from unknown circumstances, then shrugs off a xenomorph attack that results in him being thrown through a sheet of glass (while fighting the creature) and falling several metres to the ground. One of the accompanying Marines later comments on your improbable survival (right after you've outrun a Crusher and slid underneath a closing door), noting "You're one tough son of a bitch!"
  • Mauve Shirt: Several marines who have no lines, the same name everytime you play the level, and almost always die are this. Examples are Polvski from the first level and Klassen from the third.
  • Mêlée à Trois: The game features 3-way fights between Marines, Aliens, and Weyland-Yutani PMC soldiers.
  • Mission Control: Cruz and Bishop are this for Winter and the other Marines throughout the game.
  • More Dakka: The player can wield a Smart Gun at several points during the campaign.
  • Mythology Gag: There are plenty of references to the other movies in the series, including references to small details from Aliens. Critics generally considered this the best part of the game.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Many of the gameplay scenarios and clips shown in some of the early previews and trailers (including the sequence where Winter is knocked out of Operations by a xenomorph, then has to run to the vehicle bay to escape a Charger, or the shot of two starships crashing into LV-426) never appear in the game itself. These also show much better enemy AI, more detailed environments (including versions of ones that are in the game) and animation that works properly. The difference was a major source of criticism, and actually introduced legal questions regarding truth-in-advertising for those who pre-paid for the game in full and were delivered a substantially different product than was presented before launch.
  • No-Gear Level:
    • During "The Raven", Winter loses all his equipment, and must navigate through a xeno-infested sewer by stealth alone. Fortunately, the Boilers in the sewers are blind and navigate entirely by sound, which makes stealthing past them possible.
    • The first half of "Awakening" in the Stasis Interrupted DLC has Lisbeth having to sneak past turrets, Weyland-Yutani soldiers and xenomorphs.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Said (and done) multiple times throughout the game by various Marines. Winters and O'Neal go to save Bella, Winters, O'Neal and Bella go to save Reid on LV-426, Winters and Bella go to save O'Neal, Winters and O'Neal go to save Hicks, and so forth.
  • No One Should Survive That: The subject of much dissonance in the Aliens fandom, is how did the colony survive the explosion when its Atmosphere Processor went critical in Aliens. As Bishop clearly stated the entire area will end up being a cloud of vapor the size of Nebraska. They escaped from a massive explosion in the second dropship, yet in the game, its all largely intact.
  • Not Quite Dead: Corporal Hicks.
  • Nuclear Nasty: The nuclear fallout from the remains of the destroyed atmosphere processor near Hadley's Hope mutated the already-deadly xenomorph species into different and more hazardous variants, including the Boiler, an albino xenomorph with large sacs of pus over its body, which can only react to sound and kills itself in a suicidal charge at whatever it hears.
  • Obvious Beta: This was one of the reasons why this game was panned by critics and gamers alike. Aside from this causing a copious amounts of Narm, it also results in being able to literally sprint your way through every stage that doesn't require a target to kill.
  • Point Defenseless: The Sephora attempts to return fire against the Sulaco, trying to disable the Sulaco's guns. As this happens, one marine companion comments that the guns "aren't that accurate". Both ships are within a few hundred meters of each other at most. In space terms, that is spitting distance.
  • Posthumous Character: Stone is executed at the beginning of the Stasis Interrupted DLC, and is later seen and spoken to (as well as being playable) in Hicks' flashback.
  • P.O.V. Sequel: Two-thirds of the game take place on Hadley's Hope, making it the same plot as the second film (escape the planet while fighting off a horde of xenomorphs), told from the perspective of the reinforcements that were called to assist the previous crew (of the Sulaco) who were there.
  • The Power of Love: O'Neal is willing to risk hell or high water to find a way to remove the chestburster from Bella (seeing as they previously had a relationship). He fails.
  • Pre-Order Bonus: People who preordered the game from Gamestop received the ability to play as Hicks, Apone, Drake or Hudson in multiplayer, additional customization options and Ripley's flamethrower weapon.
  • Private Military Contractors: Weyland-Yutani hired PMCs to stop the crew of the Sephora from investigating the Sulaco.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Despite there being a thermonuclear explosion at the end of the film, a good deal of the colony's buildings and the technology therein have held up surprisingly well.
  • Reckless Sidekick: Keyes. He blows up the dropship with a grenade trying to frag some aliens that were near it, then when a burster comes out of his chest he blows himself up with another grenade, which almost gets you killed since the two of you were in a deep space umbilical tube at the time. It's clear that, far from being a Heroic Sacrifice, his little stunt was much more of a threat to you than the chestburster would have been.
  • Rewrite:
    • An Easter Egg in "Rampart" (obtained by shooting the pilot's head in the control room) shows that the Space Jockey/Engineer ship was downed by a craft similar to the one seen in the opening of Prometheus, despite the pilot shown laying dead from a chestbuster rupture in the original film.
    • The Stasis Interrupted DLC retcons the fire in the Sulaco cryopod chambers as being due to a firefight, one that isn't heard or seen as the acid falls on the ground in the film itself. Likewise, Hicks is wearing a shirt instead of the bandages he had on at the end of Aliens, and a colonist from the Legato (Turk) inadvertently takes his place in the cryopod.
    • Stasis Interrupted also has Hicks and Levy discover a xenomorph hive found via recently-excavated tunnels, which was not only unaffected by the atmospheric processor explosion, but existed independent of the derelict ship or the events that happened in Aliens.
  • Revision: Alien³ began with the Sulaco two weeks out from LV-426 before it evacuated the cryopods, while Colonial Marines has the Sulaco orbiting the planet once again. The explanation is that Weyland-Yutani boarded the ship sometime between the destruction of LV-426 and the beginning of the game, turned it around and sent it back to the planet, where they began using it as a testing ground for a new xenomorph hive.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Lisbeth in the Stasis Interrupted DLC, after learning that her parents were killed by Weyland-Yutani.
  • Robotic Reveal: At the end of the game, Hicks executes Michael Weyland, who is begging for his life. Weyland is then revealed to be a android duplicate of the original Michael Weyland, as white blood leaks out of his head.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: The atmosphere processor exploded in the equivalent of a forty megaton bomb, yet both it and the colony are still standing? Sure, why not. For reference, the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated, the Tsar Bomba, was fifty megatons. Even with the atmosphere processor was at ground level, the shockwave alone should have completely obliterated it and the colony.
  • Secondary Fire: Several of the weapons can be modified to include an underbarrel grenade launcher, shotgun, or flamethrower.
  • Send in the Search Team: The player character is part of the rescue team mentioned by Ripley and Hudson in the film once they were declared overdue.
  • Sentry Gun: The sentries are now placeable weapons that can be used to repel xenomorph attacks.
  • Sequel Hook: Bishop patches himself into the android Weyland's body, and is asked by Winter what he's found out about Weyland Yutani's plans, to which Bishop responds, "We got everything."
  • Series Continuity Error: Despite pre-release claims that the game would tie heavily into Aliens, the game is riddled with continuity errors. Notable examples include the recreation of the finale of Alien³ usingthe game's balaclava-clad Wey-Yu PMC model instead of the masked apesuit-wearing commandos that appeared in the film, despite using the very same model elsewhere. Or the fact that the Sulaco's hangar is less than half the size it should be - in a case where their research worked against them, they based it on the original set blueprints, but forgot to actually watch the film and notice that Cameron makes it look significantly bigger with careful blocking and a matte painting. Likewise, the cryotube room has only half as many as in the film - they used the set blueprint and didn't notice Cameron used a mirror on-set to make the room twice as long.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Whilst exploring the Weyland-Yutani lab, you find a room full of chestbursters being held in suspended animation in big glass tubes. In a small room you can find an empty container with a straw hat and cane in it, a nice shout out to Spaceballs.
    • Collecting a flamethrower in multiplayer can cause your PC to say, "Flame On!"
  • Simple, yet Awesome: The standard Pulse Rifle is the first weapon seen in normal gameplay, can be augmented to include a variety of different attachments (including a grenade launcher with several types of ordinance), has plenty of ammo for it lying around most levels, and is effective at putting down xenomorphs with one or two bursts.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: One mission has Winter (who was caught and cocooned in the xenomorph hive under Hadley's Hope) break out of his bonds and (sans weapon) sneak through the hive and a horde of Boilers to meet back up with O'Neal.
  • Stupid Evil: Granted, Weyland-Yutani, in their near-suicidal determination to obtain a bioweapon they transparently cannot and could never control, have always evoked this trope to a certain degree, but here they take it Up to Eleven, by declaring war on their own military to secure it.
  • Suicide Attack: The Boilers.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: At several points, Marines are suddenly snatched and killed by the xenomorphs.
  • Take My Hand: O'Neal manages to grab Winter's hand when the umbilical bridge between the Sulaco and Sephora is destroyed in the first mission.
  • Taking You with Me:
    • In the first chapter, Winters and Keyes are heading back to the Sephora across the umbilical bridge after retrieving the Sulaco's flight recorder. Keyes almost makes it across the bridge...before he starts contorting due to a chestburster beginning to emerge. He dies pulling the pin on a grenade as the creature explodes hissing and spitting gore from his rib-cage.
    • The Boilers, who use this as their main method of attack.
    • Much like Ripley's response as she's falling into the lava, Lisbeth grabs her own chestburster and holds onto it as the Legato explodes in the Stasis Interrupted DLC.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: The final boss of the game continues the tradition of dispatching xenomorphs the same way in the films, although it's done with a twist - the plan to blow the queen xenomorph out of the cargo bay on Michael Weyland's ship doesn't completely work, so Cruz sacrifices himself by piloting the dropship out (with the queen hanging onto it) while the larger ship is ascending through the upper atmosphere.
  • The Topic of Cancer:
    • Boilers are tumor-studded xenomorph drones who run up and autothyze you to death.
    • The game reveals that it is possible to extract a chestburster before it bursts out of a chest, but since facehuggers use a mutagen instead of implanting an embryo, it causes cancer as well.
  • Torture Always Works: The basis of the Stasis Interrupted DLC, as Hicks is tortured for information using a variant of a truth serum that causes him to explain what happened leading up to the events of the main game.
  • Trash the Set: The USS Sulaco becomes progressively more and more destroyed throughout the first three missions due to a number of circumstances (massive battles with groups of xenomorphs and Weyland-Yutani PMC's, hull breaches, broken windows, a destroyed dropship, etc).
  • Undying Loyalty: The defining character trait of our protagonists.
  • Vasquez Always Dies: The Vasquez Expy is introduced after having been facehugged. There is a Hope Spot concerning her condition, but...
  • Vertical Kidnapping: A preferred method of attack by the xenomorphs.
  • Videogame Flamethrowers Suck: Averted - the standard-issue flamethrower is one of the few things that can seriously harm a Crusher, and does insane damage at close-range (a fact that the loading screens between levels point out). However, if you try to use it against mercs, you'll quickly find yourself riddled with bullets due to the short range and ineffectiveness against human opponents.
  • Wall Crawl: Again, the Xenomorphs.
  • Weapon of Choice: Throughout the game, the player can discover signature weapons associated with (and used by) the characters in Aliens, including Hicks' shotgun, Gorman's pistol, Hudson's pulse rifle and Frost's flamethrower, among others.
  • Weld the Lock: Characters will often weld doors shut behind them in an attempt to hold off approaching xenomorphs, or cut through the lock to gain access to otherwise-unavailable areas.
  • Wham Shot: One of the main mission involved rescuing a survivor from the Sulaco. The person turns out to be Corporal Dwayne Hicks. The corpse that was cremated on Fury 161 belongs to an unnamed mercenary who was placed into Hicks' tube after he woke up.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • The surviving Marines from the Sephora who landed on LV-426 and were last seen at Hadley's are not extracted when Keyes, Winter, Reid, Bishop and Hicks use the dropship to get onboard Michael Weyland's FTL craft, and the game ends with said craft going into deep space as Bishop reveals his findings to Winter. This is despite the fact that Keyes tells Winter and the others to rescue them before he dies.
    • Levy is presumably captured by Weyland-Yutani (along with Hicks) at the end of the Stasis Interrupted DLC, and is not seen or referenced in the main game, which takes place afterwards. While it's likely that he was executed by the company for treason, no mention is made of what happened to him.
  • Where It All Began: One campaign mission partially takes place in the derelict ship from the original film.
  • Why Isn't It Attacking?: In Stasis Interrupted. When Lisbeth hides in a storage locker aboard the Legato, a xenomorph approaches it, hisses at her and goes to another locker, where it eviscerates the man hiding inside. She realizes afterwards that it didn't attack her because she's carrying a chestburster.
  • You Are Too Late: In Stasis Interrupted, Hicks and Stone arrive at Fury-161 just in time to see Ripley swan dive into the molten lead.


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