Lost In Translation/Area 51

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This page is a stub for arcade games that are part of the Lost In Translation series using information based on MAME (version 0.113u2).
For an example of preferred content and layout please refer to Out Run or The Ninja Warriors.

Area 51
Area 51 marquee.
No screen shot.
Area 51 control panel.
Manufacturer Atari Games
Released 1996
1 Button(s)
Main CPU Atari Jaguar
R3000 (big) (@ 33.000 MHz)
Jaguar GPU (@ 26.000 MHz)
Sound CPU Stereo
(2x) DAC
Raster (Horizontal)
320 x 240 pixels
60.00 Hz
65,534 Palette colours
Screens 1
ROM Info 4 ROMs plus Laserdisc, Hard Disk or CD-ROM
2,097,152 bytes (2.00 MiB)
MAME ID area51 · area51a · area51t

About The Game


Released in October 1995.

Developed by Mesa Logic for Atari (although also licensed as a Time Warner product in certain territories), Area 51 was the first game for the Cojag hardware. The 'Cojag' represents Coin-Operated Jaguar, as in the Atari console. The Jaguar hardware was adapted for use in an arcade setting, with a slightly modified board to bring it in line with the standard Atari arcade system. Since the hardware could process very large amounts of data, it was considered far cheaper to store this on an IDE hard drive, connected to the main board. The hard drive was the key to the game play's movie capability. There's about 23 minutes of video on the 1 GB hard drive. The Cojag system can support 16Bit video streams. The original Area 51 uses 1 15 Bit stream for the main video, and an additional 1 Bit stream for the Kronn Hunter palette corruption. Apparently Atari wanted the sprites in Kronn Hunter mode to change colour as the chance of them killing you increased, but this idea was abandoned. It did, however, resurface in some of the home versions.

Another interesting fact is that the software designer had the option of using either a 68010 or a MIPS R3000 as the primary CPU - making the Cojag the first 2 in 1 hardware option, although it was more of a hotswappable system than two processors in one. Indeed, later production runs of Area 51 used the R3000, for greater compatibility with "Maximum Force", the followup game.

Note : Often associated with UFO lore, Area 51 is originally the former designation by Department of Energy of a plot of land in Nevada. Sometimes referred to as Groom Lake or Dreamland, the United States government is believed to operate some sort of research and development center there (Some claim that the facility is now closed).

The music was done by Michael Stein and NOT by Jeanne Parson (even if officialy credited on the credits roll). She was pissed that Rob Rowe hired an outside guy. She was on staff, but Rob didnt like her music.

Rick Haynes holds the official record for this game with 2,188,400 points on April 10, 1999.



  • Software version : 2.03CJ
  • Build date : OS : Oct 25 1995 10 :19 :38 / MAIN : Oct 25 1995 11 :08 :10


  • Software version : 2.03CJ
  • Build date : OS : Nov 15 1995 13 :32 :32 / MAIN : Nov 27 1995 15 :51 :56


  • Software version : 2.06CJ
  • Build date : OS : Nov 11 1996 11 :46 :43 / MAIN : Oct 24 1996 12 :02 :23

Tips and tricks

  • Kronn Hunter Mode : At the beginning of the game, shoot the first three STAAR team members you see with the first three bullets (don't reload or miss). If you did this right you'll enter Kronn Hunter mode. In this mode, you are a mercenary from the Kronn hierarchy sent to sterilize Area 51 of the Kronn rebels. You will notice that the grenades, bullets, shotgun shells and machine gun bullets have all taken on a Kronn form.
  • Egg Cellent : On the forklift ride shoot all the barrels before and after the ride. There will be a partially hidden barrel you will have to shoot to the left of the forklift. This will lead you to 'egg cellent' where you shoot eggs and baby aliens.
  • Chow Palace : After your first progress report in Area 51, where it tells you your percentage and things like that, you will see a wall lined with windows. Shoot all the windows across the entire wall and you will be in the power up room, where you can see aliens attacking women and power-ups all over the screen.
  • Secret Area Before Final Boss : Right before you fight the Final Boss when you are outside, you will go to an area with zombies throwing barrels. Shoot all the barrels that are not thrown and you will go to a secret area filled with power ups.
  • Head Quarters : To see the alien restroom, you must shoot three blue lights that appear in the corners of the screen. At the beginning of the game, when you enter the building, shoot the first blue light in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. At the conclusion of level 1, while the screen is spinning, shoot the remaining two blue lights in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
  • Secret Level : In the office building, you will go into a series of 2 or 3 doors with nameplates on all of them, shoot them all and then you will go into a secret room with power ups and an alien girl at the bottom.
  • X Marks The Spot : On the helicopter ride, shoot all of the boxes with flames on them. If done correctly, you will be sent into 'X Marks The Spot', which is a room where you keep breaking the glass on a wall with your guns to reveal a picture of a female police-person lying there in a very inviting position.
  • Spider Splat : In the level Computer Room Lockdown (where you can shoot the 13 computer terminal screens at the beginning of the level to get to the secret room). When the camera pans to the third scene, with the fire extinguishers and the staircase is in front of you, I'm not sure exactly what must be done, but if you shoot enough stuff you'll get access to a secret room called 'Spider Splat' where you have to shoot spiders that drop from the ceiling and save a woman.


  1. Area 51 (1995)
  2. Area 51 - Site 4 (1998)


Rob Rowe
Charlie Grisafi

Mesa logic Team

Concept & Game Design
Robert Weatherby
3-D Animation
James Mestemaker
Guy Fumagalli
Hector Silva
James Webb

Atari Team

Game Design
Mike Hally
Art & Design
Steve Caterson
Video Production Specialist
Brent Englund
Lead Technician
Darrell Robinson
Stop-Motion Animator
Jody Burgess
Product Manager
Derryl DePriest
Audio & Music
Michael Stein
(Jeanne Parson wrongly credited)
Hardware Engineer
Brian McKee
Sr. Engineering Tech.
Patrick Hubbell

Cabinet and Artwork


Sega Saturn (1996)
Sony PlayStation (1996)
PC [CD-ROM] (1996)
LCD handheld game (1996, Tiger Electronics)

The contents of this page are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
The sources used include MAME (version 0.113u2) and history.dat (revision 1.28 - 2008-10-18).
Please see http://www.arcade-history.com for credits.