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aka: 51 Qu
Moby ID: 18069
PlayStation 2 Specs

Description official descriptions

Area 51, the urban legend, is a U.S. military-controlled base in the Nevada desert, apparently containing a secret aircraft testing facility. It is also famed as the subject of many UFO conspiracy theories. Area-51, the game, is a first-person shooter (FPS) set in this particular base, now infested with rampant aliens and a mutagenic virus that changes your character. As Ethan Cole, Special Forces, specialist in the HAZMAT (hazardous materials) Division, you have to discover what's going on inside the base and blast the menace to save the world. Your character races against time: the same virus that is mutating the facility personnel into monsters is also in his organism, slowly transforming him into an inhuman creature under the control of the alien masterminds.

The hero has access to more than ten types of human and alien weapons to fight the creatures. They are designed by Stan Winston Studios, monster creator for such films as Aliens, Jurassic Park and Predator. The weapons can be used in melee combat as well, and it's possible to switch to an alternate firing mode, in some cases with the downside that it consumes more ammo. Ethan can also use a scanner to investigate items of interest, documents, alien artifacts and residue. The information contributes to the backstory and is stored in the scanner's databank.

At a specific point in the game, you will gain the ability to mutate into a creature for a limited time. All monsters and humans are then highlighted by your thermal vision, and you can use claws in melee and shoot heat-seeking parasites. Staying in the mutant form consumes mutagen, which can then be replenished by draining infected corpses, killing enemies in melee or consuming special syringes with mutagen, as opposed to using normal medical syringes to restore health.

Area-51 has a two-player split-screen and an online multiplayer (for up to 16 players) component with several modes including Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Capture and Hold, and Infection. In Infection, all but one player start as normal healthy soldiers hunting one mutant player. The latter is able to create more mutants by killing opposing players, and thus infecting them.


  • 51区 - Chinese spelling (simplified)
  • Зона 51 - Russian spelling

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Credits (PlayStation 2 version)

311 People (281 developers, 30 thanks) · View all

Executive Producer (San Diego, Ca)
Producer (San Diego, Ca)
Associate Producer (San Diego, Ca)
Assistant Producers (San Diego, Ca)
Producer (Austin, Tx)
Assistant Producers (Austin, Tx)
Additional Production Support (Austin, Tx)
Technical Directors
Rendering Leads
[ full credits ]



Average score: 74% (based on 69 ratings)


Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 41 ratings with 2 reviews)

What was the plot, again?

The Good
This game takes place in one of those scenarios that must have a game inspired in them: the legendary Area 51: A military (not so) super-secret facility which is believed (this is the key word) to have been used to store alien evidence such as flying saucers, alien bodies, and extraterrestrial weaponry.

The setting looks great: huge maps, lots of corridors, everything looks OK, very truthful, it really looks like a huge underground super secret military base.

The creatures are very well designed, the first time you find them in the dark, it can be a very scary moment. Well, first person shooters always do it (Doom, Quake, Fear, etc...). They sometimes are hard to kill, and that's welcome.

The game uses an HUD that tells you in every moment where to go and what to kill / activate to continue, you can't miss. It uses checkpoints too, and they are very well timed.

It has a lot of tongue-in-cheek humorous details, though you have to collect a lot of documents to read the jokes. They are always mocking the conspiracy paranoids, the fake landing on the moon, etc.

I did like a lot of things in his game, but let's go to the bad part:

The Bad
You are supposed to be sent into the military facility to see what's going on, and then all of a sudden the destiny of the world is in your hands, and you can trust one only person in the whole game, it's a weak plot.

Anytime you pick a second arm, you'll go John Woo style, and that's funny only the first time it happens.

Changing into the infected form doesn't really kill you, it's rather a cheat mode than anything else, and it makes the game so easy to finish it's almost ridiculous. For example: there is a boss fight where you can do one of the following: - Try to kill him wasting all your grenades and ammo, and fail, or - Turn into infected, and kill him in one minute. then go back to normal with all your ammo and grenades intact.

The voiceover is terrible too (I played the Spanish dubbed version), it sounded like anybody was interested in the product.

It doesn't contribute anything new to the genre: it's a regular Halo-like FPS, without open spaces, very dark and predictable: kill enemies, kill more enemies, kill them using a machine that shoots lasers, throw grenades, use your flashlight, push buttons, the end.

The Bottom Line
It's an attempt to make an action FPS out of urban legends and X-Files stories, that fails. If you are keen to shooters, and having an X-box that's almost a requisite, you will not enjoy this game. I feel bad for the people who put their effort in making of this game a good one, and all they got was this.

Xbox · by Tiroloco (15) · 2008

Excellent graphics, sound, and plenty of exploration

The Good
I can think of a handful of games that focused on the Area 51 underground military facility based in the Nevada desert, such as 1995's Area 51. Its developer, Atari Games, have since been taken over by Midway, who, ten years later, decided to release this sci-fi first-person shooter. Let me be clear that the game has no references from the 1995 game. For instance, not one STAAR member can be seen in the game, and the storyline is totally different.

Area 51 features three recognizable actors among the voice cast. People who have previously watched The X-Files will immediately recognize David Duchovny as Ethan Cole, HAZMAT operative sent to the Ares 51 base to assist in the clean-up of a mutagenic virus. Since the show dealt with two special agents investigating the paranormal, Midway thought that Duchovny would be perfect for the main protagonist. Powers Boothe is famous for movies such as TimeCop. Although I didn't expect him to act in a video game, Brian Warner (a.k.a. Marilyn Manson) plays the powerful antagonist

The entire game is spent exploring large areas and killing anything that get in your way. And that is what I enjoyed about first-person shooters: exploration. You never know what you might come across (secret areas, better weapons, health, etc.) The first half of the game is easy as you are fighting alongside your fellow agents. However, those same agents get themselves killed leaving you on your own to fight the menace. I also like, in some situations, you have to do something within a certain time limit.

There are a lot of checkpoints in the game, and these save your progress in the game. The distance between them gets longer and longer as you progress through the game since there are so many objectives you must perform in each chapter. I prefer checkpoints over saved games since they allow you to go back and play your favorite map again.

I enjoyed experimenting with both human and alien weaponry, and enjoyed using the alien ones even more. I made my way through the levels, and seeing what one is the most effective. I like using the BBG-11 because it uses a three-shot burst and recharges itself. I found one of the combat shotguns effective against the purple turrets. In addition to the weapons, you are also equipped with a scanner; and there are objects that can be scanned giving you an insight on the real Area 51, as well as secret video conversations between Dr. Cray and the Illuminati leader.

In the first part of the game, at least, you kill all types of aliens who have their own attacks. But soon, you will be battling against Elite soldiers that are controlled by the Illuminati. Their AI is certainly impressive. If you hurl a grenade at them, they will be more likely to hurl one back. Furthermore, they are capable of moving to a different area while shooting, making it difficult to get a clear shot.

The graphics are superb, and just seeing areas nearby or at a distance just made me want to explore the area. Near the end of the game, I enjoyed walking around this building with this amazing technology and the Gray aliens doing stuff in the nearby rooms. The animations are smooth and realistic. I enjoyed watching Cole collapse to the ground whenever his health runs out.

The sound effects are excellent. You always know when an alien is near you because of their grunting noises. Likewise, the "zooming" effect lets you know that Elites just appeared in your area, and their death sounds are impressive. The discharging of each weapon is realistic.

There are not a lot of major cut-scenes in the game. There are about four major cut-scenes that add depth to the story, and all of them are well-scripted. There are also a bunch of these level intros which basically consist of three pictures accompanied by one that looks like a confidential file. Duchovny gives an insight on what he has seen so far. So if you seen one of these intros, you know that you are entering a new level.

Highlight: The major one for me is using the mounted turret guns while either trying to clear an area for your fellow comrades or protecting a scientist from Elites. Since these mounted guns have infinite ammo, I had a blast with them. Another highlight would be walking on the fake moon landing site and exploring that. Too bad that you can't drive a buggy across the surface.

The Bad
In the middle of the game, you are transformed into this beast so that you can fight other beasts with full force, and must play out the whole level in this way. Although optional, it becomes boring quickly and I never used it since.

The Bottom Line
In conclusion, Area 51 is an excellent first-person shooters with lots of action and exploration, and it features both human and alien weaponry that is worth trying out. During your exploration, you can also scan certain things, mainly items and documents, that will give players an insight to the real Area 51 facility. The game also features well-scripted cut-scenes that add depth to the story and lots of checkpoints so that you can go back and play the same level again. If you are the type of perso who gets fascinated by Area 51 stuff, then this game should entertain you.

Windows · by Katakis | カタキス (43051) · 2013


Subject By Date
Multiplayer on the discontinued free release Joel Segerbäck (639) Apr 17th, 2010


Development delay

Originally slated for a Fall 2004 release, Area-51 was criticized in previews for not doing anything new to the genre. Midway delayed the game to a Spring 2005 release.

Over that period of time, Midway made lots of changes to the game. This can be seen by comparing a demo on Official Xbox Magazine's November 2004 demo disc to the full retail version of the game. Most importantly, they added a "scanner" that scans secret documents for information that can later be read when the game session is quit. If the scanner is not pointed at a document, it will display the statistics of an air sample. The other changes to the game include:

  • The HUD, title screens, and menus are changed.

  • When the player dies, the death will be seen from a first-person view.

  • Health packs increase the health more.

  • Added cutscenes.

  • There is now dual-wield for the machine gun and shotgun.

  • Information at the top of the screen tells the player what type of item was picked up.

  • The pistol has a sight feature.

  • The shotgun is no longer pumped after two individual shotgun shots, but will still pump after doing the "2 shells at once" alt-fire.

  • The protagonist now loads two shells into the shotgun at once when reloading it.

  • The sniper rifle's zoom is now tinted green.

  • Changed gamepad vibration effects.

  • Changed voice acting.

  • Changed control setup.

  • The level design is less linear. Levels in the retail version include keycards in addition to usable objects, both of which the demo lacked.

An updated demo was included on the April 2005 demo disc of the Official Xbox Magazine.

European and German version

The European version of Area-51 is cut in comparison to the US release: there are cuts to black during two cutscenes and various changes to the level design, e.g. in the level "The Search" the player has to activate a scanner with a cut off arm - in the European version the door can be opened without any hassle.

The German version is even more censored: it removes all blood (even the green), ragdoll effects, damage models on enemies. A list of all changes can be found on schnittberichte.com (German).

Freeware release

In October 2008 the Windows version of the game was made available free of charge. The download link can be found in the related links section.


In the first level, an original Area 51 arcade cabinet can be seen.

Information also contributed by M4R14N0 and Sciere

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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 18069


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by retinadesgastada.

Xbox, PlayStation 2 added by Xoleras.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, chirinea, Sciere, Spartan_234, Klaster_1, Patrick Bregger.

Game added June 11th, 2005. Last modified October 25th, 2023.