The alien from the video game Alien: Isolation. AP Photo/Sega
The alien from the video game Alien: Isolation. AP Photo/Sega

Alien: Isolation delivers a dose of real sci-fi terror



Ridley Scott's influential sci-fi horror movie Alien has inspired dozens of video games since its debut in 1979, but Alien: Isolation is the first in a while that has aspired to matching the claustrophobic terror of the original film.

Is Isolation as bone-chilling and nerve-racking as its big-screen ­inspiration? Well, not quite – but it does deliver some thrills.

The game takes place 15 years after the events of the film. The protagonist, Amanda Ripley, is searching for her mother – Ellen Ripley – when she follows a lead to the Sevastopol, a decommissioned space station. Unfortunately, the joint has also attracted a visit from one of the toothsome alien xenomorphs that wiped out Ellen Ripley's crewmates on the spaceship ­Nostromo.

The Sevastopol is a fascinating ­environment, with a retro-­futuristic design that looks like something you’d see in, well, a 1970s sci-fi movie. The computers run on a primitive version of DOS. The emergency check-in points – where you save your progress – look like wall-mounted pay phones. There aren’t any high-powered plasma rifles – the most effective weapon you’ll find is a flame-thrower.

Amanda has to scavenge everything she needs to survive, including medical equipment, bullets and the materials to build bombs. There are a few friendly humans still on-board, but most have degenerated into a desperate survival mode and aren’t too welcoming. Worse, the androids that help run the station have gone haywire and are more likely to strangle you than assist you.

Of course, the nastiest threat is still that hungry alien. You can’t kill it, and if it sees you, you have only a few seconds to live before it turns you into lunch. You do, however, have a hand-held motion detector that starts beeping and displays a moving dot if the xenomorph is in the vicinity. When that happens, your best option is to stay hidden until the beast goes away or finds someone else to chomp on.

It’s a unique game mechanic that requires a lot of patience. If the alien kills you – and it will, frequently – you are sent all the way back to your last save point, which can mean losing up to a half-hour of progress. I’ve had few gaming experiences more frustrating than being inches away from the next save point, only to suddenly realise an alien claw had just penetrated my intestines.

Your overall goal is simple – get off the Sevastopol – but Isolation requires you to go back and forth across the space station so many times that it becomes awfully ­repetitive.

The 20-hour mission could easily have been cut in half and still been rewarding. And I never jumped out of my seat like I did while watching the movie in the cinema decades ago.

Still, fans of the original film will find much to savour – even as the beast is sinking its teeth into them.

• Alien: Isolation, from Sega, is available now for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PC

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Znap

Started: 2017

Founder: Uday Rathod

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: FinTech

Funding size: $1m+

Investors: Family, friends

57 Seconds

Director: Rusty Cundieff
Stars: Josh Hutcherson, Morgan Freeman, Greg Germann, Lovie Simone
Rating: 2/5

Indoor Cricket World Cup

Venue Insportz, Dubai, September 16-23

UAE squad Saqib Nazir (captain), Aaqib Malik, Fahad Al Hashmi, Isuru Umesh, Nadir Hussain, Sachin Talwar, Nashwan Nasir, Prashath Kumara, Ramveer Rai, Sameer Nayyak, Umar Shah, Vikrant Shetty

Dunki

Director: Rajkumar Hirani 

Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Taapsee Pannu, Vikram Kochhar and Anil Grover

Rating: 4/5

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
The pillars of the Dubai Metaverse Strategy

Encourage innovation in the metaverse field and boost economic contribution

Develop outstanding talents through education and training

Develop applications and the way they are used in Dubai's government institutions

Adopt, expand and promote secure platforms globally

Develop the infrastructure and regulations

Reading List

Practitioners of mindful eating recommend the following books to get you started:

Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life by Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr Lilian Cheung

How to Eat by Thich Nhat Hanh

The Mindful Diet by Dr Ruth Wolever

Mindful Eating by Dr Jan Bays

How to Raise a Mindful Eaterby Maryann Jacobsen

The specs

Engine: Dual synchronous electric motors
Power: 660hp
Torque: 1,100Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Touring range: 488km-560km
Price: From Dh850,000 (estimate)
On sale: October

SPECS

Engine: Supercharged 3.5-litre V6
Power: 400hp
Torque: 430Nm
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh450,000

The specs

Engine: 6.5-litre V12 and three electric motors
Power: 1,015hp
Torque: 1,500Nm (estimate)
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
On sale: Early 2024
Price: From Dh2 million (estimate)

Company Profile

Company name: myZoi
Started: 2021
Founders: Syed Ali, Christian Buchholz, Shanawaz Rouf, Arsalan Siddiqui, Nabid Hassan
Based: UAE
Number of staff: 37
Investment: Initial undisclosed funding from SC Ventures; second round of funding totalling $14 million from a consortium of SBI, a Japanese VC firm, and SC Venture

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Tailors and retailers miss out on back-to-school rush

Tailors and retailers across the city said it was an ominous start to what is usually a busy season for sales.
With many parents opting to continue home learning for their children, the usual rush to buy school uniforms was muted this year.
“So far we have taken about 70 to 80 orders for items like shirts and trousers,” said Vikram Attrai, manager at Stallion Bespoke Tailors in Dubai.
“Last year in the same period we had about 200 orders and lots of demand.
“We custom fit uniform pieces and use materials such as cotton, wool and cashmere.
“Depending on size, a white shirt with logo is priced at about Dh100 to Dh150 and shorts, trousers, skirts and dresses cost between Dh150 to Dh250 a piece.”

A spokesman for Threads, a uniform shop based in Times Square Centre Dubai, said customer footfall had slowed down dramatically over the past few months.

“Now parents have the option to keep children doing online learning they don’t need uniforms so it has quietened down.”

The biog

Favourite books: 'Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life' by Jane D. Mathews and ‘The Moment of Lift’ by Melinda Gates

Favourite travel destination: Greece, a blend of ancient history and captivating nature. It always has given me a sense of joy, endless possibilities, positive energy and wonderful people that make you feel at home.

Favourite pastime: travelling and experiencing different cultures across the globe.

Favourite quote: “In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders” - Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook.

Favourite Movie: Mona Lisa Smile 

Favourite Author: Kahlil Gibran

Favourite Artist: Meryl Streep

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

SPECS

Engine: Twin-turbocharged 4-litre V8
Power: 625 bhp
Torque: 630Nm
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh974,011

The five pillars of Islam
CONFIRMED LINE-UP

Elena Rybakina (Kazakhstan)
Ons Jabeur (Tunisia)
Maria Sakkari (Greece)
Barbora Krejčíková (Czech Republic)
Beatriz Haddad Maia (Brazil)
Jeļena Ostapenko (Latvia)
Liudmila Samsonova
Daria Kasatkina 
Veronika Kudermetova 
Caroline Garcia (France) 
Magda Linette (Poland) 
Sorana Cîrstea (Romania) 
Anastasia Potapova 
Anhelina Kalinina (Ukraine)  
Jasmine Paolini (Italy) 
Emma Navarro (USA) 
Lesia Tsurenko (Ukraine)
Naomi Osaka (Japan) - wildcard
Emma Raducanu (Great Britain) - wildcard

Our legal consultants

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Porsche Macan T: The Specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo 

Power: 265hp from 5,000-6,500rpm 

Torque: 400Nm from 1,800-4,500rpm 

Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto 

Speed: 0-100kph in 6.2sec 

Top speed: 232kph 

Fuel consumption: 10.7L/100km 

On sale: May or June 

Price: From Dh259,900  

The Africa Institute 101

Housed on the same site as the original Africa Hall, which first hosted an Arab-African Symposium in 1976, the newly renovated building will be home to a think tank and postgraduate studies hub (it will offer master’s and PhD programmes). The centre will focus on both the historical and contemporary links between Africa and the Gulf, and will serve as a meeting place for conferences, symposia, lectures, film screenings, plays, musical performances and more. In fact, today it is hosting a symposium – 5-plus-1: Rethinking Abstraction that will look at the six decades of Frank Bowling’s career, as well as those of his contemporaries that invested social, cultural and personal meaning into abstraction. 

The Lowdown

Kesari

Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Produced by: Dharma Productions, Azure Entertainment
Directed by: Anubhav Singh
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Parineeti Chopra