In light of Crysis 2 releasing this week, we thought it would be fun to pick the five best games (plus a few honorable mentions) that feature aliens invading planet Earth. You know, for the sake of having a list like this on file. For research!
Depending which version of Contra you played — whether it’s the Japanese or American — the setting and enemies could change drastically. If you played the Japanese version, you fought a terrorist organization on a fictional futuristic island. If you played the American version of Contra you fought aliens in present day South America. For the sake of including it on this list, we’re going to go with the American version that had our macho heroes Billy and Lance going up against an evil alien entity. This is also probably the only game on this list where the aliens came away victorious more times than not. Damn you Contra for your insane difficulty.
4. Duke Nukem 3D
The aliens have come to Earth to kidnap our women, attempting to conjure up a Queen for mass alien reproduction. Not on Duke’s watch, baby. The majority of Duke Nukem 3D takes place in Los Angeles, with Duke defending the dilapidated city and trying to evade capture from cops that have literally been mutated into pigs. Duke 3D deserves a spot on this list because Duke’s the king. ‘Nuff said.
3. Perfect Dark
The plot of Perfect Dark is some Men in Black shit. The game doesn’t just feature one alien race, but instead features two: the Maians, who resemble stereotypical grey aliens, and the Skedar, reptilian extraterrestrials who disguise themselves as humans. Perfeck Dark is a sprawling espionage epic that eventually sees Joanna Dark thwart the evil Skedars by blowing up their mother ship with the help of Elvis, her Maian companion, just before the Skedars get a chance to test out a megaweapon on Earth. Job well done, Joanna.
2. Resistance: Fall of Man
The first Resistance game takes place in an alternate reality 1950 — one where the Great Depression and World War II might have been avoided, but as a trade off we got an alien invasion of Earth that has already seen Russia fall, while expansion continues into Europe and the United States. By the time this first game gets going, things are already looking quite grim. You play as one of the few remaining human armed forces members in a fight against the Chimera invasion. And since there’s already been one sequel released, with another one on the way, it’s safe to say the war haven’t been won just yet.
1. Half-Life 2
Muck like Resistance: Fall of Man, Half-Life 2 picks up its story after the aliens have already set up shop on Earth and labeled it their new home. Now the inhabitants of Earth are enslaved by an extraterrestrial empire called the Combine, who have turned the dystopic City 17 into their central hub. And you know things are bad when the Combine turn on an energy field that ceases human procreation. Then again, maybe the citizens of Earth in the Half-Life universe see this as a blessing in disguise; It’s like a universal condom without all the latex.
Technically, the Covenant discovered and began their assault on Earth at the end of Halo 2. But it wasn’t until Halo 3 that the defense of Earth was fully realized in the Halo-verse. Unfortunately, the moments on Earth were short lived, as Master Chief, Sgt. Johnson, Keys and the Arbiter followed the Prophet of Truth through a portal opened up by an ancient Forerunner artifact buried beneath New Mombasa. With that said, Chief and company put up a good fight on their home turf before whisking away to save the galaxy once again from an ancient alien ring weapon.
Area 51 (1995 Arcade Game)
Here’s a game I had completely forgotten about until our own Mike White reminded me of it. After taking one quick glance at the game’s wiki, yup, it deserves a spot here. While Area 51 doesn’t feature an alien menace taking over the entirety of Earth — instead sequestering the action to, wait for it… Area 51 — it’s still a prime example of an alien force invading our home land. For those who don’t know, Area 51 was a light gun game that saw the player as a member of the elite STAAR team sent into Area 51 to activate the base’s nuclear self-destruct sequence to kill all the mutated soldiers and aliens. The plot was paper thin, obviously just thrown together to give an excuse to pump quarters into an arcade cabinet and shoot some aliens in the face. And wouldn’t you know it… success!