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Aliens Online (Windows)

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MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.2
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
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Description

Aliens Online was a massively multiplayer first person shooter released on the GameStorm subscription service. Players could choose to wield a pulse rifle as a member of the Colonial Marines, or stick to the shadows as one of H. R. Giger's iconic Aliens. Gameplay pit the two species against each other in a standard team deathmatch with limited respawns. Players could fight in one of five initial maps, with multiple games running simultaneously and selected from an in-game chat area and browser.

Maps ranged from a loose reproduction of the colony from Aliens, to a derelict spacecraft with an Alien hive in the lower levels. Every map had cramped air ducts or sewer pipes that the Aliens could speedily, and usually securely, make use of - with hatches that allowed the player to drop onto unsuspecting marines and rend them with claw and tail attacks.

Marines carried a selection of long-range firepower based on the weapons in the film. A lone marine only had access to a pulse rifle, pistol, shotgun, and motion tracker (deployed like a weapon, and not part of the HUD). Up to four marines could also band together in a fireteam, unlocking heavy weapons like the flamethrower and the auto-tracking SmartGun. Members of a fireteam could also open minature "helmet cam" windows for each of their teammates, and see a feed of what that player was seeing.

Kills and victories resulted in experience points, which were permanently tracked by character. XP milestones granted stat-increasing ranks to marines, making veteran soldiers tougher and deadlier. A similar system also existed on the Alien side, with XP points granting the ability for one player per open game to play as the Queen - a bigger and tougher Alien requiring teamwork to take down.

Screenshots

Aliens Online Windows The pulse rifle includes its attached grenade launcher. Take that, facehugger!
Aliens Online Windows Vents are a dangerous place for squishy Marines. But the flamethrower helps.
Aliens Online Windows Choose your alignment
Aliens Online Windows The engine allows for rooms over rooms, including vents ripe for ambush.

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User Reviews

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The Press Says

Science Fiction Weekly 1998 A 100
GameSpot Apr 16, 1998 7.2 out of 10 72
Computer Games Magazine Jun 29, 1998 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars 70

Forums

Topic # Posts Last Post
"15 new Windows screenshots" 3 Lumpi (197)
Dec 08, 2009

Trivia

Development

Aliens Online was originally released with only one game type - "Eradication." Players simply fought until the marines exhausted their supply of respawns (called "billets"), or every Alien on the map was wiped out (To recreate the sense of a proper infestation of Aliens, there were over a hundred computer-controlled drones wandering around each level. Alien players would jump to a new body when killed, while Marines could whittle down the Aliens' "lives" by killing the relatively-defenseless computer drones).

Later patches introduced more game types. A "capture the flag" mode required Marines to fight down to the Alien hive, remove a set number of eggs, and drag them back to the drop zone. A variant on this required Marines to lug explosive barrels from their drop zone to different areas on the map. A third mode disabled Marine respawns, and required them to reach an evac point inside the level before being wiped out by the Aliens.

Engine

Aliens Online used a modified version of Mythic Entertainment's engine for Rolemaster: Magestorm.

Facehugger

Original plans were for a new Alien player to begin as a lowly facehugger - killed by a single shot, and sporting only an embarrassingly weak tail whip as an attack. After a few kills, they would move up to the standard Drone, and then on to the Queen. This was never implemented, presumably because killing a player with a facehugger was so notoriously difficult that it would have driven off new players.

Instead, Drone became the default starting point on a player's evolution. However, facehuggers were still selectable as a playable character (with its own set of respawns aside from the main Alien pool. Veteran players would sometimes use them as a joke. Actually killing someone with the huggie was considered a badge of honor (or for the unlucky Marine, a badge of shame).

Shutdown

Online gameplay for Aliens Online was shut down on May 29, 2000.

Information also contributed by BurningStickMan

Related Web Sites

Wolfang (134) added Aliens Online (Windows) on Mar 08, 2000