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Alien Research Centre

by Ian Smith and Sean McClure

Episode 1 of Alien Research Centre Series
Science Fiction
1990

Web Site

(based on 4 ratings)
2 reviews

About the Story

Search the eerie corridors of the Alien Research Centre and do your best to carry out sufficient repair work to enable you to return both the ship and yourself to the safety of Earth.

During your search you will encounter "Security Androids" and a vast number of the grotesque creatures that now roam the empty corridors of the A.R.C.


Game Details

Language: English (en)
Current Version: Unknown
License: Former commercial
Development System: Custom
Forgiveness Rating: Tough
Baf's Guide ID: 2653
IFID: Unknown
TUID: xj2uyjpuqbfyp8zq

Adapted by Alien Research Centre 3: Footprints In The Snow, by John Wilson
Followed by sequel Alien Research Centre 2: Return to Oblivion, by John Wilson

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Number of Reviews: 2
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
From 1990, worth playing today, November 21, 2020
by Denk
Related reviews: Homebrew parser

Before you read on, here are a few facts:

1. Location graphics for all rooms (8-bit quality)
2. Brief location descriptions
3. Two-word parser (but fast)
4. Inventory limit (9 objects, hardly a problem)

This game was really fun. You are exploring an abandoned alien research centre which has been taken over by various grotesque creatures. Though the location descriptions are brief, the atmosphere is good due to the graphics and sound effects. And if something significant changes in a location, the location graphics change too. And if there is something you can interact with, it is mentioned in the location descriptions.

The game is a puzzlefest and there isn't much of a story. But the puzzles are good and there are lots of them. You will need to guess a few verbs, but you will most likely get them right either the first or the second time around as they are usually quite obvious. In my opinion, only one puzzle required an unexpected command: (Spoiler - click to show)The command "kick floor" isn't obvious to me, even though we are told that the floor is partly eaten away by some substance. You might kick a wall or door but not a floor. I would have expected Jump, Stomp or Break Floor to work but only "kick floor" seems to work. Anyway, how difficult a game should be is always a matter of taste. I found the difficulty level just right. I did peek at a walkthrough a few times as I was eager to get on with the game, but I usually regretted it as the puzzles are all fair.

Though there are plenty of ways to die, you will rarely die unexpectedly. Whenever you encounter an alien you have one turn to leave if you don't know how to deal with that alien. Still, you should save often. I played with the Fuse emulator and here saving a snapshot was only a click away.

It is my impression that the game can be made unwinnable in at least one way, but then it will be obvious that a part of the game isn't accessible anymore, so if you have been saving often, it isn't a big deal. Only one puzzle seemed to contain a random element, but that made sense for this particular puzzle and didn't prevent me from winning if I didn't get it right the first time.

Everything considered I think this a great game. As I never had a ZX Spectrum, I hadn't heard about this game until recently, but now that I tried it, I wouldn't mind calling it a classic worth playing today. Recommended.


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Good atmosphere and visuals, August 23, 2019

Because of the length, I can't give this more than a three stars. But I had a fun time with it. The atmosphere/aesthetic brings a certain charm to a play through. The only puzzle I would call cheap is one that involved acid and a freeze beast. I wont give it away. Give it a try if you're reading this.


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This is version 6 of this page, edited by Denk on 21 November 2020 at 5:03am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item