The Alien video games ranked: in space no one can hear you scream at your PlayStation

The Alien video games ranked: in space no one can hear you scream at your PlayStation

As Alien Covenant hits cinemas, we look at the best (and worst) ways to take on the xenomorph from the comfort of your own bedroom

With its razor-sharp teeth, barbed tail and acid for blood, the Alien is a formidable fictional foe, blessed with a nightmarish design that's both anatomically complex and instantly recognisable. Since 1979 it's been terrifying audiences on the big screen to generally lessening effect. Original Alien director Ridley Scott is about to unleash the star beast yet again with the release of Alien Covenant, so now seems like a good time to look back on its long gaming history.

Ever since 1982's Alien on the Atari 2600, there have been dozens of games based on the creature. And just as the Alien has had mixed cinematic success (for every Aliens there's an Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem), it's been very much a mixed bag. For the sake of brevity we've narrowed this list down to the Alien games still available to buy.

6. Aliens: Colonial Marines (2013)

Billed as a sequel to James Cameron's film Aliens, there was unbridled expectation for Aliens: Colonial Marines, despite a five year delay which really should have set alarm bells ringing. Preview videos showed a gorgeous recreation of the film series' iconic locations, dripping with atmosphere, and the aliens themselves looked smart and terrifying. When the game was finally released it was a mess of poor environmental and character design with shoddy AI rendering the aliens imbecilic. The reception was so bad that a class action lawsuit was filed, claiming false advertising. Its nonsensical plot retconned Hicks' survival in a move that was both pandering and insulting to fanboys everywhere.

5. Aliens vs Pinball (2016)

This set of virtual pinball tables for Pinball FX2 features original voices and sound effects from the franchise. There are three tables each representing Aliens, Aliens vs Predator (the film) and Alien: Isolation. The game features weighty pinball physics and the table designs are detailed and challenging. It's the only game here that isn't a first-person shooter, but for short, controlled bursts it's great fun.

4. Aliens versus Predator (1999)

Although this wasn't the first game to feature multiple campaigns from different species (Alien, Predator and human Colonial Marine), it was one of the most successful and best-remembered. Created by British developer Rebellion, it features a trio of independent storylines with very different controls for each character. It's dated but it's perfectly playable.

3. Aliens versus Predator 2 (2001)

Only two years on from Rebellion's effort, developer Monolith released a superior sequel. Unlike its predecessor's stand-alone parts, AvP2 links the three species' campaigns across a larger, much more detailed world. The graphics and sound are vastly improved, and an expansion pack called Primal Hunt served as a prequel.

2. Aliens vs. Predator (2010)

Rebellion re-took the reigns for this third entry in the series. Featuring vastly improved graphics, tip-top audio and much larger maps, this is the pinnacle of the AvP series. It's certainly not without flaws, notably the oddly restrictive linearity of what appear to be open environments and the poorly-implemented melee system. But for anyone wanting to experience a 'glorious day in the Corps', this is still the best way to do it.

1. Alien: Isolation (2014)

While AI is another Alien FPS, it's a very different beast to the other entries. In reverence to the Alien, the creature you face here is a remarkably adaptive, intelligent and terrifying monster that you must avoid at all costs, and while you have access to some weaponry, it's only temporarily effective at warding off the creature at close range. AI's a slow burner (and a long game) and you'll spend most of your time crouching in dark corners listening to the impeccable audio that is designed to helpfully hint at the Alien's location while simultaneously scaring the crap out of you. Blessed with an adaptive artificial intelligence (the acronym of the game's title can be no coincidence), the xenomorph in AI is a genuinely frightening creature, and the moments when it hunts you down are some of the most nerve-shredding experiences in gaming.

Alien: Covenant

  • 3 stars
  • 2017
  • US
  • 2h 3min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Ridley Scott
  • Written by: Michael Green
  • Cast: Michael Fassbender, Demián Bichir, Katherine Waterston, Danny McBride, Jussie Smollett, Amy Seimetz, Carmen Ejogo, Callie Hernandez
  • UK release: 12 May 2017

The spaceship Covenant ends up on an unknown planet littered with little egg things, which can’t be good. The latest in the franchise is basically an excuse for Scott’s fantastic visuals and a series of more or less ingenious variations on grisly death, although some will enjoy the spectacle of Fassbender kissing himself.