Aliens: Colonial Marines • Page 2

Another bug hunt. 

Sadly, the squad-based play hinted at when Aliens: Colonial Marines was first announced over five years ago, and which has been a part of Gearbox Software's oeuvre in the pre-toilet Nazi Brothers in Arms games, is entirely absent. This is a straight-up, run-and-gun shooter.

But at least it's a run-and-gun shooter with an iconic toolset. Gearbox Software doesn't pass up the opportunity to make the most of weapons such as the M41A Pulse Rifle or, for that more homely touch, the shotgun.

The motion sensor's as well executed here as it's ever been. In one interesting twist its use looks to be limited in a fashion similar to Doom III's flashlight, with the player slinging their weapon over their shoulder when the sensor's in use.

Although Aliens: Colonial Marines is more interested in the noisier components of the franchise's make-up, it does pay some attention to those moments of quiet horror. An exploration of Hadley's Hope, one of LV-426's deserted colonies, is tightly directed, taking explicit cues from the film - at one point, a seemingly dead facehugger suspended in a jar of liquid suddenly bursts into life.

But once the xenomorphs arrive there's little room for suspense. The aliens glimpsed in the strobed panic are well animated and devastatingly agile. They attack in large numbers, crawling across walls and slinking through air ducts. If they're allowed to get too close they'll leap on top of the player, kicking off a canned melee attack on their slobber-soaked chins.

As almost every moment of Aliens: Colonial Marines seems to have been plucked straight from the film, the occasional deviations from the script are jarring. A boss fight with a Crusher, a rhino-like alien pitched as a brutal counterpart to the queen, sits particularly awkwardly with the rest of the action.

But the game soon returns to more familiar and fertile turf as the Marines retreat to a cargo bay under heavy attack. Here they find a stash of ammo and some brief respite, enabling them to install sentry guns at each entrance before the assault recommences.

The wave-based play which follows is perfectly suited for Aliens: Colonial Marine's four player drop-in/drop-out co-op. This element exploited well by Aliens vs. Predator's Horde-like Survivor mode, and though there are no details yet on multiplayer for this game it's likely have a Gearbox twist.

The E3 demo comes to an inevitable climax as a fellow Marine straps himself into the Power Suit before duelling with an alien queen. It seems unlikely that any of the films set pieces will be left unplundered by this game, and for aficionados of the movie much of Aliens: Colonial Marines will be manna. All the same, there's room here for a little imagination to complement the game's rampant enthusiasm.

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About the author

Martin Robinson

Martin Robinson

Deputy Editor

Martin is Eurogamer's features and reviews editor. He has a Gradius 2 arcade board and likes to play racing games with special boots and gloves on.

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