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No Face Huggers in This Alien Syndrome
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on February 14, 2007   |   Episode 123 (Show Archive)  

Alien Syndrome (PS2) Cover
Just ignore that Alien looking alien in the background, it's clear from this picture that Alien Syndrome has nothing to do with Alien. No Really!
Sometimes it pays to have a little spacing between your announcements. A good case for this was when Sega went out of their way to announce that they had secured the rights to the Alien movie series. Even though there hasn't been a movie in a decade and pretty much everybody agrees that the last two movies were disappointments, Sega trumped this news with the gusto that is generally reserved for a new Sonic the Hedgehog sequel. But Sega didn't care that the interest in face huggers was at an all time low, they sent out multiple emails talking up not one, but two different Alien games (an action game and a role-playing game).

In what can only be described as the worst timing in the history of all video gaming, Sega those that same week to also announce a third Alien game ... only this one wasn't related to Ridley Scott, James Cameron, Twentieth Century Fox or anything else connected to the long-running Alien franchise. Instead Sega announced an update to their classic 1987
Alien 1979 Poster
See this original 1979 Alien poster? It has nothing to do with Alien Syndrome!
game, Alien Syndrome. As you might imagine, this announcement only led to confusing posts on messages boards and a few news articles on major websites that would later have to be corrected. For a few days it felt like Sega was trying to have their Alien Syndrome announcement ride on the coat tails of their Alien movie news, but in the end it just made everything else much more complicated than it needed to be. This is the kind of thing that could have been avoided if Sega had chosen to announce the game one or two weeks later, but instead
Old Alien Syndrome cover
I'm serious, Alien Syndrome and the Alien movies are not related in any way!
they decided to announce it mere hours after announcing their Alien movie games.

Months have passed since this unfortunate event and everything had gone back to normal. Now that we have bigger and better things to worry about most of us have forgotten about these unfortunate announcements. But after eight solid weeks of getting the three games straight, the confusion and madness reared its ugly head yet again when IGN decided to run a hands-on preview of the upcoming PSP game, Alien Syndrome.

Instead of using art assets from the game (or even screen shots), IGN decided to run with a banner that capitalized on the Alien movies while promoting the Alien Syndrome video game. The only problem is that those two things are not connected, one features characters created by H.R. Giger while the other was a crazy arcade game that has been ported to a half dozen game systems. Even though this was established back in December, IGN apparently forgot which was which. See for yourself when we compare the Alien Syndrome banners ...

Side by Side IGN Banners

But wait, if you go to IGN now you will see that this isn't the case. Apparently they've received enough comments and complaints regarding the subject that they've had to go back and completely redesign the banner. Gone is the
Sega Master System Alien Syndrome Cover
Even back in the 1980s Sega didn't mind the comparison to the Alien movie franchise!
hatching alien egg (which was the poster of the original Alien movie back in 1979) and gone is the fully grown alien creature (getting ready to use its second set of teeth to do some real damage). Instead we get a simplistic "space" theme that looks like it was done in only a few minutes just to clear up the confusion.

Then again, can you really blame them for mixing up Alien Syndrome with the Alien series? Back in 2003 Defunct Games ran a story that compared Alien to Alien Syndrome. In that article we looked at the cover of the Sega Master System game and compared it to one of the real aliens in the movie series. With its large head, sharp teeth and weird shape, it's clear that Sega was trying to connect Alien Syndrome to the classic film franchise even back in the late 1980s.

Old Alien Syndrome cover
And for the last time, Gun.Smoke on the NES is NOT related to the classic TV show Gun Smoke!
But let's not let IGN completely off the hook, the fact that Sega has had a long history of trying ape the Alien movie series doesn't excuse the website from doing a little fact checking. It would have been easy enough for the people responsible for the banner to check out the story in question and see what the game was. Heck, they wouldn't even need to read the full article; the description of the game is in the first few lines of text. But clearly that's not what happened, instead IGN decided to resurrect a confusing situation that most people thought had been put to bed weeks ago. If there is any leftover confusion let me try and clear it up now, yes Sega is making a couple of games based on the Alien movies ... but Alien Syndrome is not one of them.

If anything this will teach me to pay closer attention to IGN's many banners. I can see it now, a future where I'm having to explain the difference between the TV show Heroes and Gunstar Heroes or how the Grand Theft Auto games are not the same as the Grand Theft Auto movies. I have a feeling this isn't going to be the last time I have to explain the difference between the classic game Alien Syndrome and the classic movie with almost exactly the same name.


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