x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Aliens: Colonial Marines will be fun for Aliens fans

The world's most iconic aliens finally return to video game world. Seems a pity that you've now got to shoot them dead.

Aliens: Colonial Marines follows Corporal Christopher Winter, part of a search-and-rescue mission investigating the USS Sulaco.
Aliens: Colonial Marines follows Corporal Christopher Winter, part of a search-and-rescue mission investigating the USS Sulaco.

Aliens: Colonial Marines
Sega
PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC
***

Keeping on top of the Aliens family tree can be tricky. Last year, Ridley Scott gave us Prometheus, providing a hint as to how these odd-headed nasties came into the world (from the stomach of a terrifying humanoid alien that had been impregnated by a gigantic tentacled thing that had been forcibly removed from Noomi Rapace's insides, apparently).

But with Sega's Aliens: Colonial Marines, some five years in the works, we jump forward a generation or two, just after the events of James Cameron's second in the series, Aliens.

The plot for this first-person shooter has players take charge of Corporal Christopher Winter, part of a search-and-rescue mission sent to investigate the USS Sulaco in search of the ol' alien-batter herself, Ripley, plus the rest of the missing marines.

So far, so groovy. Who doesn't like Aliens? Nobody. Fact.

It begins decently enough, with the famed alien-infested spaceship offering enough reasons for neck hairs to stand to attention. While the graphics are a little rough in parts, the overall damp, the darkness of the corridors and the monstrous noises from fearsome inhabitants scuttling about in the ventilation shafts might up the scare levels somewhat. And yes, there are plenty of people stuck to the walls with unfortunate holes in their chests.

But when you are finally confronted with your first Xeno, it's anticlimactic. For starters, you've been told to use your iconic motion tracker, which bleeps with the worrying white blob moving ever closer. When it finally comes screaming round the corner, flapping its flappy things and baring those teeth, you've still got your motion tracker in your hand. By the time you've switched back to your gun, well, you're probably dead.

Another issue lies with AI. You'll often find a swarm of aliens charging directly at you despite the fact you've got another marine up ahead seemingly just picking his nails. Obviously, the game should be about the player but it does seem a touch unfair.

On the plus side, the manner in which the game pays tribute to the film is commendable. After the USS Sulaco is dealt with, the plot moves to the human colony Hadley's Hope, where most of the Aliens film takes place. The developers have clearly taken pains to recreate it right down to the last detail. Here the game takes an upwards turn, becoming much more open-ended.

Surroundings aside, fans should also appreciate items from the film (such as Hick's shotgun) cropping up, along with film-worthy one-liners. There are also power loaders scattered about that can be used throughout the game, including one for a boss battle.

As a simple first-person shooter with awkward AI and dated graphics, Aliens: Colonial Marines perhaps doesn't stand up to the current crop of leading titles. But for Aliens fans, it might just offer enough touches of the film's brilliance to make it a worthy purchase.

aritman@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @LifeNationalUAE