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aka: Prey: A Talon Brave Game
Moby ID: 23082
Windows Specs
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Description official descriptions

When Tommy, a garage mechanic, defends his girlfriend in a bar fight in a Native American reservation in Oklahoma, the entire bar, along with everyone inside, is sucked into a shuttlecraft. They are transported into The Sphere, an enormous, organic alien ship. Tommy is set free by one of the denizens and his task is to save his girlfriend Jen and grandfather Enisi, and find out what the meaning of The Sphere is.

This 3D-shooter, based on a modified version of the Doom 3 engine, takes place entirely inside the gigantic ship. As a combination of organic and cybernetic structures, gravity is defied: with the proper grids activated, you can walk on walls and ceilings. There are also multiple dimensions inside the ship you can cross using portals. During his quest, Tommy struggles with his Native American lineage. The ghost-like hawk Talon is always on your side and you sometimes cross over to another land to get help from your grandfather. Tommy can also shift to Spirit Walk, an alternate dimension in the game to get past obstacles and solve puzzles. When you die, you are also transported to another realm where you have to shoot lost souls with your spirit bow before being sent back. Your new health and spirit status will be based on your performance there.

The weapons Tommy uses are usually organic, with secondary fire functions. The arsenal includes a wrench, a rifle, crawlers, an acid sprayer, an auto cannon, a leech gun (chargeable with fire, ice, red orbs or lightning), a rocket launcher and the spirit bow. Certain parts of the game require you to explore large areas in a flying pod. You can use it to engage enemies or use the tractor beam to move objects. Navigation, often with a distinct lack of direction, is reminiscent of Descent then. Puzzles usually require you to decipher codes, activate switches and find entrances.

The game supports OpenAL and EAX HD surround sound, and multiplayer games for up to eight players in duel or team deathmatch. Although the game is developed by Human Head Studios, it is produced and was originally designed by 3D Realms.


  • 掠食 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

326 People (274 developers, 52 thanks) · View all



Average score: 79% (based on 89 ratings)


Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 108 ratings with 3 reviews)

An awesome FPS, but sadly, far too short.

The Good
This game reminded me a lot of Half Life. It's a very linear FPS (which isn't necessarily bad, if done right), and it's chock full of scripted sequences and events, and has a unique setting with some innovative gameplay mechanics.

The most important change to the standard FPS gameplay is the fact that, early on in the game, you get the ability to "Spirit Walk". This lets you walk through force fields, as well as interact with some ethereal parts of the landscapes, such as invisible "spirit bridges". As a side effect of gaining this ability, your character never actually dies. Once you run out of health, you're transported to the Spirit Realm, where you spend a few seconds trying to shoot down red and blue spirits before you're yanked back into the world of the living. The more red and blue spirits you shoot down, the more hit points and spirit points you come back with.

This eliminates the tedious quicksave/quickload method of playing most other FPS games - dying's no longer an issue, so you can have as many tries as you like to get past a tough spot or a Boss monster. Unless you fall off a cliff, you'll reappear exactly where you were before, and you can continue chipping away at that big monster. (Falling off a cliff will redeposit you back at the point right before you fell).

Even without that feature, the game would still be a lot of fun to play. The environments are heavily detailed, and they look extremely realistic. Some of the environments are huge, which came as a bit of a surprise to me. This game was built on a modified version of the Doom 3 engine - since Doom 3 was so closed-in and claustrophobic, I never would have guessed that the engine could handle such huge, wide-open areas in Prey.

Another big gimmick in this game is gravity manipulation. Since dying isn't an issue with the Spirit Walk ability, it's not challenging if the game simply throws waves of monsters at you. There are a large number of logic puzzles in the game, many of which require you to come to terms with the artificial gravity in the environment. In many areas, you'll begin to lose all concept of "up" and "down" as you stand on the ceiling, shooting aliens who are standing on the walls and the floor (or from your perspective, the "ceiling"). In many areas, you can also manipulate the gravity by flipping a switch, and suddenly a wall becomes the floor, and this mechanic is heavily used for many of the game's puzzles. At one point late in the game, your character flips a switch causing the floor to become the ceiling, which you've done a hundred times already by that point - upon landing on the floor, he remarks "Oof. I don't think I'll ever get used to this." I can certainly see that - no matter how many gravity-puzzles I go through, there's still a part of my mind that insists that "up is always up, down is always down", and this game throws that concept out the airlock.

The portals were a nice touch, too. There are a number of them, leading to different areas. As you approach a portal, you can see into the environment it leads to. Stepping through one is completely seamless - in fact, firing into one will harm monsters on the other side. In some cases, there are small "portal loops", where entering a portal will make you appear behind yourself. It's a bit of a shock to look through a portal and see yourself, entering a portal.... The portals seem like such a simple concept on paper, barely worth mentioning - but Prey pulled it off very well.

The Bad
Well, it was awfully short. I beat it in less than two days. The "never actually dying" thing is great, but it definitely seems to shorten the time it takes to complete the game.

Also, all the gravity flipping gave me a sense of mild vertigo after a while. Wasn't too bad for me, but I could imagine that it might be problematic for some people.

The Bottom Line
I'd describe this game as "TOTALLY AWESOME!! .... But way too short."

I don't believe I'd recommend paying full price for it; $50 is a bit much for a game that won't even provide a solid weekend of entertainment. It was a real blast to play, but it was over far too soon.

Windows · by Dave Schenet (134) · 2006

A brilliant and intriguing game bar a couple of low points

The Good
The whole concept is brilliant and original; walking upside down, the use of portals and puzzles abound make this one of the greatest and innovative video games of all time. And the spirit walk function makes it incredibly fun to play.

The Bad
I hate dying all the time; even with the spirit world mode it still annoys the heck of me; limited skill setting options means there is no way to play a relaxed game free of frustration thanks to the lack of an easy mode. Of course, there's cheat codes for the game, but they simply make it boring. It is a bit boring to begin with too, so don't let the demo put you off; it only gets better the more you progress through the game.

The Bottom Line
Get it, get it, get it. Bar a few annoyances you will not be sorry. I promise you this.

Windows · by Dave Billing (24) · 2011

The best first-person shooter ever made, ever.

The Good
You already know that you're in for an awesome experience when you find out that Prey is the result of 11 years of long, hard work from 3D Realms and Human Head Studios. That's right -- 11 years. Sounds like these people sacrificed their blood and sweat to make the best game ever. Prey shows all of this long, hard work by providing perfect gameplay, outstanding graphics and audio, a movie-quality soundtrack, a deep storyline, and refreshingly imaginative game environments.

With Prey, 3D Realms shows us what a first-person shooter should be. Reloading your weapon has become a standard part of first-person shooters nowadays, and while reloading is realistic, it caused some frustration within players because their enemy shot them while they were reloading. This was especially irritating during deathmatch, where the action is super-fast and your enemy attacks you all the time. There is no reloading in Prey, which is less realistic, but more fun. First-person shooters nowadays have also presented us with environments that were realistic, but bland and boring nonetheless. In Prey, however, you're presented with alien environments that don't make much sense, but are very imaginative and engaging. "Wallwalk" platforms and "gravity switches" that change the gravity on the level make for environments that are more complex than I could ever dream of. (That being said, Prey is probably the most disorienting game since Descent. If you easily get motion sickness, then don't play this game.) Again, less realistic, but more fun. An auto-adjusting difficulty system also helps. If you keep getting better at the game, the enemies will become meaner and smarter. If you suck, the enemies will become dumber to suit your difficulty level.

Prey differentiates itself from other first-person shooters with unique gameplay elements that are related to its authentic Cherokee mythology. By Spiritwalking (spiritually breaking away from your physical body), you can pass through forcefields to get to areas that your physical body can't reach. If you encounter any enemies while you're Spiritwalking, just shoot them with your spiritual crossbow. If your spirit takes damage, or if you shoot your crossbow, you'll lose spirit energy. If you're out of spirit energy, you won't be able to use your crossbow anymore, but you'll always be able to Spiritwalk. Many of the game's mind-bending puzzles take advantage of Spiritwalking, but I can't spoil such puzzles here. Really, you'll have to play the game to find out for yourself. Your physical body is still vulnerable to attack while Spiritwalking, meaning that you should strategically hide your physical body in a place where there won't be any enemies. If your physical body takes damage, you'll be kicked back to your physical body to take care of what's messing with you.

The way that the game handles death is also based on authentic Cherokee mythology, and it's probably the most useful innovation of all. When you die, your spirit goes to a "spirit world" where you must shoot down the "dishonored spirits" with your spiritual crossbow. In the spirit world, you don't have to worry about spirit energy, so you can shoot the crossbow as much as you want. Shooting blue spirits will give you more spiritual energy when you come back to life, while shooting red spirits will give you more health when you come back to life. If you don't shoot anything in the spirit world, you'll come back with 50% health and no spirit energy. If you died from falling into a pit, you'll come back at the nearest "safe" location. All in all, the "spirit world" mini-game is an excellent remedy to the frustrating "load the previous saved game" process that first-person shooter fans are used to.

Weapons are mostly standard first-person shooter fare, but what makes them stand out is that (with the exception of your own wrench) they're actually living organisms that move in your hands. Most importantly, their primary and secondary attacks are all very satisfying to carry out.

Prey uses an enhanced version of the already awesome technology behind Doom 3, and boy does it rock. It now has the ability to create rips in space that you can see through to see where it'll transport you. Unlike in other games, when you walk through the portal, the transition is completely seamless. It's an amazing technological achievement, if you ask me. Like you'd expect from a game using the Doom 3 technology, the graphics are easily the best I've ever seen, and a smooth frame rate helps to further immerse you into the experience. The sound effects are top-notch, and the soundtrack by Jeremy Soule is simply the best video game music I've ever heard.

The Bad
Absolutely nothing.

The Bottom Line
You're still reading this review? You should be playing the game by now!

Windows · by Spartan_234 (424) · 2006


1001 Video Games

Prey appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Copy protection

In October 2006, the Triton digital distribution service used to activate the Windows version, was disabled, leaving the users in the cold. 3D Realms promised to look into it and soon after Triton announced that it would work on a patch to remove the dependency from the live system and allow you to backup / copy and play your games. A next step was promised to make the game run without any of the Triton code. On 30th November 2006, the game was made available on Valve's digital download network Steam. All owners can use their existing product key to activate the game.

Demo version

There is a feature in Prey that people may not notice. If you have played the demo and uninstalled it but kept the save games, the retail version will recognize those saves, allowing you to resume the game at the latest save point you have. This way, you will not need to start the game all over again when you pick up your copy at the store.


The game is dedicated to the memory of William Scarboro, who died of an asthma attack on 9 August 2002. He was the game's original lead programmer in 1995, and devised the portal technology in the game's original incarnation.


Prey was first announced in 1995, when Duke Nukem 3D was still in development and the first Quake was yet to be released. It was never meant to use the Build engine, but a new engine instead. The initial team was made up of Tom Hall, Project Leader (he left one year later to found Ion Storm), William Scarboro, Lead Programmer, Mark Dochtermann, Net Programmer, and Jim Dose, Tools Programmer. Chuck Jones and Doug Wood also worked on some of the early art. Development was halted in August 1996 when most of the development team walked away.

With a new team aboard, development was continued in 1997 with a full redesign. It was also announced that the IDM collective KMFDM would do the music. In October 1998, important members of the development team left (including Paul Schuytema and William Scarboro). 3D Realms hired Corrinne Yu to design a new engine, but she was fired in 2000 and 3D Realms finally removed all references to the game on its website.

No official news appeared until 2005, when it was announced that Prey had been in development since 2001 at Human Head Studios, led by Chris Rhinehart.


The game depicts the Cherokee "Land of the Ancients" as being a stylized desert, reminiscent of Arizona. While this is likely intended to depict Oklahoma, it is incorrect. The Cherokee people are not, in fact, originally from Oklahoma. Originally, the Cherokee tribe resided in the general areas of North Carolina, Tennessee, etc. It was not until the Trail of Tears that the Cherokee people lived in Oklahoma.


Since September 2009 the intellectual property is owned by ZeniMax Media Inc.


Suprisingly, Tommy's speech includes a fair amount of profanity with words rarely heard in other games, true to 3D Realms' rebel style. There is, however, a profanity filter you can enable in the options menu to leave those words out.


  • In one of the later levels, Tommy exclaims "It’s so dark in here, I’m doomed" - possibly a reference to Doom 3, critiqued for the amount of dark environments.
  • In one of the Art Bell radio chats, someone says "They've been preying on us since 1995!" This is a reference to Prey's development time, as 1995 was when development on the game was started.
  • At the time of the first confrontation with the possessed demon children you can hear toy music box melody playing in the background; It is the same exact melody that was playing in first Max Payne in the scene Max's family was murdered.
  • The priestess of the Hidden Tribes is named Elhuit. The name has been probably inspired from the Hebrew word "elohut", meaning "something divine".
  • A hidden reference to Don Hertzfeldt's animated short film Rejected is in the bathroom the player starts in. Above the right urinal, there is a graffiti drawing of a stick figure holding a large spoon with the words, "My spoon is too big" written next to it.

References to the game

  • The delayed development of Prey was a joke amongst gamers in the same way as Duke Nukem Forever. An example can be found in a Penny Arcade (webcomic) strip 'Chicka-Wow Chicka-Wow Wow', where "Have you seen this game? Prey" is written on a milk carton).
  • Prey was parodied in an episode of "Die Redaktion" (The Editorial Team), a monthly comedy video produced by the German gaming magazine GameStar. It was published on the DVD of issue 10/2006.


  • 4Players
    • 2006 – #3 Best PC Game of the Year
    • 2006 – #3 Most Impresssive Boss of the Year
  • GameSpy
    • 2012 – #5 Top PC Gaming Intro

Information also contributed by Devil Master, Jouni Lahtinen, PhoenixFire and Spartan_234

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Sciere.

Macintosh added by Kabushi. Linux added by Iggi.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, Zeppin, Patrick Bregger, Starbuck the Third, FatherJack.

Game added July 11th, 2006. Last modified December 2nd, 2023.