For those not in the know, H.R. Giger is the artist who created the "biomechanical" aesthetic. This is one of those weird situations where the artist's name isn't nearly as famous as his work is. Typically, people associate the aesthetic with Alien (think that sweaty, slimy, ridgy, organic aesthetic).
Alien's visual style is impossible to separate from Giger, as he was directly responsible for it. The classic xenomorph design itself wasn't service built for Alien, it predates that film. When you have an aesthetic this notably famous, you can guarantee it is going to make its way into video games.
Contra is an absolute titan in the world of run 'n gun video games. While the game starts out as being a conflict in the jungle, the further you progress, the more enemies you encounter that take on a more extraterrestrial appearance. But these aren't just any aliens — these are distinctly xenomorphic aliens.
Of course, while the aesthetics here are pretty clear-cut homages, the more you dig the more you see that Contra was pretty explicitly referencing the Alien films. An easy-to-miss nod that helps make this link crystal clear is that protagonists Bill Rizer and Lance Bean are both references to the primary actors from the film Aliens (Bill Paxton, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, and Michael Biehn). The Contra series is one that wears its influences on its sleeve.
9 Dark Seed 2
While Dark Seed 2 isn't a direct collaboration with Giger like the first game, the developers did license his work. The Dark World is still extraordinarily cool to explore in Dark Seed 2, but it doesn't have the same impact as it did in the first game. However, while the Giger-specific elements are weaker here, everything else is better.
The writing is far better (and carries a strong Twin Peaks vibe), the characters feel more fleshed out, and the game is less cruel (though some of the "puzzles" are still incomprehensible). However, the music isn't much better. Still, as a game, Dark Seed 2 is a very enjoyable classic point-and-click adventure title.
8 Axiom Verge
Axiom Verge is a fantastically creative Metroidvania that incorporates a number of elements of Giger's aesthetic. Thomas Happ, the creator of the game, talked about his influences being Metroid and Contra (both series influenced by Giger). He also further elaborated on the aesthetic of the game being biomechanical which is, of course, the name of Giger's art style.
Axiom Verge is absolutely beautiful. It does a fantastic job of capturing that element of intermingling beauty with horror that Giger liked to explore in some of his work. If you enjoy the Metroidvania genre, and you have an appreciation for Giger, this biomechanical nightmare may be right up your alley.
7 Streets Of Rage 2
Streets of Rage 2 has no ties to the horror genre. At least it doesn't until you reach the third stage of the game and you wander into a Gigerian nightmare. Inspiration can come from strange places, and the team at Sega was clearly inspired to insert a little horror into their beat 'em up.
The developer's art for this stage shows sketches that look very similar to the Giger scenery found in the Alien franchise (especially when it comes to design elements like the alien eggs). This is unsurprising as Ayano Koshiro, Streets Of Rage 2's designer, stated that this stage had an "alien-theme". She also stated that the Contra games had a strong influence on the developers of Streets of Rage 2, which is another interesting causal link to Giger.
6 Tormentum: Dark Sorrow
Tormentum feels like a spiritual successor to the notable Dark Seed games. Its developers, OhNoo studios, have stated on the Steam page for their game that Giger was a direct influence on the aesthetic of Tormentum, which almost goes without saying.
Featuring a world filled with Giger-esque art, Tormentum is an absolutely stellar puzzle game. While the aesthetic doesn't have the same authenticity as Dark Seed, it still does a great job utilizing Giger's distinct style. Also, the puzzles here are some of the most engaging you will encounter in all the Giger-influenced games.
5 Alien Breed
Another great action game that used Giger's Xenomorph designs as an active inspiration, this is an absolutely legendary top-down arcade shooter. Alien Breed sees you trampling through grotesque biomechanical environments and shooting hordes of Xenomorphs. The action is immediate and oh-so-satisfying.
When asked about the influence of Alien, one of the primary developers, Andreas Tadic, stated that Giger's Xenomorph design, and the Alien films as a whole, were a huge inspiration. The graphic artist who worked on the games, Rico Holmes said, "you couldn't make them much scarier than the [Aliens] film".
4 Alien Isolation
Of course, all Alien games are Giger influenced due to them utilizing his aesthetics as a baseline. While Alien Isolation does not spend the majority of its gameplay set in a Giger-esque environment, that does change substantially when you reach the hive at the end of the game. Naturally, throughout the course of the game, you are hunted by the series' titular Alien. And it has never been better rendered in a game than it is here.
Other Aliens games may have you spending more time in a Giger-inspired, alien environment, but none of them capture the horror elements like Alien Isolation does. And, ultimately, horror feels like a pretty important component of Giger's work.
3 Dark Seed
The developers of Dark Seed were so inspired by Giger's work that they went one step further than most developers and actually collaborated with the legendary artist. As a direct result, Dark Seed is absolutely filled with extraordinarily detailed pieces of Giger's art. Visually, this is an impressive title that absolutely stands the test of time.
The rest of the game doesn't fare as well; the writing is simple, the music is grating, and the gameplay is deeply unfair (you will frequently need to restart unless you carefully follow a guide). That being said, it cannot be understated how interesting it is to explore the Dark World sections. Dark Seed almost feels like a virtual tour of Giger's art. That alone makes it a special experience.
2 Jaseiken Necromancer
Jaseiken Necromancer is another game that officially collaborated with Giger. The horrifying box art was, in fact, drawn by the horror legend. However, his influences are all over this grim JRPG (he even receives a special thanks in the game's end credits). While the setting initially feels more like a traditional fantasy world, by the time you reach the end of the game you will be wandering around a distinctly biomechanical dungeon filled with otherworldly, tentacled creatures.
While Necromancer never received an official English release, the Japanese version of the game has been made available to the west multiple times: once as a Wii-U virtual console title, and again as a backing with the Turbografx-16 Mini. While it is an RPG, it is absolutely something you can work your way through without knowing any Japanese.
1 Super Metroid
When playing Super Metroid you can certainly see Giger's influences. Certain bosses, such as the iconic Ridley, exhibit that quality. The later parts of Zebes also have that distinctly biomechanical aesthetic. Additionally, the Chozo statues that hold Samus' upgrades look extraordinarily similar to the fossilized remains of the alien pilot seen at the beginning of the first Alien film.
However, none of this should come as a surprise; Yoshio Sakamoto, the director of the Metroid series, has said that Giger was an influence on the Metroid team's work. Ultimately, Super Metroid is a fantastic game and while it only uses Giger's aesthetic for certain sections, it is still something that fans of the artist should play. It is certainly one of the best games to showcase Giger's impact.
Next: Disturbing Easter Eggs That Will Keep You Up At Night
When was H.R. Giger born? ›Did H.R. Giger create the Xenomorph? ›
H.R. Giger, the Swiss artist responsible for creating the Xenomorph from "Alien," was notably uncredited in designing the rest of the franchise's creatures. Sure, his name appears in the end credits as the original designer of the alien creature, but that's the extent of his involvement.What inspired H.R. Giger? ›
According to Hirsch, the Giger family home in Chur fueled his anxieties. "(He) recalled open windows that went to dark alleys, the cellars of that old building that sparked fears in him very early on," he said. "Those fears were matched with an early fascination that those things had for him."