Opened in London by Sigourney Weaver on 15th October 1993, Alien War was the first 'total reality' attraction in the world. Housed in the basement of the Trocadero Centre off Piccadilly Circus, Alien War was the brainchild of directors John Gorman and Gary Gillies. Harry was employed from 6th September to 1st October 1993, starting off as concept lighting designer then moving to the art department.
After a very successful run the attraction closed in August 1996. As Alien War remains a popular subject for discussion among fans the decision was made to feature it here.
The public would enter the attraction in a group of around 12, being met by an actor in the role (and uniform) of a colonial marine. While in the briefing room they were welcomed to the facility and told about their forthcoming guided tour. They were then interrupted by another marine who informed them that there had been a stasis breach in the xenomorph containment section of the base. The marines then had to lead the group through the base and out to safety. The group were indeed led through a winding maze of dimly lit corridors designed to resemble the colony complex from Aliens. At certain moments the group was subjected to attacks from alien warriors, fought off of course by the armed marines. The group proceeded over an egg area into an escape vehicle, which was itself overrun by aliens, and finally into an elevator to lead them to their safety. The experience would last around twenty minutes.
The marines were equipped with pulse rifles using a unique system called Soundfire whereby the gun emitted an infra red signal when fired, which was received by sensors built into the set. The sensors in turn told the central computer to play back a digital sample of pulse rifle fire to the necessary area. The sample playback system also provided sounds such as klaxons, warning announcements etc., all sampled from the Aliens soundtrack. Technical difficulties prevented the Soundfire system from being used until April 1994, up until when the marines used blank firing pistols.
Alien warriors were played by very tall actors in suits similar to those used in Aliens the movie; lycra bodysuits with latex rubber patches attached. Two automated attacks were also installed; one in the emergency escape vehicle took the form of a facehugger which dropped down a short distance from a hatch in the roof, only to quickly return when shot at by a marine. The other mechanical attack was an alien warrior head which came through the roof of the elevator. This head included moving jaw and running drool (water).
An interview with Harry appeared in issue 2 of the Alien Trilogy Fan Club newsletter (1993), where he spoke extensively about Alien War.