Alien 3 is a different take on the third movie, taking place on planet Fiorina or "Fury" 161, a prison planet. The adventure takes you from your ship orbiting the planet to the smelting pits, and features many different types of aliens for you to shoot in what could only be described as "the face". The game moves at a good clip, and in about a half hour to 45 minutes, depending on how many times you die, you'll be done. The game loops after you beat it, but doesn't really give you much for playing again, limiting replay ability.
The game is pretty difficult, and will be sucking down your quarters at a rapid pace unelss you learn the mechanics and enemy placement. The difficulty comes in a number of different areas, such as the number of enemies, the amount of damage they can take, and the fact that some enemies are going to hurt you and there is nothing you can do to prevent the damage. In addition, your gun has a cool down rate, which if violated slows your rate of fire substantially and leaves you as a sitting duck. It's not particularly difficult to compensate, but it takes some getting used to, especially in hectic boss fights or in the middle of mobs. The triumph of this game is that the difficulty doesn't feel cheap, aside from the inevitable damage. The aliens are strong, but if shot in the head, they go down. The large numbers are true to the Aliens universe, as the aliens hunt in packs, and so forth. As such the game doesn't suffer from the profound sense of hopelessness, but rather thrives on it, heightening the experience.
The graphics at the time weren't terrible, but weren't the greatest either. The monster and character designs held up nicely despite the sprites, and hit detection doesn't suffer in this area as was common of other games at the times. The game has a nice variety of bells and whistles in this department, and is exotic in its depiction of alien baddies, as well as the assorted other beasties you'll be fighting.
The sound is fantastic, and really completes the package. The rifle shots, alien screams, flame throwers, and so forth complete the immersion for the player, making the gameplay even more intense. The music, true to alien form, is extremely dark and dramatic, and progresses with the gameplay rather than getting in the way.
Aliens doesn't break the mold in the traditional sense, but deviates just enough with the help of the alien universe to deliver a satisfying albeit familiar experience. If you have the oppertunity to try this game, do so for a bit of nostalgic fun.