The movie universes two most famous angry aliens clash… again.
Reviewed for SquareGo here.
Aliens vs Predator
Aliens and Predators, the movie world’s favourite extra-terrestrial killing machines are gracing the videogame world again in the the 25th major game to feature the creatures (and the 10th to see them pitted against each other!)
Finally rendered in state of the art visuals and sound, the game lets you really hear every inch of the spinal column being torn from a body, and see a chestburster live up to its name in full visual glory.
It’s a fairly winning formula Rebellion have been perfecting. The player chooses which of the three races to play; Alien, Predator or Human and battles through the same series of maps from different perspectives and with vastly differing goals.
The plot revolves around a giant pyramid used as a training ground for young Predators to try their wits and might against Alien warriors. Naturally Humans have stuck their noses in, building a colony and research base on the site and when the Preds come down to play, all havoc breaks loose.
It’s up to the player to either lead their Predator to victory over the Aliens, killing the offending interlopers along the way; or lead an Alien to free her Queen and escape. If you’re a Human, just simply try to get the hell out of there in one piece.
Rebellion should be pretty good at this by now as this is their third AVP title. The first being on the Atari Jaguar and then another on the PC. However they seem to have taken more than a little inspiration from the Monolith created official sequel AVP2, eschewing the terrifying close-quarters, instant death combat of their original for a more plot-driven and weapon balanced approach. Whilst this does make the game a little easier, it does take away some of the terror and mythos when a Marine can pistol-whip an Alien to death.
Not that the game is entirely fair in it’s balancing, fps fans will lament the lack of a crouch ability or an aim function on all weapons save the hugely overpowered Sniper rifle. These feel like unfair bindings, especially when there are unused buttons on the control-pad. It also means that on the PC the game is far simpler as the mouse-keyboard combo allows far more accuracy.
The other issue is that the three campaigns don’t match up, despite using the same locations. The Alien game feels criminally short, with the only real challenge coming from the occasionally near psychic ability of Marines to spot you in the pitch darkness and the final Predator boss-fights. Compare this to the vastly more difficult Marine levels, where sometimes it feels simply unfair due to the sheer weight of enemy numbers.
The Predator comes out on top overall, as the controls and weaponry actually feel about right. Being able to hold your own against swarms of Xenomorphs using only a throwing disc and wristblades is hugely satisfying, especially as the Pred can leap and bound from trees and ledges in a way that just feels ‘right’.
The multiplayer, as well as having the usual deathmatches, lets bands of marines battle aliens till the last man falls. There is also a singleplayer survivor mode, where a single marine has to live through waves of enemies for as long as possible but sadly it becomes dull rather quickly.
If you are a fan of the films there’s a lot to like here, just expect to feel frustrated rather than challenged, and for the disc to be collecting dust in a few months.