If you’ve been keeping your eye on gaming news this past week, you’ve probably seen that Gearbox Software managed to outdo themselves with the release of Aliens: Colonial Marines. While Alien based games haven’t always been disasters, recent releases may make you think otherwise. However, at the turn of the century, a lovely game called Aliens versus Predator was released. Read on to learn about just how scary this classic was.
The Aliens series, as a whole, hasn’t been the greatest of critical successes. Between numerous bad movies and games, the series hasn’t fared that well in the public eye as of late. You’ll most likely surprised then to learn then that the 1999 release of Aliens versus Predator was met with great praise, for both it’s gameplay, and ability to scare the bejesus out of you.
Taking place over three campaigns, you are given the opportunity to play as an Alien, a Predator, and a Marine within three separate story arcs. This, of course, allows various approaches to gameplay. As a Predator, you can stalk your prey via a stealth mode, using series trademarks such as “heat vision” and the shoulder mounted plasma launcher. Playing as an Alien allows for a more frantic method of attack, as you spend most of your time scaling walls and elevator shafts, only to emerge from the dark to devour the marine you’ve been following. The marine’s campaign, however, is where the real scares come from.
Aliens and Predators, at their core, are engineered for death. They were designed to be the ultimate human thwart, capable of silent and deadly assassination of the human targets throughout their movie franchises. They’re faster, stronger, and at times, smarter than us. The marine campaign is thus a homage to these things, as danger lurks around every corner.
Picture yourself in a deserted hallway. There’s hardly any lighting, as the main generator has seemingly been knocked out. What lighting does exist, casts eerie reds across what lies ahead. You’re low on ammo, and not sure if lighting a flare will let you see, or just bring unwanted attention to yourself. As you move forward, you think you hear a scurrying in an exhaust shaft above you. Distracted, you turn a corner only to come face to face with a Xenomorph. In the ensuing panic you let off a few shots, before turning to run. Ducking into an airshaft, you hope you can force the alien into bottleneck, limiting it’s speed and maneuverability. Too late though, a facehugger waits within, and ultimately seals your fate.
The game is, undoubtedly, at its best during this marine campaign. Scares are at every corner, and every movement you make can bring you closer to death. Whether it’s the lighting, the jump-scares, or the constant ping of the motion tracker your character carries, you are always on edge. As for the Alien and Predator campaigns, they are simply an added bonus.
The game is remarkably still available today, re-engineered to work on modern systems, with added perks such as Xbox Controller support, and the original soundtrack. If you’re into horror games, or the Alien/Predator franchises, pick it up. The scares are still there, and it is one of the best pre-millennial shooters you can find. Just try to keep out of those airshafts, ok?