Aliens versus Predator - PC - Review
How long have I anticipated this game? Probably since I saw the movies in the theaters and read the comic books. In approximately 1996-7, Fox released a game called "Alien Trilogy" with Acclaim Entertainment. Alien Trilogy fell short even for its time and got lost in a sea of Doom clones. I can’t remember what magazine I saw it in, but sometime in December there was a large preview for Aliens versus Predator. I was excited, to say the least. I, of course, played all the demos I could and read every article I could get my hands on leading up to its release. Fox’s full release version claims some of the best graphics, sound, and concept for a first-person shooter.
What is Aliens versus Predator about? Unless you have been in frozen storage since 1979, you should at least recognize the title and genre of this game. Terror and paranoia are your constant companions. What lurks around the next corner? Is your next move going to be your last? Or, you can play as the monster, either an alien or a predator. This makes Aliens versus Predator more like three games in one with an entirely different game based on whether you choose a colonial marine, alien, or predator. As a colonial marine, you realize just how fragile human life is and just how scary darkness can be. Heavy weapons are your only security blanket and a motion detector your guide. Turn the wrong direction and your game is over. The alien is a fragile creature, as well, with limited range but deadly claws. Its benefits include lightning speed and the ability to cling to any surface. The predator is a skilled hunter stalking for dangerous prey. Its strength is its advanced technology; its weakness: Advanced technology. The predator survives by relying on scarce energy to power his weapons. Because of the differences in these three character types, the feeling generated during game play is unique for each one.
The graphics are done very well, especially explosions, fire, water, characters and gore. Yes, gore. This game does not pull any punches; it is based on two horror movies after all. I caught myself admiring the particle generation used in the blood spurting out of a dying character’s severed limb, then wondered if that much detail was really needed. But, like I said, it is based on horror movies, and it was given a mature audience rating.
The sound was well done and kept the feeling of paranoia and fear all the way through the game -- no matter what character you were playing. A lot of the sounds were accurate and represented the characters from the movies well, right down to the varying pitch of the marine’s pulse rifle.
My only gripe about this game is the lack of a save option (which is being remedied soon, so look for a patch update). It just doesn’t seem fair to fight all the way through a level and be defeated within sight of the finish line, does it? The worst is that the game seems to lock up after you make a kill with the predator. That is the worst because your game is going great and you are confident that you will finish -- until you have to start over after a complete reboot. Having to redo levels over and over makes it a very difficult game. However, the monsters/victims are in different locations each time, so you still don’t know what to expect. Not to mention if you get tired of playing as one character, you can always switch for a while. I recommend switching after playing a few levels anyway because it gives you a better idea of what to expect from the other characters you run into constantly, even though their locations change when you restart a level. Or, play the skirmish option, which is a sort of single player deathmatch. This gives you a feel for online gaming without the taunting.
The game controls were easy to understand and handle, although some of the strategy comes with practice. Get used to switching visual modes with all of the characters, especially the marine. The marine’s motion detector is fairly easy to pick up on, but it doesn’t work with the light intensifier. Learn to switch back and forth and when to do it. Also, the predator has several different image enhancers to choose from that all help you see different elements and items. Another thing that takes time is adjusting to the alien’s point of view. Its speed can be overwhelming at times, as well as 120E of fish-eye lens vision. If speed and vision aren’t challenging enough, try getting disoriented running on floors, walls, ceilings, and objects, as well. The alien is the greatest challenge of all, and I believe it to be the most fun character to play.
If you are an alien or predator fan, I suggest this game. Or, if you are looking for a fresh concept and real challenge in a first-person shooter, you won’t be disappointed. Where else can you get three stellar state-of-the-art games for the price of one?