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Product: Aliens Versus Predator
Company: Fox Interactive
Website: http://www.foxinteractive.com
Estimated Street Price: 35
Review By: Byron Hinson

The Story & The Features

Choose to be a Colonial Marine, a Predator, or an Alien as you make your way through horrifyingly suspenseful environments ranging from spaceships and colonial bases to space stations and eerie planetscapes. One wrong move turns you from hunter into prey. Your species is counting on you.

  • Play 3 different species: Each with different strengths, weapons, physical abilities and objectives.
  • Over 40 different levels in environments including Spaceships, Alien Temples and Underground Caverns.
  • Deformable Environments: Scorch walls and surroundings with a flame thrower and write your name on the wall with a Pulse Rifle!
  • 10 Multiplayer modes which include: Species War, Co-op, Deathmatch, Tag, and more.
  • DirectPlay and will support peer-to-peer and server-based play.
  • Particles and Dynamic Systems: Stunningly real smoke, steam, sparks, fire and muzzle flashes! Throw a grenade in the water and watch the splash.
  • Hyper Advanced Artificial Intelligence: Regardless of your species, you will be stalked by intelligent opponents that randomize in the environment.
  • 3D sound will support Creative Labs new "Environmental Audio Extensions" through the SoundBlaster Live! card.
  • Total freedom of movement: look up and down, jump, crouch and climb.
  • Dynamic lighting: shoot out lights and the world plunges into darkness, fire a flare down a corridor and see it light up the walls as it goes.
  • Full physics model: objects can bounce and spin.
  • An entire CD of cinematic sounds.

Installation & Settings

Aliens Vs. Predator comes on two CD's. One is the main installation disk the other being the audio CD which carries all of the music. Placing CD 1 in the drive brings up autoplay and then the installation begins, the installer prompts you to see if you would like to defragment your drive before continuing with the installation, I didn't so I carried on. Once the install is complete you are left with an Aliens Vs. Predator icon on your desktop and you are just about ready to go.

Although you are not prompted to do so, I recommend that you put CD 2 in your drive before starting otherwise you will miss out on the great CD soundtrack. Once the game loads you are asked to either select or create a new profile. The next menu you are greeted with has the following options:

Single Player - Lets you go on a campaign in Single Player mode as either Alien, Predator or Marine.
Multiplayer - Deathmatch, Species Deathmatch, Cooperative, Predator Tag, Alien Tag and Last Man Standing
Skirmish - Lets you play the single player maps against computer controlled enemies.
Controls - Lets you change keyboard options
Audio/Video Options - Allows you to change to different resolutions and setup sound settings.
Change Users Profile - Switch To A Different Profile
Exit Game - Exit to Windows

Aliens Vs. Predator automatically sets up Creative's EAX audio extensions for the SoundBlaster Live! card and also sets up the correct video card for use in the game (Voodoo 2), all I had to do was to change the resolution up one notch to 800x600.

Gameplay

Aliens Vs. Predator isn't like your usual 3D shoot-em up, it offers an excellent range of different settings and the game can be played three different ways as either a marine, alien, or predator. Each is different from the other, with differing speed, skills and weapons.

The Marine can walk, run and jump and is able to carry a great deal of weapons and equipment. He is the most vulnerable of the three species yet possibly the most well equipped. His weapons include pulse rifle, smartgun, flamethrower, grenade launcher, sadar and minigun. His equipment includes Motion tracker, Image intensifier, amour, medikit, flares and jet pack.

The marine is easily the weakest out of the three and I found the marine missions to be the hardest too. The motion tracker device adds a great deal of tension to the marine game while navigating the dark tunnels and buildings. When you enter dark areas of the game you can switch on your Image Intensifier which helps you see in the dark.

Aliens Vs Predator - Shot 1

The Predator is strong and swift, although not quite up to the raw physical abilities of the Aliens. Predators have the added advantage of extensive hunting weaponry, which varies from the barbaric to the truly technical. Their savagery and strength gives them the edge over the marines while their weaponry gives them the edge over the aliens. The predators weapons include Wristblade, Plasma pistol, Speargun, Plasmacaster and Disc. His equipment includes Field energy units, cloaking field, various vision modes, long range zoom, Medicomp and a grappling hook.

The predator is the most advanced of the three with his great ability to zoom in on enemies and then shoot them with the deadly speargun or to fire one of his sharp edged discs. Changing to the predators different vision modes allow you to see enemies via heat detection, in the dark and also to great targeting effect (Remember the triangle that zooms in on the enemy?)

The Aliens are much faster than both the Predator and the Marines and can jump much further as well. Additionally the aliens have the ability to move on all surfaces as swiftly as they do on the ground....floors, walls, ceilings; it's all the same to aliens. The aliens don't have any real weapons apart from Claw attack, tail attack and Jaw attack.

The Alien character in my opinion ends up being the best out of all three, getting to grips with the ability to climb walls and into air ducts is a task on its own, let alone learning the best ways to attack marines.

As you can see there are a lot of different features with each character in the game, no matter who you choose you will have to be very skilled to complete the game. Clicking on Single Player takes you to the screen from which you select either Marine, Alien or Predator, there are six different levels no matter who you choose. Each level is extremely difficult to complete and a number of different foes block your way to each mission objective.

Now onto the part a number of people have complained about, the lack of an in-game save option. While to me this wasn't too much of a bother, I can understand why so many people were a little miffed without it, as you may well get a long way into a level and have to go out, or be too tired to carry on and that is where the save game option is really missed. Thankfully Fox are to release a patch any day now.

 

Graphics

Just about everything is perfectly recreated from the Alien and Predator movies and comics, the dark corridors and settings, rain drenched planet surfaces, air locks, doors lifts and acid burns lets you see right through the floors of buildings and ships. Each character and enemy well animated and look exactly like their did in the movies, right down to the bandana's some marines wear.

There are also some great little features that some people will miss, such as marines landing space ships, people running around in panic begging for mercy and good full motion video effects used during the game as orders to marines are given out over com links and video displays.

Aliens Vs Predator - Shot 2

Sound & Music

The sound in Aliens Vs Predator is spot on. Almost everything is identical to the two movies with the correct sounds for the Predator and Aliens, lifts, motion trackers, weapons and face huggers (I Challenge anyone not to jump when you first get killed by one of these). The second CD contains the wonderfully atmospheric soundtrack taken from both the Aliens and Predator movies, it adds so much to the game that Fox should have made it a necessity to have CD2 in the drive before being able to play. The game also makes great use of the SoundBlaster Live! with full use of EAX.

Final Comments

How It Grades
Originality: B+
Gameplay: A-
Story: D-
Graphics: A-
Cutscenes: B
Sound: A-
Interface: B+
Multiplayer: B+
Overall: A-

I can't find many bad points in the game apart from the lack of being able to save your game when you like. Watching the marines run away screaming when you come through a dark corridor is a joy to behold. There is no doubt that Alien Vs Predator is the scariest game out at the moment, I can't remember any game that has made me jump so often and that is a compliment in itself. A must buy for all 3D shooter fans and for the fans of the movies and comics.

 

Overall Score 90%
Version Reviewed Version 1.0 UK
Release Date July 2nd 1999
In The Box? 2 CD's
1 Set of instructions
1 Main Interface Layout
Reference Card
Reviewers PC Setup Pentium II 450
Windows 98 Second Edition
128 Meg SD-Ram
Voodoo 2 - 8mb
DirectX 6.1a
SoundBlaster Live! Value
Toshiba SD-1202 DVD-ROM - 32x
17" LG Electronics Monitor
ATI 8mb XPert AGP Graphics Card
Microsoft Force Feedback Pro
Microsoft Freestyle Pro (USB)
PC Required Intel Pentium 200 MMX PC (or 100% compatible CPU)
DirectX 6
DirectX compatible video card
DirectX compatible 3D accelerator card
DirectX compatible sound card
32Mb RAM (64MB recommended)
128MB free hard drive space
Windows 95/98

 

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