Written by  :  Lucas Schippers (59)
Written on  :  Aug 04, 2002
Platform  :  Windows

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Summary

If you love the FPS genre, or Aliens the film for that matter, pick this up now!

The Good

Do you remember the first time you watched Aliens? Remember when the colonial marines are just entering the colony complex, and they're splitting off into squads to scour the complex for survivors? Remember how tense you were as you tried, vainly, to spot movement in the hallways and abandoned rooms? Remember the constant beat of the motion trackers? The first human mission of Aliens Versus Predator 2 eerily recreates those moments of the film right down to the smallest detail. I couldn't believe that I was exactly getting tense playing a computer game, something that had never, ever happened to me before. When I finally spotted movement in the game, I was so charged up I fired wildly at it with my pulse rifle, decimating what turned out to be a large beetle.

To be fair, I was playing the game on the hardest difficulty setting, which doesn't allow you to save during a mission. This, combined with the game's naturally dark, humid tunnels and confined spaces, creates a truly frightening atmosphere that dares you to poke your head through that open doorway. I counted half a dozen deaths that literally made me jump in my seat. Impressive, to say the least.

AVP2 features three distinct races, each with its own weaponry, tactics and so on. This is a very nice option, and I wish more developers would exploit the potential inherent in this game design. Unlike Starcraft or Warcraft III, which feature a linear storyline that develops as you play each race, AVP2 tells the same story from the distinct perspectives of each race. Thus, each time you play the game through, you get further insights into the dark dealings of the game's doomed research complex.

The weapons are just as cool as you would expect them to be (provided you're a die-hard Aliens fan like myself). The colonial marines are the most traditional, featuring everything from small arms to heavy automatic weapons. The predator must be played more stealthily, sniping at enemies from the cover of its cloaking. The alien is a blast to play, whether you're scuttling along the floor as the facehugger or pouncing on your next meal as a full-grown xenomorph.

Everything else, from graphics to sound design, is top-notch and rivals anything being done with the Quake III engine.

The Bad

I only have one nitpicky gripe against an otherwise excellent game. You'll occasionally come across design gaffes which force you to know what the programmers were thinking in order to win. The most glaring of these comes at the end of the marine campaign, in which you are attacked by a pair of praetorian aliens while standing on a precipice with a dropship behind you. I died at least four or five times trying vainly to kill the onrushing praetorians before I learned that they were invulnerable, and that the only way to win is to jump into the dropship (which I hadn't really paid attention to since it was behind me). I hate that kind of game design, and wish that developers would design endgame segments more logically.

The Bottom Line

It's your standard FPS done right. Plus it's set in the Aliens universe, so you can't go wrong.