Area 51

Area 51

Everybody's favorite secret military facility is being overrun by escaped aliens, and it's up to the S.T.A.A.R. to clean up the mess in this 1995 light-gun shooter by Atari.


Area 51 (not to be confused with the 2005 remake of the same name) is a sci-fi horror on-rails light-gun shooter developed by Mesa Logic and released by Atari for arcades (running Jaguar-based hardware) in 1995.

The first game by Mesa Logic, Area 51 puts players as members of an elite military group known as S.T.A.A.R. (Special Tactical Advanced Alien Response) as they must infiltrate the titular military facility and prevent it from being overrun by the escaped aliens (who have infected the facility's soldiers, transforming them into zombie-like creatures).

The game makes heavy use of pre-rendered 3D video, with separate sprites (also pre-rendered 3D) for enemies and special effects and digitized actors for certain non-playable characters.

It was later ported by Perfect (PC version) and Tantalus (console versions) and released by Midway and GT Interactive for the PC on September 30, 1996, the Sega Saturn on November 20, 1996, and the Sony PlayStation on November 26, 1996). The Japanese version was co-released by Softbank, with the PS1 version released on February 7, 1997 and the Saturn version released on March 20, 1997. The European version was released on the PS1 on March 14, 1997 and on the Saturn on May 1997.

Mesa Logic later made the game's 1997 spiritual sequel, Maximum Force, with the same hardware, and later bundled both games together (with new hidden content) in the same arcade board in 1998 as Area 51 / Maximum Force DUO. The game also received a 1998 sequel, titled Area 51: Site 4, and a short-lived first-person shooter remake series in 2005.