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Alien 3 for the Game Gear is loosely based on the movie of the same name. Players take on the role of Ripley and must work their way through a series of expansive and multi-layered levels freeing humans that the Aliens have captured. There is a time limit on each level; if players cannot find and free all the humans before the limit ends, the game is over. Since humans can be trapped in a variety of places on each level, players must thoroughly explore the stages in order to advance.
Players can acquire and use several different types of weapons after finding their ammunition pick-up. Ripley can carry multiple weapons at the same time, but each weapon has a limited ammunition supply. Ripley also has a health gauge that decreases as the Aliens attack or after landing from a long fall. If Ripley's health gauge reaches zero, players lose a life. Finding and collecting the appropriate power-up can replenish the life gauge.
In addition to jumping and shooting, players can use lifts, open doors, climb ladders and even crawl through tunnels in the levels. Players can shoot while crawling, but cannot shoot while jumping. It is possible to shoot vertically or even diagonally while standing, however. Aliens are must faster than Ripley and generally cannot be avoided, so they must be shot. Each creature takes several shots from the standard gun to dispatch, but unlike their movie cousins, do not leave an acid pool when killed. ~ Kyle Knight, All Game Guide