Aliens vs. Predator 2

Another oldie but goodie, this circa 2001 shooter was a blast, letting you play a campaign from each different side: Marine, Alien, or Predator.  Each campaign had 7 missions, and there was an overall storyline that linked everything together, although even after playing I don’t completely understand all of it.  An old CGW review of the game included a blurb about how to play the missions in linear order; this consisted of switching between campaigns frequently, which I found confusing and more trouble than it was worth.  By playing each campaign separately, I think the story flows better and makes more sense since it focuses on one person/creature’s perspective.

Of the campaigns, my favorite was the Predator, mainly because of all of his cool weapons.  You get to use his claws, retractable spear, mounted targeting laser, net, sniper rifle, boomerang blade (from Predator 2),hand-held pistol (seen in AvP:Requiem), and some grenades (these names are not accurate, but you get the idea).  The Predator also has all of his cool camo and different visions for different creatures.  The Marine has the standard Aliens weapons like the assault rifle, pistol, grenade launcher, shotgun, auto-targeting rifle (like Vasquez and Drake used in Aliens), and later a mini gun and sniper rifle (both of which see very little, if any, action).  The Marine also has a light and night vision later on.  The Alien is the least fun stuff since it cannot use weapons.  It has claw and tail attacks, bite attack (which it uses to heal by chomping people’s heads), and a vision mode which lets it see in the dark.  The Alien can also climb up and around walls, but it gets a little confusing sometimes because of the way the system was designed.

The campaigns include a lot of scripted scenes in game which move the story along.  These are well done because you feel like you are still in the action as opposed to a cutscene (which it has also, but between missions).  The Alien and Predator each have a human nemesis they go after later in the campaigns while the Marine fights mostly Aliens, but also a Predator and other humans.  The sound is excellent in the game and really adds tension with a lot of surprise sequences.

The missions are mostly linear, but there are some optional things that can happen depending upon your actions.  There are also a few missions where you have to backtrack that get a little confusing.  The worst, I think, are the first Alien mission and the last Predator mission.  The Alien starts as a facehugger who needs a victim to hatch an Alien baby.  So you sneak around a ship looking for a chump and then you hug him.  Then the Alien baby breaks out of him and has to sneak around (it is very vulnerable and has weak attacks) until it finally finds enough food to eat to become a regular sized Alien.  The last Predator mission was an annoyingly long maze-like run through some tunnels which finally ended in a lame battle with your nemesis which you can kill easily with a little stealth and trickery.  The last Alien and Marine missions are very fun by contrast, with a lot of tough battles.

While the graphics are not state of the art by today’s standards, I still found this to be a very fun game to play recently.  If you can find it in the bargain bins, I recommend you give it a shot.

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