Alien (1982 video game)
Alien is a science fiction text adventure with an unknown developer and publisher (perhaps MAV-5-5-K is a name). According to the title screen, the game was released on 1982-03-05, but the source code also says game development also began on that day. The game was written in GW-BASIC.
In the game's story, you are the sole survivor of a luxury space ship that exploded. Your escape pod landed on a remote planet. It's a dangerous place, but you know there is a research station somewhere. Unfortunately, after surviving the deadly dust storms, you discover the research station has been attacked by aliens. Now, you have to navigate the deadly planet in order to try and find a way back home.
I initially played this game in the late 1980s as part of Space Games which included a modified version. I liked the informal writing style, but was no longer impressed by text adventures by this time. Later, in the early 1990s, I made an attempt to beat it and mapped out over half of the game, but I got bored with it. On 2020-09-15, in an effort to finish many of the games I started decades ago, I played the game through and beat it. After finding and looking through the source code, I was disappointed to see how little there was to the game.
As far as I can tell, the game was distributed freely as source code. I have beaten it.
Best Version: DOS
— This section contains spoilers! —
- Some of the writing is good for a chuckle.
- There are a fair amount of typos and spelling errors.
- The game is poorly coded with a handful of game-breaking bugs.
- There are some continuity problems. For example, if, instead of blasting your way through the facility door, you enter the cave system and make your way to the facility door, it will still be caved in as though you blasted through it. You can even get through the closed bulkhead door this way!
- There is only a single necessary puzzle to the game, and that is making a map to avoid the rooms where you are killed simply by entering them. You can get all the necessary clues needed to beat the game without needing to pickup a single item or fight a single alien (there are only two of each anyway).
- The text parser is extremely weak with only a handful of working commands.
- The game is severely lacking in media with only a few beeps for sound and very limited use of color.
- The only half-way interesting encounter in the game is with the slug monster, but that can be entirely avoided, along with half the game's map, since there is an alternate route into the facility.
- If you already know the map layout and password, you can beat the game in a matter of seconds simply by navigating right to the end with the following commands: S, S, E, E, E, S, S, S, S, S, S, S, W, S, S, E, E, N, E, E, E, E, E, ENTER TRAM, 6, A 123.
This collection includes the oldest source code I could find, a combined source code with spelling error fixes I made that will compile in QuickBASIC, and a binary of that version.
Although the game's title screen reads simply "Alien," the comments show that the game had a working title of "Adventure 2000" and "Adventure II."