You're entering a tight corridor filled with menacing shadows. Is that
breathing you hear? Well, don't run. Clanging metal walkways and
staircases always give your position away.
You might be playing a first- or third-person shooter or watching the film "Aliens."
science fiction/horror game of the last 20 years from the granddaddy
of them all, Id's "Doom," to recent titles such as Electronic Arts'
"Dead Space" series - owes a debt to the first two films in the "Alien"
franchise, Ridley Scott's moody 1979 original and James Cameron's
action-packed 1986 sequel, "Aliens."
"Aliens: Colonial Marines"
(Sega, for Xbox360, PS3, $59.99; for PC, $49.99) is the follow-up that
fans have been craving. (Forget about "Alien 3" and "Alien:
Resurrection.") Developed by Gearbox Software, maker of the fantastic
"Borderlands" series, it offers a strong story that fits perfectly
within the mythology of the franchise.
Taking place shortly after
the events of Cameron's sequel, "Colonial Marines" puts you right into
the thick of the action on the planet LV-426. You play as Cpl.
Christopher Winter, who arrives with his Marine unit at the planet in
response to a distress call from the U.S.S. Sulaco - the ship Sigourney
Weaver's Ellen Ripley is aboard at the close of the second film.
Your mission is to find out why the Sulaco is still orbiting LV-426.
If you can survive the xenomorphs.
attack you from the ceiling. Some spit acid. Some explode when you get
too close. When a face-hugger leaps at you for the first time, it'll
make you jump out of your seat and laugh at the same time.
are many nice touches drawn from the "Aliens" film. You can cut open and
seal doors with welding torches. Your main weapon is a pulse rifle -
complete with pump-action grenade launcher - and you can also track down
"Legendary" weapons that pack a bit more punch, such as Cpl. Hicks'
shotgun and Lt. Gorman's pistol. The ships and vehicles are spot-on with
those in the movie, and sparring with a xenomorph while strapped into a
power loader is as fun as it sounds.
And then there's my personal
favorite: the motion tracker. When a horde is closing in from all
directions, you may feel the urge to say, "There's something moving and
it ain't us."
As you progress through the 8- to 10-hour campaign,
you earn points that can be spent on weapon upgrades or your character's
appearance. These upgrades apply across all the content in the game -
including the multiplayer, which allows you to play as a xenomorph in
The settings are the real meat of the game. You
spend some time aboard the Sulaco before reaching the planet's surface
and fighting your way through the Hadley's Hope colony, both of which
boast a strong attention to detail when it comes to the set designs from
the film. Perhaps the most satisfying segment takes place aboard the
derelict spaceship, complete with egg chamber and - yes! - the "space
The ominous Weyland-Yutani Corp. hovers over everything,
and you may even pick up on a small reference to Scott's sort-of prequel
"Prometheus." And series veterans Michael Biehn and Lance Henriksen
provide voiceover work.
Truth be told, the mechanics are pretty
standard, the load times seem a bit long for this generation and the
closing segment with the alien queen falls very flat. Still, "Aliens:
Colonial Marines" should satisfy the average shooter fan and will
enthrall those who love the films. Three stars out of four.