Aliens vs. Predator 2, by MacPlay
Posted: 27-Jul-2004

3 1/2 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: MacPlay Type: COMMERCIAL

Reviewer: Jim Melton Class: GAMES

Overview
Aliens vs Predator 2 (AVP2) is an extremely violent first-person shooter game. The ESRB rating of M is deserved. As in the first game, you can play as one of three races, Marine (Human), Predator, or Alien. The goal of the game is quite simple. Wreak as much carnage on your enemies as possible without dying.

Requirements

  • Mac OS 10.2.6
  • 700MHz G4
  • 256MB RAM (512MB RAM on iMacs)
  • 32MB OpenGL compatible video card
  • 1.3GB Free disk space

ESRB rating: M (Mature)

Reviewed On: I tested this game on a 1GHz 17" PowerBook G4 with 512MB RAM and a Microsoft scroll-wheel mouse.

Setup
Installation is as easy as you would expect from a Macintosh program. Put the CD in your drive, and double-click on the installer. The game comes with two CDs, and the installer prompts you when it is time to put the second disk in. One of the two CDs is required to be mounted in order to play the game.

In Use
Like most games of this genre, AVP2 provides a single-player campaign mode and an on-line multi-player mode. The campaign mode is filled with medium-quality animated cut-scenes that do a good job of weaving the story-line. The campaign appears to serve primarily as a tutorial, introducing various capabilities of the race in a phased approach. Still, I found it essential to keep the game manual quick-reference handy. There are just too many moves to remember everything.

You play the game from a first-person point of view, usually with your weapon just in front of you on the screen. The full-screen graphics usually scroll smoothly, although some times the game can slow down and become jerky. It's really hard to aim a weapon at a hungry Alien when you can't move your cross-hairs smoothly.

The basic controls are easy to master, although a mouse is required (don't try playing this with the track pad on a PowerBook), and a two-button mouse is strongly recommended. Direction is established by moving the mouse, including 360 degree look-angle (don't forget to look up). Character movement is accomplished with the W-S-A-D key group. Weapon fire uses the mouse button(s), and many weapons have alternate fire modes that use the second mouse button. There are several other controls that are common between the races, and each race has unique controls, according to their abilities.

Each race has strengths and weaknesses. Marines are the weakest, physically, but have more technology at their disposal. A marine's best defense is a to lay down a withering barrage of firepower. A marine's greatest weakness is his dependence on light to see. He carries a shoulder-mounted flashlight that works off a rechargeable battery. He also has night vision mode, but this works best in low- to no-light settings and drains the battery very quickly.

The Predator is my favorite. His ability to cloak and his spear gun make him the ultimate sniper, although cloaking does not work against Aliens. The Predator gains trophies by beheading his prey (either a well-placed speargun shot, or up-close and personal with the wrist blades or spear). The predator has three different enhanced vision modes: thermal mode, for tracking humans; EM mode, for tracking Aliens; and PredTech mode, for tracking other Predators. The Plasmacaster (rifle) and Disc work with the vision mode to lock on to tracked enemies.

Aliens are simple creatures. Their main goal is to kill and eat their enemies. Their chief advantage is that they can walk on walls. Most enemies think two dimensionally, so an attack from above can be extremely effective. The campaign mode for Alien moves through the Alien evolutionary stages, from Face Hugger, to Chest Biter (the opening scene for this stage gives you an alien's-eye view of bursting from your host's chest), to the adult forms of Alien. Aliens gain strength and health by biting the heads off their enemies, or otherwise dismembering them.

Game-play is intense. Even on the easiest setting, I frequently found myself running for my life, pursued by a swarm of enemies. The story-lines for each of the species are somewhat interrelated, but there is not a need to play them in order, such as with StarCraft. I found each story held my attention to the very end, and had a satisfying end-game. I did find it necessary to consult an on-line walk-through guide on occasion, when I just couldn't figure out how to satisfy a particular objective. All, in all, though, I found the game very playable.

I experienced several game crashes while playing. On a positive note, this game replaces the useless "send a report to Apple" dialog with feedback to the developer. On the down side, the last released update to this game was in August 2003, so it is still unlikely that your feedback will make any difference.

Internet multi-player mode does not work in Panther (OS X.3). See this
VersionTracker note. I did play on-line in Jaguar a few times, but didn't find it enjoyable. There didn't appear to be any strategy involved; as soon as you spawned, someone was there to kill you.

Summary
Aliens vs. Predator 2 (AVP2) is an extremely violent, gory, first-person shooter adventure game. It is full of heart-racing, pulse-pounding action. The game carries an ESRB rating of M, and cannot be recommended for children. You chose from the three races (Marine, Predator, Alien), and move through a story line where you must kill or be killed. The game is rich with weapons and tools to use. Usually, game-play is fast, smooth, and enjoyable, although sometimes it gets jerky, and even crashes. Internet play is broken for OS X.3, but works for earlier versions of OS X. For people who like to get behind some serious firepower and blow things up, this is an enjoyable game.


Pros

  • Compelling story-lines
  • 360-degree, full-screen action
  • Non-stop action
  • Lots of tools and weapons to use

Cons

  • Occasional crashes
  • Occasional jerky movement
  • Internet play doesn't work for Panther


Overall Rating

3 1/2 out of 5 Mice