A few weeks ago I was visiting a college buddy who still lives near campus, and he took me to the local Dave and Buster’s. The Dave and Buster’s near our school had been a forbidden palace of sorts. Since they serve all sorts of interesting cocktails and other, manlier drinks, if you were under twenty one you were only allowed in if you were accompanied by someone thirty or older. So this meant that little kids and even giggly high school girls were allowed in, but we weren’t unless we could somehow produce an “adult.” This was a surprisingly difficult feat to accomplish. So tradition was to go on your twenty-first birthday and drink and play skee-ball until you puked. I skipped out on that particular tradition, mostly because my boyfriend (who is now my husband – can you believe it?) was still underage. I still rag on him for ruining my evening by being a few months shy of twenty-one.
So I only got into Dave and Buster’s a handful of times before graduating. For those of you who have never been, it’s a combination of a TGI Friday’s-esque restaurant and an arcade. It’s perfect for yuppies, families, and taking clients “out on the town.” Safe, fun, and it has a bar in the middle of the arcade so you don’t feel eight years old. It would be a perfect place to test my theory regarding the relationship between alcohol consumption and Tetris playing ability, but they don’t have a Tetris arcade machine. Oh well.
Jersey girl that I am, I went straight for the skee-ball, dragging my very tolerant and patient friend behind me. We played a couple games until the line of sad-looking kids waiting to play guilted us into finding entertainment elsewhere. So after a round of air hockey (where I was soundly defeated), we sought out some more traditional video games. I’ll avoid telling you about my abysmal finishes every time we played a racing game.
The game we spent the most time on was Alien: Resurrection. At least, I think that’s what it was called. It was an Alien game complete with face huggers and queen mother. I forget whatever threatening sounding noun they put after the Alien part, but it was action packed. Anyway, this game was a standard shooter. Two players each take a mounted machine gun and fire at the many, many aliens that spring up on the screen. The game was rather forgiving in what constituted a hit, so I did okay when it came to nailing targets. My problem was the limited ammunition. I have always been the “hold down the trigger until it dies” sort of girl. Of course, just to be on the safe side, I also hold onto the trigger and make sweeping passes when I have no immediate target. It turns out this was not the best idea (like so many other of my gaming strategies).
You have three different firing options on the guns: standard bullets, grenade (or rocket if you get the power up) launcher, and flamethrower. Each has limited ammunition and to get more you need to shoot the power ups when you see them. You can’t stockpile ammo either, the power ups don’t stack. So, I frequently found myself out of ammunition and very soon afterwards, dead. I don’t know how many credits my friend pumped into that game on my behalf, and I don’t think I want to know. So, I picked up the tab on dinner to alleviate my guilt.
The game was a lot of fun though (especially if you’re not paying to play). You’re a marine (which was a bit of a bummer because I wanted to be Ripley), and you shoot aliens until you get to the queen and kill her. The flamethrower was my favorite weapon. It was perfect for dealing with unhatched eggs and marines with alien spawn gestating inside their chests. I mean they were effectively dead already, right? I’m sure they barely felt the napalm. The alien queen didn’t much care for it either. I thought the rockets were fun also, although there was less screaming in agony when I used them.
Some of the bosses didn’t make a lot of sense, though. Like the zombie marine who attacked us while piloting one of those exoskeletons from Aliens (yeah, I don’t know how you go from alien incubator to zombie, either). First of all, would a zombie be capable of the level of finite motor control necessary to operate such a machine? Secondly, the weak point we were instructed to aim at was the arm of the exoskeleton with a saw blade. Wouldn’t it be smarter to aim at the machine’s operator? There was no shielding to protect him from projectiles (or napalm for that matter) and even if he is a zombie, after enough sustained damage wouldn’t body parts necessary for exoskeleton operation fall off?
Regardless of illogical boss fights, we played the game all the way through. The final boss fight was long and relatively anti-climactic, but decent enough. We were rewarded for our efforts (and money) with a thirty second film clip at the end. We escaped the planet, but there were dozens of aliens clinging to the outer hull. So yeah – happy ending. Despite its faults, if you run across the game at your local arcade give it a try. Just bring a lot of quarters with you.
This columnist would love to hear your thoughts on her work. All glowing praise should be sent to her via the link on our 'About Us' page. Hate mail on the other hand, should be directed to the guy who cancelled The Dresden Files, exactly where it belongs.