Alien Swarm :

Install the game :

You need to download Alien Swarm and then unzip the file. If you're on windows then just double click the bat file. You can discuss the game here or you can also contact me through my web page. If you're on UNIX then you need to run the java program directly with

java -jar -Dsun.java2d.noddraw=true AlienSwarm.jar

Background story :

The swarm have invaded our solar system and now control every planet. You are based on a wandering moon and are our last defence. You are armed with a mobile canon, limitless ammo and limitless bravery. Can you defeat them?

Control your ship :

  • Space to fire
  • Cursor or A to go left
  • Cursor or D to go right
  • P to pause the game
  • N for nukes*
  • Any other key turns on your shields*
                    (* assuming you have them)

You have limited time to destroy each wave and a time bar ticks down in the top right hand corner. If you're quick then you can earn a bonus. If you're too slow then you get a fine. The fines get heavier each time they're given.

Hold the fire button down for continuous fire but be careful not to overheat your weapon. There's a weapon temp gauge under the time bar in the top right. If this starts to turn red then it's best to stop firing and let everything cool down.

Know your enemy :

These are alien cannon fodder. Shoot them up and earn 100 credits each. There is one variety that permanently changes colour. Be aware that these little critters will split into 5 separate aliens when hit. None of the aliens like to shoot near the bottom of the screen.

Green meanies are worth 5000 credits but they take a lot of hitting and they fight back to. These get harder to kill as the game progresses.

Hit these to earn power ups. The choice of power ups appear at the top of the screen. Be careful which power up you choose as some are more useful than others. Every 100k you'll get 3 bonus ships on screen at once. Every 200k (if you ever get that far) you'll get the chance to pick super weapons. You can tell when motherships are going to appear as a little tiny mothership will appear near your time bar.

These are very bad ass. They fight like blazes and they're almost impossible to kill. Best to avoid them like the plague but, if you really like a challenge, you'll earn 10k for killing one.

These are alien shields and they don't shoot back so relax. Instead they stop your shots while allowing alien shots to pass through which is probably worse. Their shields will regularly drop for a moment which gives you the chance to destroy them. You earn 2K if you hit one.

These are spikers and they're just a pain. If there are many of them then they quickly become deadly. Killing one earns you 3K.

These are space stations, rockets and satellites and they all belong to you. Do not shoot them or you will be fined. The fines get heavier each time they're given.

Then bask in the glory :

There's a hall of fame for anyone getting a good score. A good score depends more on thinking clearly and staying calm rather than on lightening reflexes. Don't worry if you don't get a good score on your first attempt as your scores will get better with practice. All scores can be found here.

Levels :

The first level of the game requires you to earn all you upgrades. The enemy starts out easy and gradually gets tougher. The more points you earn then the closer you get to a trophy. If you earn a trophy at any level then you're allowed to play at the next level up.

After the standard campaign level there's a hard level for those that like a tough battle from the off. Your weapon is already maxed out to give you a chance.

There's then a boss level for those that feel that hard is just too easy. This level is quite interesting because each screen may have a different task ie shoot 10 aliens on the ground. It's important to read your task before each screen starts.

In between each of these levels is an extreme mode where you only get one life and have no way of earning new lives. These levels are only for the suicidal.

Awards :

You can earn awards within each level. These awards are shown on the trophy screen. You need to earn at least one award to progress to the next level. There are 3 awards available:

Trophy (Not bad)
Hero (Pretty stunning)
Master (Absolutely amazing)

Settings :

Press pause (P) while in the game to bring up the pause/settings screen. You can change the controls to MAME standard, alter the graphics, sounds etc etc. If you're putting the game into your MAME cabinet then you'll want to :
  • change the controls to MAME
  • change the mode from free play to simulated coins
  • store the high scores locally if your cab isn't connected to the net
  • send me a picture of your cab playing the game!
The program is free for personal use but it would make my day if you made a small donation ($5). If you're selling arcade cabinets and want to use the program then you must make a donation for each installation.

Mike Robinson
images by Johannes Bade
installer Launch4J by Mike Eagle