Aliens vs Predator 2
Aliens vs Predator 2 isn’t revolutionary, but it’s damn fun.
Monolith went to great lengths at ensuring the atmosphere and fun from the first AvsP game (then developed by Rebellion) would translate into this sequel, but was also keen on addressing numerous complaints from the first game. Aliens vs Predator was a good shooter, but one that was plagued by a steep learning curve, problematic AI and an utter lack of story. Having taken note of the mistakes its predecessor made, Monolith set out to create what is very possibly the best Aliens vs Predator game ever.
Another Bug Hunt
The action takes place on LV-1201, a bleak, stormy planet inhabited by a contingent of marines and scientists doing their corporate-sponsored research on Xenomorphs. Fans will remember this is not the same planet featured in the first two Alien movies, but then again it’s not all that different either. As expected, things go terribly wrong when an infestation goes out of control and leaves the ill-fated inhabitants nearly defenseless. Among the carnage you’ll find the Predators, an ancient race of tribal hunters that use high-tech gadgetry to pursue their goals. You’ll have a chance to play as any one of these three distinct races, in any order, as part of the game’s twenty-one mission singleplayer portion.
Lots of refurbishing went into level design, and boy does it ever show! As opposed to the first game, AvsP 2 is much more script-heavy in offering a more cinematic experience and a progressive story at the cost of replay value. Monolith took special note to make this sequel more accessible, and as such offered a permanent savegame feature (disabled on the highest difficulty level), thus fixing a key aggravation present in the first game.
Exterminating The Opposition
Also of special note is the balancing that went into the three playable races. The Colonial Marine’s campaign plays a lot like any shooter would. He’s got a cool little arsenal at his disposal to compensate for his fragile frame, starting with the iconic pulse rifle (which now fires at a slower rate), the auto-aiming smartgun, shotgun or armor-piercing minigun.
The same can’t be said for the Predator, who’s got a more specialized kit of ranged and melee weapons. While the Marine is a running tank, the Predator is akin to a stealth fighter just looming out of sight. Three different vision modes add greatly to his death kit – two that track either Humans or Aliens and one that works as a simple nightvision mode, and of course there’s the option to turn temporarily invisible.
The Alien is by far the fastest and most mobile of the three. As the Alien you can climb walls with lightning speed or plunge at a distant target with easy, but you’re completely limited to melee attacks. As far as the campaign goes, the Alien’s has to be one of the most creative, letting you take control as a newly hatched facehugger in search of an unwary victim, then later involving you in the chest-bursting process itself before you pupate into a fully-grown alien drone. Yet one more ace up the Alien’s scaly sleeve is its ability to spot pheromones given off by each species, rendering the Predator’s cloaking useless.
Scripting and more pronounced storytelling give the game a cinematic feel, although it’s worth noting that the plot is fairly jumbled to keep track of. To get some sense of the full picture, you’ll have to play through every campaign in part, and in a certain particular order. Each is somehow intertwined with the others – play as the Predator and you might get a glimpse of a Marine in a scripted event, only to realize it’s your own character as you play through his campaign. Don’t take this as a cheap tactic at recycling levels as all of the campaigns are fairly distinct (though of course some locations repeat).
While the original game did have its fans, the game fell short of a classic. This sequel, on the other hand, is a very playable and downright fun cinematic action experience, one that improves greatly upon the prequel while enhancing it in numerous ways. No matter how you play it, the game’s simply fast and great fun.
System Requirements: Pentium III 450 Mhz, 128 MB RAM, 16 MB Video, Win 98/ME/2K/XP
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