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The SquareSoft Aliens Game You Probably Didn't Realize Existed

Square Enix is known around the world as one of the biggest game developers and publishers in the entire industry. It's success has been built on massive franchises like "Final Fantasy," "Dragon Quest," and "Kingdom Hearts," and as a result the RPG giant has been entertaining its fanbase for over three decades.  

However, this was not the case back in 1987. Before the company had a bevy of hit franchises to choose from, Square/SquareSoft was just another '80s game developer experimenting with different genres and chasing trends in hopes of landing a hit. To that end, movie tie-ins might have seemed like as safe a bet as any at the time — and if you're going to adapt a movie into a game, it might as well be one from famed science-fiction and action auteur James Cameron. This is likely exactly what Square had in mind when the company took a crack at adapting 1986's "Aliens" as a side-scrolling action game.

Prior to Final Fantasy, SquareSoft made Aliens

Earlier in the same year that the developer released the first game in its flagship "Final Fantasy" franchise — changing the company's trajectory forever — Square put out a little-known MSX adaptation of the second movie in the "Alien" franchise. "Aliens" sees players stepping into the space boots of the sci-fi/horror legend Ellen Ripley and doing battle with xenomorphs and facehuggers on LV-426.

"Aliens" is a side-scrolling action-platformer with a relatively simple design and some pretty basic gameplay. Like many other adaptations of major movies from the time period, the story of the film is diluted to essentially run, jump, and shoot for pretty much the entirety of the game, though there is an occasional run-in with the Alien Queen to keep players on their toes.

Still, as a time capsule of gaming in the mid to late '80s, Square's "Aliens" game is definitely an interesting footnote in the company's long and storied history. While we're unlikely to get a "Pixel Remaster" of this one, luckily, pictures and footage of the game still exist to be appreciated by long-time fans and gaming history buffs.