Game: Alien Crush
Publisher: Naxat Soft
System: PC Engine (HuCard)
Release date: 1988
Considering the PC Engine is one of my all-time favorite consoles and Aliens is one of my all-time favorite films, is it safe to say that Alien Crush is one of my all-time favorite games? I wouldn't go that far, but I'd definitely say that this H. R. Giger-esque title, which was developed by Compile and Naxat Soft, is one of the better--or at least one of the more enjoyable--pinball games I've ever played. (Controversial aside: I prefer this title to its generally-better-received sequel, Devil Crash.) Chiefly responsible for my love of this game are, of course, the aforementioned Aliens-inspired graphics. (I'm especially fond of the multi-eyed "queen" that takes up a large portion of the lower playfield.) Granted, you'll become well acquainted with those graphics, as the play area in Alien Crush is just two screens high, but at least they're gorgeous. (Thankfully, a bonus round helps break things up a bit.) Also adding to this game's allure: Its throbbing, rock-ish soundtrack. Sadly, said soundtrack consists of just two tunes--a few more if you count the tracks played during the bonus rounds and on the game-over screen. So, what's not to love about Alien Crush? Well, aside from its somewhat-repetitive graphics and music, I'd say the game's biggest negative is one shared by most pinball games of the time: The physics are far from perfect. Oh, and the screen doesn't scroll smoothly from one section of the playfield to the next; rather, it uses what some folks call a "flick-screen mechanism." If you're not anal about such things, though, you should find a lot to like in this release.
See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts