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SummaryGreat capture of each movie's feel, but get the sequel if you want a solid game.
The GoodPossibly the coolest "new" monsters to have sprung out of hollywood in the 80's and 90's, both aliens and the predator managed to get themselves into lots of movie-licensed crap that tried to cash in on their popularity, yet in the world of videogames, it wasn't until this game came out that a true emulation of each movie's feel and ambience was reached. Not on the original AVP, not on Alien Trilogy, and certainly not on the old NES Predator game.
The game is filled with visual and aureal hallmarks from each movie, with trademark sounds like the familiar hiss of an alien, the whirrrr-like sound of the colonial marine's pulse rifle, the predator's weird jaw-clenching sound and a graphics engine that delivers really good graphics with great lightning effects (a must since the game puts a heavy emphasis on dark locales and the use of alternate viewing modes).
The game offers three well-defined playing styles for each species, making for a nice premise in which to develop a game. The Marine is the most average character and plays like a standard fps character, with standard weapons health/armor indicators, etc. However playing with the marine will be anything but a soothing experience even to experienced players thanks to the game's disposition to put you in completely nerve-wrecking situations. You'll fight through dark corridors swarming with never-ending hordes of super-fast aliens that pop up from anywhere (like that nice little vent above you) with a perfect re-creation of the movie's motion detector to add to the tension and rather ineffective night vision aids to help spook you out. It's Doom 3 baby!!
The alien plays like an assassin-like character, with a simple interface and low health, but with a lightning-fast speed and agility, and the ability to climb on ceilings and walls to remain undetected. Certainly offering the game's most original and entertaining gaming experience, while the Predator plays like a souped-up version of the standard fps character, with additions like vision modes for every situation, cloaking capabilities, auto-targeting weapons, etc. etc. Clearly the most cheater (though satisfying in it's superiority) character to play with.
Furthermore, the game gives you multiplayer options, a skirmish (aka survival) game mode, and the chance to play the other species levels as a bonus when you finish with each character as well as an option to unlock secret cheats that change gameplay by say, putting all your enemies on fire, put disco music, give every character a giant head, etc. etc.
The BadAs good as the gameplay premise and the capture of the licensed material's spirit is. The game feels like an empty shell to me. First of all there is no story whatsoever to the game, there is some garbage about getting out alive for the marine, avenging a fallen comrade for the predator and protecting your hive as the alien, but it's merely a sketchy excuse to tie the levels together.
Fine by me, right? At least the gameplay's good! Sorry but no.
The gameplay may be intense, but save for the case of the alien, it grows boring pretty fast. Both the marine and the predator are nerve-wrecking corridor-crawling, and sniping-sneaking experiences sure, but there's no npcs to interact with, no Half Life-like set-pieces, no clever level progression, no-nothing, gameplay boils down to just go flick the switch/get the key, exit the level, and try to survive in the middle. And the additional gameplay modes only dwell in the same concepts.
Such a throwback to the ancient ways of fps gaming led me to believe that the designers focussed on creating a near-perfect emulation of the movies, but when it came down to put that "spirit" on a game they just run out of ideas! That is why I feel this game is like a soul without a body, a diamond that has yet to be cutted, an idea without a game. Guess they just didn't have time and saved the "game" for the sequel.
Also, on a minor note for those that are really picky, there are some still not-perfect things when it comes down to the rendition of the movies, like the predator's view-mode change, or the lack of some of his weapons (spear, netgun, etc.) plus while I understand that the level design focuses on the Alien trilogy of movies due to the more identifiable landmarks (Nostromo, Sulaco, Fury41, etc.) I don't see why they didn't try to capture any of the jungle-hunting that made Predator so good. There's no jungle to speak of in the game, and they failed to emulate the predator's hopping and jumping around like in the movie.
Regarding the lack of an in-game saving option I am just going to say that the developers have some nerve to release a game like this (where it can all be over in a couple of seconds just because you didn't see that cloaked predator or an alien got the drop on you) without one, and NO, I'm not happy with the patch, stop trying to tell me when or how I should save my games, you stupid a-holes!!!!!!
The Bottom LineWhen you focus so much on a certain aspect of a game sometimes you tend to leave things out, and that's just what happened to this game. They concentrated on the graphics and sounds and whatnot and they left out... well, the game!! Don't get me wrong, the game offers solid entertainment, but lacks that cohesiveness that makes a game a unique experience.
However there is a solution for this: Aliens Vs Predator 2, which does remember to include a unique gaming experience to ensure it's worth.