Aliens vs. Predator • Page 2

Killer bites.

The AI is so poor that such theatrics are rarely required though. Never mind the fact the Marines happily snap to attention and walk to the exact spot you specified, just on the command of an eerie voice that gargles "Over here, MOTHERF***ER", even during combat their response is to simply pop in and out of one spot or to rush towards you, firing. Hardly opponents worthy of the galaxy's greatest hunter. The trophy kills are gruesomely satisfying, at least, but that's provided you can creep into the fussy hotspot required to trigger them.

This is a problem that recurs throughout the game, across all modes. There's a lot of reliance on context-sensitive prompts, but the game is needlessly picky about when you can do them. Shuffling about behind an enemy, trying to get the big button prompt to appear is hardly immersive.

It's even more damaging in the clumsily implemented jumping ability. Hold down the left trigger and you enter "focus mode". This highlights items and objectives, and also places you can leap to reach. Getting the jump marker in the right place is an enormous fiddle, and while this isn't an issue when you're playing stalker, it can be fatal when you're trying to escape from a sticky situation. Health draining away as you grapple with multiple buttons, trying to find a safe vantage point that the game will actually let you jump to, is no fun at all.

As an Alien, you scamper through the same maps for a third time, now able to stick to walls and ceilings, lashing out with tail and claws. It's a stripped-down control scheme that is actually quite refreshing after the over-complicated Predator mode. Sticky responses and clumsy interactions still blight the play, however.

It's easy to get confused while upside down, but that's something you can learn to overcome. Less forgivable is the way the game decides which surfaces you can scuttle up immediately, and which need you to hold down a trigger. Passing through doorways, for example, can leave you halfway up a wall. Equally, trying to escape down the side of a jungle temple can leave you exposed when the game suddenly decides that you need to hold a trigger to pass over an outcrop.

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Harvesting colonists as an Alien is perhaps the game's most entertaining distraction.

The same fussiness regarding stealth kills also proves problematic, though the ability to whip enemies off their feet with your tail alleviates the hassle somewhat.

All three campaigns have their moments of strength, usually when the flimsy story wiggles itself into something that looks a bit like a scene from one of the original movies, but on the whole they're all held back by bland design, dull maps and fussy control.

Too many functions require you to hold down a button rather than simply press it, usually triggering a long and uninterruptable animation that leaves you open to attack. For both Marine and Predator, the game actually gets easier as you go along, as your arsenal expands with powerful insta-kill weaponry while the enemies remain tethered to movie lore.

And that's without mentioning the weird little fumbles, such as the way the game swaps the Marine's weapons between levels. I found the combination of scoped rifle and shotgun worked best, yet time and again the game made an executive decision and started me in the next stage with the inaccurate and frankly rubbish pulse rifle.

It also makes poor use of the Predator, a creature clearly too overpowered to fit comfortably into this rickety shooter shell. Both the Marine and Alien rarely encounter their third stablemate, and when they do the battle is disappointingly flat. In fact, all the clunky and tiresome boss battles are just another weak link in a game already held together more by good faith than strong design glue.

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