Whether it was watching Ripley mow down hordes of the vile extra-terrestrials, or Arnie and his gang hunted by the cloaked Predator, most of us are more than familiar with the Alien and Predator franchises.
In addition to the movies, there have been a number of game adaptations over the years that brought the Aliens and Predators together, in a spin-off storyline loosely connecting them all.
The first of the PC iterations of AvP, “Aliens versus Predator” truly got me into the series – but it was the sequel, “Aliens versus Predator 2″, that really left an impression, with intense game play, faithful character recreations and the graphics to do it all justice.
Rebellion’s newest 2010 version, “Aliens vs. Predator” has a lot to live up to.
Loosely based around the first movie storyline, an archaeological expedition conducted by the Weyland-Yutani Corporation discovers an ancient Predator pyramid hidden beneath the planet’s surface. The Humans quickly find themselves between both Alien and Predator species, fighting for survival.
The game is divided into the three classic campaigns. Obviously the Human campaign is much more comparable to your modern FPS'; Point and shoot type play with mostly linear level navigation and objectives. What makes it special though, is your encounters with the Alien and Predator species. Indeed, your first run-in with a Xenomorph will be fraught with panic and intense bursts of rifle fire.
In keeping authentic to the Alien films, your motion tracker is constantly beeping and pulsing with movement sensors, alerting you to impending danger and carnage. There are a variety of weapons available throughout the campaign, from the trusty M41a Pulse Rifle, to the annihilating Smart Gun but you find yourself defaulting to the all too easy ‘block-counter-shoot them while they’re down’ mechanic in combat.
While it’s definitely the most eerie and anxious experience of the three campaigns, with a great feeling of being hunted – it’s probably the least enjoyable from a purely been there, done that viewpoint. It’s not as solid as rival FPS offerings either.
The Predator and Alien campaigns however, are much more exciting. Melee kills initiated with the grab command are incredibly rewarding and extremely graphic. Collecting the new Predator weapons throughout the campaign allow for a whole new approach to enemy takedowns. Maintaining stealth and going in for silent kills is quite fun, especially on stages with water and other obstacles which compromise your cloaking. There’s a definite satisfaction in hiding amongst tree branches, watching Marines walking around far below, planning your attack.
Alien campaign too, with its focus on speed and stealth (but in a very different way) is a riot. Get in-grab-get out is pretty much the way you play as the Xenomorph, head chomping your way through the Marines as quickly as possible, lunging from whatever wall or ceiling you have available.
The Alien feels the most powerful in the campaign environment, particularly with regenerating health and the absolute speed with which you can both kill and escape. The Predator, while more rewarding, feels handicapped – once your cloak is broken or you’ve dropped into a pack of Marines, it’s all over fairly quickly if you haven’t planned it right.