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Critic Reviews 70% add missing review

UGO (UnderGroundOnline) (A-)

Aliens and video games go hand-in-hand, and their relationship dates all the way back to Space Invaders. Years back, Midway released their light-gun coin-op entitled Area 51; an entire game based around shooting up aliens in the secretive military installation where experiments are carried out. Midway has brought the title back with one of the most impressive first-person shooters around, especially in terms of its structure and storyline.

2005 · Windows · read review

WomenGamers.com (8.6 out of 10)

Enter Midway Games. Their recently offered edgy FPS shooter titled simply "Area 51" delivers what many geeks have been dying to do - which is to get inside the fabled facility. It is so much more than merely an update to their own mid 1990's light-gun arcade shooter with the same name. You play as a Hazmat Specialist named Ethan Cole.

Jul 20th, 2005 · Windows · read review

Game Chronicles (8.3 out of 10)

Area 51 offers a solid FPS gameplay experience. While it doesn't do a lot that is new or unique, it does have a few features, like the duel wielding, and the mutation transformed mode. The production values, graphics, and especially the voice acting are extremely well done, and the game has non-stop action and never feels dull. The difficulty does seem to get a bit excessive, however, and you can expect to spend some time wandering around wondering what to do next from time to time.

Jun 30th, 2005 · Windows · read review

4Players.de (82 out of 100)

Als alter Akte X-Fan (I want to believe!) und Alien-Freund kommt mir Midways Shooter gerade recht und zwingt mich aufgrund der interessanten Thematik, gewürzt mit einigen witzigen Einwürfen, der beklemmenden Atmosphäre und einer gelungenen Präsentation einfach dazu, unseren Planeten auch vom letzten, fiesen Alien zu befreien. Vor allem die große Abwechslung während des Gameplays ist neben der gelungenen deutschen Synchronisation ein großer Pluspunkt. Schade nur, dass die Gegner einerseits nicht gerade vielfältig und andererseits auch nicht sonderlich intelligent ausgefallen sind. Auch ein paar mehr Waffen (besonders Alien-Wummen) hätten sicher nicht geschadet. Vor allem aber enttäuscht Schlaftablette David Duchovny, von dem ich mir wesentlich mehr erwartet hätte. Trotz der genannten Kritikpunkte ist und bleibt Area 51 ein überdurchschnittlich guter Shooter, der zwar wenig Neues bietet, euch dafür aber mit dem abwechslungsreichen Gameplay und der tollen Atmosphäre bei der Stange hält!

Jun 24th, 2005 · Windows · read review

2404.org PC Gaming (8 out of 10)

This game is truly an interesting combination of gaming elements. For those who are fans of the sci-fi genre and shows like the X-Files, you will find some serious humor within the confines of Area 51. Its clever, dry wit may be missed by those who fly through things, though, so play this game at a more leisurely pace to ensure that you don't miss anything. If Half-life and Serious Sam were combined, I have a feeling that Area 51 would be the result. The game is not for everybody, but given the bargain price and the decent sounds, graphics and storyline, it should be worth the pick up for even the casual gamer.

Jun 17th, 2005 · Windows · read review

3DAvenue ( )

Area 51 may be a console port but it’s an impressive console port. While it’s not going to revolutionize the genre nor is it even a AAA title, it’s by no means a poor game and the ongoing action will really be music to the ears of FPS fans.

Jun 12th, 2005 · Windows · read review

TTGamer (8 out of 10)

Area 51 may be a console port but it’s an impressive console port. While it’s not going to revolutionize the genre nor is it even a AAA title, it’s by no means a poor game and the ongoing action will really be music to the ears of FPS fans.

Jun 12th, 2005 · Windows · read review

PC Powerplay (77 out of 100)

Dreamland, Illuminaten, glubschäugige Außerirdische - Area 51 ist wie das "who is who" der Verschwörungstheorien. Und nebenbei ein anspruchsloser aber spaßiger Ego-Shooter.

Aug 2005 · Windows

Gameplay (Benelux) (76 out of 100)

Area 51 moet het in onze ogen vooral van het concept en niet van de afwerking hebben. The truth is out there!

Jun 27th, 2005 · Windows

Fragland.net (75 out of 100)

Area 51, the codename of the secret military facility Dry Groom Lake in the Nevada desert, has been a mystery for several decades already and we still don't know anything about it. Did a UFO really go down near Roswell in 1947? Are the American authorities covering it up or is everything about Area 51 just a myth?

Jun 21st, 2005 · Windows · read review

GameZone (7.5 out of 10)

The name alone will bring many gamers to the shelves scooping this one up, but really it’s just another decent FPS. For the price it’s not a bad deal considering all the choices in this genre.

Jun 27th, 2005 · Windows · read review

IC-Games (75 out of 100)

All in all Area 51 has around 15 hours of gameplay life squeezed into the DVD if you rush, but if you intend on learning the secrets that the collection of hangers hold you’ll probably need to double that amount. The storyline does take a while to heat up but once the plot grabs you only a few wouldn’t want to see out the story to its climax. With a little more polish Area 51 could have achieved so much more, but still, as it stands, it’s still an enjoyable experience for anyone with the slightest interest in the theme, and naturally of course, an itchy trigger finger.

Sep 4th, 2005 · Windows · read review

GamingExcellence (7.4 out of 10)

Midway’s Area 51 is a competent first person shooter that contains great graphics and sound, but does not necessarily use it to its full potential. Once you complete the approximate eleven hour campaign, the game really doesn’t offer much to inspire players to do it all over again, one of the big disappointments overall.

Aug 8th, 2005 · Windows · read review

Gamesmania.de (74 out of 100)

Ich habe mich auch Area 51 so richtig gefreut – als bekennender SciFi-Fan und Shooter-Liebhaber hatte ich Hoffnungen in Midways Shooter, doch auch die helfenden Hände von John Romero und die Verschiebung um fast sechs Monate konnten offensichtlich nicht viel rausreißen: Designfehler, ein unausgewogener Schwierigkeitsgrad, KI-Mängel und insgesamt wenig Abwechselung haben dazu geführt, dass ich das Gamepad immer wieder zur Seite gelegt habe. Die Story ist zwar interessant, wird aber zu zäh erzählt, als dass sie fesseln könnte. Soll nicht heißen, dass Area 51 schlecht ist: Wer auf unkomplizierte Shooter-Kost steht, der findet hier genau sein Hauptgericht und kann sicher auch mit einigen Schwächen leben. Doch an besseren Konkurrenztiteln sollte es nicht mangeln: Doom 3, Project Snowblind oder Cold Winter gefielen uns im direkten Vergleich besser.

Jun 28th, 2005 · Windows · read review

Imperium Gier (7.3 out of 10)

Osobiście jestem zawiedziony. Area 51 nie jest co prawda grą złą, ba, to wyższe progi stanów średnich, ja niestety oczekiwałem przeboju, a utwierdzały mnie w tym nazwiska aktorów oraz produkcyjny rozmach. W efekcie bowiem Area 51 jest jak Doom 3 - niby piękny, a jednak nie zachwyca.

Jul 26th, 2005 · Windows · read review

Game Captain (72 out of 100)

Die Verwandlung in einen Mutanten ist ganz nett und mal etwas anderes, aber das Spiel fällt viel zu leicht in die üblichen Shooter-Schemata zurück und verliert seine Originalität so recht schnell. Auf der PS2 ist die Grafik ein wahrer Augenschmaus, aber auf dem PC ist das in der heutigen Zeit einfach nicht mehr konkurrenzfähig. Alles in allem ein mittelmäßiger Shooter, der nichts wirklich falsch, aber auch nichts wirklich richtig macht.

Jul 15th, 2005 · Windows · read review

Gameguru Mania (72 out of 100)

Area 51 is an action-packed first-person shooter that puts you in the role of Ethan Cole, the leader of the HAZMAT Division (hazardous materials) of the U.S. Army, sent to the mysterious Area 51 to help contain a viral outbreak. Equipped with a massive amount of human and alien weapons, you must explore chilling conspiracies such as the extraterrestrial crash at Roswell and the faked lunar landing, in order to solve the enigma of Area 51 before it is too late.

Jul 25th, 2005 · Windows · read review

JustPressPlay (7.2 out of 10)

Overall Area 51 is just another FPS, like I said graphically itdoesn't compare to Half-Life 2 or Doom 3 and as you go through you losesight of the storyline. If you're looking for another FPS just to playthrough I'd suggest getting this, but if you're looking for somethingmore original with more storyline I would pass this up. There is amultiplayer online mode on this game that I haven't played but I'veheard from few people that it's pretty good, I'd still ask aroundthough before picking this up.

Jun 26th, 2005 · Windows · read review

GameStar (Germany) (71 out of 100)

Von den knackigen Kämpfen im Team zu Beginn des Spiels hätte ich gerne mehr gehabt. Denn durch tolle Script-Ereignisse und unzählige Funksprüche kommt eine Stimmung auf, die selbst Doom 3 schlägt. Zwar lässt die Spannung nach zwei Spielstunden etwas nach, trotzdem wird Area 51 durch clevere Gegner und abwechslungsreiche Levels nicht langweilig. Lob an Midway: Die Umsetzung von der Konsole ist gelungen. Nur freies Speichern hätte drin sein müssen.

Aug 2005 · Windows

PC Action (Germany) (70 out of 100)

Viele Menschen sind der Meinung, dass außerirdisches Leben existiert. Manche behaupten sogar, dass Aliens sie nackt ausgezogen hätten, um ihnen irgendwelche Dinge in den Hintern zu pflanzen. Wieder andere meinen, dass es die Fieslinge aus dem All auf die Geschwister von FBI-Agenten abgesehen haben. David Duchovny alias Fox Mulder zum Beispiel. Der Schauspieler aus Akte X hat wohl nach dem Ende der US-Serie immer noch nicht genug von paranormalen Erscheinungen und UFOs. Er leiht dem Protagonisten in Area 51, Ethan Cole, die Stimme und vergnügt sich wieder mit mysteriösen Viren und Extraterrestrischen.

Aug 2nd, 2005 · Windows · read review

Krawall Gaming Network (70 out of 100)

Der Shooter „Area 51“ wird im Gegensatz zum Spielhallenautomaten nicht in die Ära der Videospielgeschichte eingehen. Als Snack für Schießwütige, denen es derzeit an Kanonenfutter mangelt, durchaus zu empfehlen. Alle anderen warten auf „Quake 4“.

Jul 11th, 2005 · Windows · read review

Glide Underground ( )

Rent this one before buying it, even if it means you have to rent the console version. The PC version is graphically superior but if you don't like it on one system, you won't like it on any.

Jul 16th, 2005 · Windows · read review

PC Games (Germany) (69 out of 100)

Okay, da ist also jene geheime Militärbasis, die Area 51, wo die Regierung außerirdische Artefakte erforscht. Roswell und so. Der Stoff, aus dem Verschwörungen sind. Doch dann sind da noch: Aliens, die sich wie Zombies auf den Spieler stürzen; verrückte Wissenschaftler, die aus dem Rollstuhl heraus die Welt mit Knöpfchen steuern; verbotene Experimente, die schief laufen; vermummte, offensichtlich geklonte Soldaten, die für die Illuminaten kämpfen - Area 51 ist sich für kein Klischee zu schade.

Aug 10th, 2005 · Windows · read review

GameSpot (6.9 out of 10)

Chances are, if you've ever been in a bowling alley, bar, or pizza parlor in your lifetime, you've encountered at least one Area 51 arcade machine. Originally debuting as a light gun-based shooter, the Area 51 series has been largely dormant for a number of years now. This is perhaps for a reason, considering the original game, let alone its follow-up sequels, wasn't really that great to begin with. Thankfully, Midway's latest version of Area 51 bears little resemblance to its predecessors. Now, Area 51 is a first-person shooter. The original game's titular setting has remained intact, as has its army of mutated villains. However, Midway has decided to inject some storyline into this version, as well as a smattering of Hollywood voice talent and a pretty-nice-looking graphics engine. Unfortunately, all this gussying up can't gloss over what's ultimately an average shooter that doesn't offer up more than a handful of satisfying thrills throughout its single-player and multiplayer modes.

Jun 11th, 2005 · Windows · read review

1UP (6.5 out of 10)

This, in actuality, feels like a prettied-up port of some Nintendo 64 game that never came out. If nostalgia for the original arcade light-gun game, or fascination with the myth of the Mid-West has you by the cockles, then this game may give you a day or two's worth of good times. But anyone with a stricter criteria than that would be hard-pressed to find real satisfaction in what's offered here. Area 51 doesn't do a half-bad job with a moderately interesting premise, but in a genre loaded with heavy-hitters, you really need to pull out the big guns. Area 51 doesn't do that.

Apr 26th, 2005 · Windows · read review

JeuxVideoPC.com (13 out of 20)

La Zone 51 fait saliver tous les ufologues amateurs ainsi que les abonnés à la revue "Mystères". L'occasion vous est donnée d'aller voir sur place que tout y est normal. A part quelques virus étranges et l'un ou l'autre mutant assoiffé de sang.

Aug 25th, 2006 · Windows · read review

1UP (6 out of 10)

While the single-player game is the same old same old, multiplayer is a genuinely good time. Deathmatch maps don't offer the most compelling layouts but do a good job scaling level size in proportion to the number of participants, unlocking doors and expanding areas as more players log on. Multiple modes (DM, TDM, CTF, and infected, in which one contaminated mutant tries to spread his cooties), the game's Earth vs. E.T.s selection of guns and grenades, and perfectly placed power-ups offer variety and make fragging fun. Perhaps the biggest problem is finding enough people online to put together a populated match.

Aug 3rd, 2005 · Windows · read review

Computer Gaming World (CGW) ( )

Lacking ideas, Area 51 plays up its license (and lessons learned from finer shooters) for a solid but unsurprising foray into the FPS field. Pity that it isn’t more.

Sep 2005 · Windows

Thunderbolt Games (6 out of 10)

Once the effect of all the fancy environments wears off, you’ll quickly realize that there’s not much to this game other than pushing switches and shooting the same enemies over and over again. Even still, though the lack of very original gameplay ideas hurts Area 51, it does have a lot of good things going for it, including a very cool graphics engine and a cool infection mode, which, combined with a low price tag, do justify a purchase of this game. Just don’t expect all that much from it because this is a very superficial game.

Sep 18th, 2005 · Windows · read review

Jeuxvideo.com (12 out of 20)

Area 51 est un bon petit jeu, qui malgré sa segmentation en chapitres, se veut assez convaincant. Ne cherchez pas l'esbroufe technique, ne vous attendez pas à une grande originalité, mais préparez-vous à une aventure mélangeant de grandes scènes d'action et une atmosphère bien solide... pour peu que vous aimiez tout ce qui tourne autour des extraterrestres ou des histoires de virus. Dommage que la conversion PC ne soit pas plus solide ou que la transformation en mutant soit à ce point injouable à cause d'une saturation des couleurs vives.

Oct 3rd, 2005 · Windows · read review

GameSpy ( )

In the end, Area 51 squats squarely in the middle of the pack in terms of quality. With the exception of a brief infatuation with "mutant mode" and a few set pieces involving squadmates, the gameplay is serviceable, but standard. There are certainly worse shooters out there, but there are also ones that go beyond the FPS-by-numbers approach and actually give you something unique, diverse, and fun. Area 51 might serve well as an introduction to the genre, especially if its themes resonate with a particular person's interests, but anyone who's played an FPS before won't find much to get overly excited about.

Jun 28th, 2005 · Windows · read review

ActionTrip (59 out of 100)

All in all, Area 51 is a pretty standard first-person shooter with little if any original content, an unintelligible storyline, and game options typical for the genre, packed with some intense combat and an occasional feel you're actually onto something, while in fact you will only be browsing levels in search for bigger, badder, and meaner opponents. Add to this the fact the game is not that long, and that it doesn't have a great replay value, courtesy of the mediocre multiplayer facet.

Jun 24th, 2005 · Windows · read review

Yiya (C+)

Area 51 ist ein rundum gelungenes Spiel, das für ca. 15 Spielstunden atmosphärische und spannende Unterhaltung garantiert. Stimmige Graphik und guter Sound lassen das mysteriöse Umfeld mit all den Rätsel um die Area 51 zum Leben erwecken und nehmen den Spieler von den ersten Spielminuten umgehend gefangen, während man tiefer und tiefer und die Geschichte und den Untergrund der Forschungsanlage eindringt. Besonders packend wurden die Einsätze umgesetzt, in denen man mit den Teamkollegen gemeinsam vorgeht. Schade nur, dass die dadurch geschaffene Atmosphäre dann im Alleingang etwas abflacht, auch wenn der Held sich dann selbst in eine der abscheulichen Mutationen verwandeln kann. Ein wenig mehr von den Teameinsätzen wäre wünschenswert gewesen, ebenso wie eine etwas speziellere und vielleicht auch für die Rätseleinlagen notwenige Verwandlung in den Mutanten.

Aug 26th, 2005 · Windows · read review

Just Games Retro ( )

The final bit worth noting is that, after a lackluster release, the PC version was released for free in the United States. This was apparently supposed to be a limited-time promotion, but it’s still available. The free version is also supposed to be supported with ads for the U.S. Air Force (which is confusing, as the game doesn’t present the Air Force in the most flattering light), but I didn’t see a single ad of any stripe. If you like your freeware legal, this is the rare professional FPS that fits the bill. It’s also not the total Half-Life clone you might have heard it was, but I still hesitate to recommend it (even at the free price). It will kill time, but you won’t remember much of the experience.

Jun 23rd, 2011 · Windows · read review

Absolute Games (AG.ru) (43 out of 100)

Не верьте рекламе — в мире есть более увлекательные игры. Любите захватывающие истории про заговоры и мрачные эксперименты? Стряхните пыль с Deus Ex и Half-Life. Желаете отправить на тот свет пару-тройку тысяч виртуальных гадов? Painkiller — к вашим услугам. А коробку с надписью "Area 51", что заманчиво косит черным глазом с витрины, лучше обойти стороной. Под красивой обложкой скрывается еще один бездушный продукт, серый и невзрачный, словно кожа дохлого пришельца.

Jul 29th, 2005 · Windows · read review

Player Reviews

Excellent graphics, sound, and plenty of exploration
by Katakis | カタキス (43228)

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.

May 3rd, 2013 · Windows

Plus 23 player ratings without reviews

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Wizo, Jeanne, Patrick Bregger, Tim Janssen, Sciere, gukker, Scaryfun, Dietmar Uschkoreit, Xoleras, beetle120, Sebastien a, Alsy, Klaster_1.