Alien Vs Predator

The game that the Jaguar is famous for, and one of my favourite games of all time - Alien Vs Predator. I'm something of an aficionado when it comes to the whole Alien franchise - I've seen Aliens (the second film) more times than I care to remember, and I have a similar fondness for the other films in the quadrilogy. Likewise, I have seen Predator and it's sequel on multiple occasions and could quote you any number of lines from any of them. Sad? Yes. Even sadder is that I own a Weyland Yutani jacket and actually wear it in public...but that's another story.

The main focus of this article is the Jaguar-based representation of the Alien universe, and as a self-confessed expert in the field, I can't help but say (write) that it's the best console-based Alien Vs Predator game in existence. Yes I've played the SNES version. Yes I've played the Xbox360 version. I've also played the arcade and PC versions, but they don't count (and this is still superior to the arcade (SNES) version, which is a side scrolling beat 'em up anyway). The original entry into the whole pantheon of AvP games (and films, to be honest) began with the Jaguar version. And, to quote Vasquez - it rocks.

The game is a fairly simple first person shooter in practice - you choose either a marine, an Alien or a Predator to play as. Each character has a different storyline, but the goals are ultimately the same - survive and kick the shit out of the other species roaming around. In practice, the three different races present three difficulty levels: the marine is probably the easiest, then the Predator, then the Alien. The Alien has zero projectile weapons but has the ability to cocoon human foes, thus allowing for potentially infinite continues (you restart from the last cocooned marine if you get gunned down), while the Predator has the ability to become invisible and also has various different infrared modes of vision. The upside to this is that marines (and Aliens) cannot see you, but any kills you make while invisible will detract from your overall score. And higher scores equal more advanced weapons, so being visible when you slice and dice is in your best interest. Lastly, playing as the marine is like playing your average first person shooter - you get various canonically correct weapons (pulse rifles, smart guns, etc) and limited health packs, and must make your way into the heart of the Alien nest to kill the queen...whilst avoiding hoards of Alien soldiers and a supporting cast of face huggers. Just another day at the office on LV426*, then. Happily, Carter Burke isn't around to add to your woes, but he was always expendable anyway.

For me, AvP is the most graphically impressive game on the Jag. Lots of detractors like to point and laugh at the console's 3D games, but most of them probably haven't seen this - it's fully textured and moves at a fair old pace, and while the ray-traced engine makes for some pretty boxy environments, the sheer atmosphere and tension makes up for that. The game reminds me a lot of Space Hulk: Vengeance of the Blood Angels on the 3DO, in that there is so much atmosphere, so much 'not knowing what's around the next corner.' You can enter air ducts as the marine, and this instantly brings back memories of the whole 'air duct' sequence - "you always were an asshole, Gorman" - from Aliens...and this is stuff that's right up my street (air duct?!).

As you can no doubt tell, I love this game to bits. It has everything - from the sound of the pulse rifles and the motion trackers, to the Predator's laugh, to the Alien's squeals. AvP is without doubt one of the best games on the Jag and certainly on of the best Alien-based games out there. If you own a Jaguar, you should own this game, it's that simple.

* - I know this game isn't set on LV426, before you jump down my throat :)


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