Click the pictures for PNG if you find JPG offensive!
This game was requested by fellow Super AIG contributor Ocean in a comment in one of my earlier posts!
This is the first Aliens vs. Predator. Not to be confused with the arcade Alien vs. Predator beat em up, the SNES Alien vs. Predator that Ray played this time last year or the Jaguar Alien vs. Predator. They've only got the one Alien each.
These dudes don't half get around, don't they? Between the two of them, they've taken on the Justice League, Witchblade, The Darkness, Terminator, Judge Dredd and Tarzan.
True to the title, we can pick from the Alien or the Predator. We can also pick the Colonial Marines as a bonus. Each of the three races has a separate campaign. That's practically three separate games! To the extent that they all have independent control configurations even though they all share standard FPS walk/turn/strafe/jump/duck/vision-mode controls.
Level 1: TEMPLE.
"Our temple has been violated. Eliminate intruders and seal the entrances."
Alright. No intruders around here just yet.
ARGH NOPE. Instant death lava flow is what it is.
If I didn't know that the Alien could crawl along any wall by holding 'crouch', I'd be completely stuck. Perhaps they should've added an Alien Hazard Training Course. I'm sure the immersion can take it.
What on earth could this lava machine be for?
I need to slice the blocks holding these blocks to the ceiling so that the blocks can fall down and block the lava flows. With the flow unflowed, I can venture down the Atlantean lava chute! (So to speak.)
I'm sure it's cold enough. I've left it a couple of minutes. Time to go and take care of these intruders!
It's an enemy. Multiple enemies. I can see their FEAR. THEIR FEEEEAR I CAN SEE. IT. OF THEM. GERONIMO!
Alright, when I clicked on them they exploded and reduced my Alien to a screaming ball of fire. Not quite the sneakings I was hoping for. Restart the level.
This music track is pretty obnoxious. It's nothing a sequence of dramatic musical cues unrelated to what I'm doing. I don't know why it's trying to scare me; I'm supposed to be the scary one here!
Confound you, FMV man. You've ruined everything. I'm trying to be serious here. I hate you. Get out.
What WAS that? Was it a marine or a turret? Doesn't matter, 'cause I'm going Back To The Start. I'm going to save the game immediately before going anywhere near THAT room again. Only one save left, which I'll probably use as soon as I figure out a way past these turrets.
I don't know what to do against them. I can't run toward them to slice 'em. I can't run around them in a semicircle to get them. If I do a crouch-pounce, I end up stopped dead on loose edges. I can't trick the turret by moving slowly and I don't make noise when moving. (So that's what happens in the Directors Cut of Aliens. All the ones that get blasted up by the turrets are my many incarnations going into the blender.)
Even when I get a lucky shot in at the turret, Mr. Super Claws here swipes right through the turret and hits the exploding barrels behind it and blows himself up.
The only way to put out the fire is to run about like crazy and that's hardly dignified. Most times, I end up running out the room, down the corridor and get killed by the turret in the room's mirror opposite.
I hope you've got a solid sense of direction, because these vents go in all directions. There's no xeno-gyro telling you which direction you're facing. The best way to get your bearings is to let go of 'crouch' and let gravity roll you around so you at least know where 'down' is. No falling damage!
When you find an exit, you'll have to strain your eyes to get any more information than 'Yep, that's a white abyss right there.'.
Gun guy sees me. I bounce about, stopping to take cover behind the whimpering civilians and unfortunate hilarity ensues. Eventually the Marine snaps and starts running around the room screaming to I smack him with my tail to shut him up.
Fun times, but I needed those guys alive! I eat their heads to get health back and that only works if they're still on!
Want a hint?
In the previous screenshot there was a pair of neon-lit panels and a red light like those all over the temple. If you smash the panel on the right, nothing will happen. There's FOUR of these identical rooms in a square around the central lift, each with their own bloody turret. Knocking the correct panels opens the lab doors.
Wait... "Access Granted"? That's the -normal- way to get into the labs!?
I was beginning to wonder. There's no buttons either side of them. They're heat sensitive so I must've added our Dave Alien to the valid users list. That's xeno hacking!
In Lab 2 there was a guy with a shotgun who killed me in one hit from 'a lot of health'. Oh-oh! Why couldn't I see him on my fear-o-sense?
I'm going to start again from the start and only save just before the turrets and just after the turrets. That leaves me two saves to complete the level.
You! You're pretty smug for a kid stuck on a far out planet in a laboratory cage standing next to an alien egg.
COWER! I WANT TO SEE SOME COWERING FROM YOU!
Am I looking out of my mouth? Do Xenos have eyes in their mouth or am I a multitude of successively smaller xenos, each inside the other. A Matryoshka xenomorph.
After breaking their glowing cables and eating their lab subjects... nothing. I'm stuck again. Oh, TWO labs. There's more neon panels that I haven't smashed. Could've used a reminder or an acknowledgement there.
Smashing the labs up activates the central lift. It's not the level exit; I really haven't done anything yet. Down the lift, there's another group of Marines who pulled the old explode-into-flames trick on me again.
There's only a split-second where you can see the otherwise unarmed civilians suddenly grow a grenade. Unless you sneak up on them perfectly, they'll activate it and blow themselves up. (That's if they don't drop the bomb anyway during their death animation.)
Next time, I get a tiny bit further but find myself splattered by a pair of turrets I couldn't possibly see. The end.
Sorry, Liam. I can get used to your controls but your levels are rubbish. It doesn't happen often, but I'm completely out of patience. If I get out of this room, there's only going to be more rooms with more explode-when-you-touch-them enemies and invisible-till-they-kill-you turrets. The only way to play the level is to know the full layout of the level in advance.
I think the Alien needs more super-sensory abilities. His night vision's blinding and he's got a distorted view which means it's hard to understand what you're looking at. It would be nice if I could see trails leading from people rather than static auras.
I worked out why I couldn't see the shotgun enemies in the labs using my fear-o-sense: they were androids. So there's enemies walking around that you can't possibly see and that can kill you in one hit.
Hitman games can get away with this sort of nonsense because something amusing sometimes happens when you mess up and you can always fall back on brute force.
Time to play as the COLONIC MARINES. (Now there's a sequel to Rex Ronan that's not going anywhere. (And if you have colonic marines and they're not going anywhere, see a doctor.))
He's already wearing his uniform... and his helmet. And he's holding his gun.
ACTION MUSIC. INTRUDER ALERT.
I didn't do anything! Well, I may have overslept. Maybe I was daydreaming.
That's my reflection. Where's the damn door? Would it kill these guys to get some decent lighting? (It's definitely going to kill them if they don't.)
All the doors to everybody else's quarters are locked. There's not a lot of signage around. Why don't these guys have a map of their own base? You know, like they do in the movie.
I'll have to keep bumping into all the locked doors until I find one that opens.
Hope you don't mind me shooting up all your eggs because this is A STUPID IDEA.
And they put it right outside my quarters as well!
Thanks a lot for warning me, motion sensor! You're supposed to beep when bad things are around.
This monkey's running all over the place! And now he's stuck running into a wall... and now he's diving right into my face! ARGH! He must've leapt right offa me. Humans are just gym equipment to these guys!
I spin around in a panic to try to find the bastard and end up wandering off the fifty foot drop at the end of the hydraulic platform. Splat.
Back to the start!
What kind of gun noise do you call this anyway? Phhroo. Phhrhrhroo. It's rubbish. RUBBISH.
I've gotta wonder why I can't use the image intensifier and motion sensor simultaneously. It can't be because it's unreadable under the intensifier scope because I can see my good buddy FMV Sarge just fine on loads of different screens. Besides, the thing has a distance-pitched beep so it's designed to be used without looking at it.
That's your game is it, aliens? Get me to shoot you while you're running at my face so my gun turns you from a lanky, shiny bundle of spikes into a fine cloud of corrosive dust.
Tricky punks! I can't win!
Hell, worse than that, it's the EMERGENCY EXIT for Christ's sake!
Down some more green corridors and I win! There was only a single ordinary alien in here.
We're instantly whisked off to the Quake-style results screen. Could've at least had a closing message from Sarge telling me I was close to the exit.
Level select, hooray! It's working on exactly the same rules as GoldenEye: you can only play levels on the same difficulty (or easier) as you won the previous level.
No prerendered video into to level 2. That's a shame.
Why are all these movie landmarks all bunched up right next to each other? I'm going to write these first two levels off as a nightmare. But why is the Marine having a nightmare about something he didn't experience? Is he having nightmares from watching the films? Or was Ripley's report simply that good? Maybe I'm playing as Hicks! Who's been demoted to Private because... he's forgotten to pack the shoulder mounted light AND the portable light that you see constantly throughout the film.
I give up. This could be an Alien themed theme park for all I know.
On this level, I've got to run around outside, flicking switches to open a door, to lead to some more switches that will then open the gate to the next area. FMV Sarge is trying to talk me through it, but it doesn't really matter what he says, because he's assuming that I know my way around but I don't and I have no way of knowing what he's referring to.
The aliens leap through me as if I'm not here.
It's never fun having super fast things leaping into your face, but I do like that he isn't sticking to me or getting himself jammed in a position where I can't aim my gun easily, he isn't affecting my movement or preventing me from firing my weapon, and there's definitely no stick waggling involved.
In fact, that gives me an idea!
Smartgun! It auto-aims, which is a bit naff, because it's a bit slow. Nevertheless, it's handy because I can use the movement of the cursor to tell me whether there are aliens in my line of sight! Yes, I'm still bouncing around like a lunatic while carrying the Smartgun. And I can carry the Smartgun and the Pulse Rifle at the same time.
Another incoming communication from FMV Mega-Sarge, if I can find a working telly to watch it on. It's nice having someone talk at me through this instead of receiving cryptic objectives through the ether as the Alien.
The diddly-boop sound effect for an incoming communication takes me right back to System Shock 2, but we've got dramatic movie music than RAVE this time. It's still just as intense and it's really getting on my nerves. There's sort of swishy sound effects and stuff in there too which makes it difficult for me to listen for aliens.
When I finally reach it, it's surrounded by aliens! Oh no! And then Level 2 abruptly ends. I didn't have to fight the aliens surrounding the APC and there was no cutscene. I don't think they even bothered to model the APC even though it already looks like something out of a computer game (external link). According to the message log, I made it. Great.
Criminy that was boring. I guess it was supposed to be scary but the music ruined it. I had to go out of my way to find places where I could turn the image intensifier off so I could show you something other than violent green.
What am I going to find on the next level? Some aliens! What a surprise. Next guy!
This time, I think I'm tracking down another Predator that got lost on his way from school. If he's dead, Pred-neko must confer vengeance upon all responsible.
Switch to the nifty wristblades and I've got myself a shiny new skull trophy!
There was a 'Grappling hook' option on the control screen, but I don't have it yet. It's not down here. What do I do? I can't believe I've managed to get completely stuck at least once as each character.
The way out is a door on an otherwise unconnected platform that can only be reached by jumping. To open it, you need to use a very easily missable switch (that looks more like a lamp than anything else) at ground level.
SVOWWW triangle lock-on? Check.
We're ready to go!
One charged up shot and this figure turns into a pile of smoking trousers. The shoulder cannon's not a zany fireworks display like in the film, but it still works. The energy even recharges!
There's a not-charged-up-shot but it doesn't even injure the humans. It's probably just for theatrical use.
It seems like months since I was lost in the Marine's snot vortex or the Alien's booby-trapped darkness.
Poor guy never knew what hit him.
There's been a lot of attention paid to the detail in this game, both in terms of graphics and sound. I saw Predator the other day and Rebellion must've really liked it because everything is spot on. He does his clicky growl when you leave him alone for a bit and all that stuff.
There's jungly action music and themes based off the movies' soundtrack done in the same relentless style as the other characters. After going to all that effort to get the damned soundtrack working, I have to say that this game is probably better all round if you simply don't have the music on at all. Maybe that's why it came on a separate disc.
One other cool gadget I've got is the Medicomp. Y'know, like when in the movies the Predator is shot and he uses the tools in his wrist computer to treat the wound? For a whole bunch of energy units, I can heal myself to full health! Cool beans!
Of course, I can't do that while I'm standing like an idiot in front of a firing squad, so I've gotta either shake off the Marines and hide or scramble up and down the corridors like crazy. (Which puts a player Predator at somewhere between a Bloody Flying Enemy and a boss with regenerating health.)
I've got the blue one, which is thermal. I've got a red one, which is boring. And I've got a green one which has turned this laundry room into THE EVIL DIMENSION.
End of level.
The next level continues right where the last one left off. Inside the ride, I've found a pistol and a disc. The Marines mustn't have been very interested in our super high-tech stuff. They got the door open, but didn't look inside.
"No, you go inside the most-likely-boobytrapped unknown alien ship!"
Huh, I can waste half a health-pack's worth of energy teleporting the Disc back to me. Doesn't seem worth it.
The pistol is weird. It's more like an energy grenade launcher and redundant when I've got the shoulder cannon.
Oh, okay. Because you asked nicely.
Now, this is what I call a special occasion. Hitting a xeno with the Speargun is like hitting them with a bloody log!
I wouldn't have thought so before, but I think the Predator can easily out-run the aliens. The aliens tend to run in zig-zag paths through the corridors and run in spirals across the ceilings and floors. I've just got enough time while I'm running from one end of the base to the other to constantly switch weapons so I don't run out of speargun ammo, and heal myself when I get enough energy back to use the Medicomp.
Woah! Xenos behind me! You sneaky bastards and your vents! Time to dance!
The energy pistol is damn good against the xenos. It's got a huge area-of-effect and leaves them somewhere between paralysed to dead.
AHHH, it's a Predator-Alien! Oh no! This is what they did to my Pred-pal whom I know very little about? I'll destroy you all!
"Self destruct in one minute"?? Destroying the sphere holding the Predator-Alien in place set off the self destruct? What is this, Alien Breed?
The objectives caption says there's a door 'nearby' but everything looks the same! There's no doors slamming shut behind me, so this 'nearby' could be anywhere!
Okay the door was nearby but there's no way to see it when you've got a choice between BLACK, dark BLUE, dark RED or incomprehensible GREEN.
I'm lucky I saved just before I found the sphere... even if I activate the lift, there's still a bit more level to go. And you have to board the Predator ship without getting stuck on an angled piece of floor.
I don't even get a level ending cutscene for my trouble, that's lame.
What does the next level have in store? I walk forward a couple of steps, shoot an alien, and then get sucked into a giant ventilation fan and die.
I enjoyed playing as the Predator more than the other two. A lot more. You've got different types of weapons, you can sneak up on people properly, you can recover from mistakes. He's also got the nicest looking levels, the funnest enemies and the easiest to read interface.
Plus the Predator is really freaking cool.
If you were to play this game (and there's no real reason you should to be honest), you should play as the Predator first, then the Marine and then the Alien. Make sure to leave the soundtrack disc out.
If you'd to pick a game for me to play, please leave a comment in the box below! I love comments!