It seems humanity stands little chance of survival with two malevolent extraterrestrial species battling it out on Earth in a growing vendetta that's likely to leave more than its fair share of casualties. And while there would be far less bloodshed if both Aliens and Predators sat down and discussed their differences instead of trying to kill each other, a game entitled Aliens vs. Predator: Sunday Tea and a Long Chat probably wouldn't be too popular.
Thankfully, Sierra has not only gone for action but also allowed players to assume the role of a Predator rather than an innocent human caught in this nasty crossfire. Based on the film of the same name, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem puts you in the role of an elite Predator warrior who has to track and destroy all traces of the Alien species which crash-landed a spaceship in Gunnison, Colorado.
Where does he get those wonderful toys?
True to the movies, your Predator is quite a diverse character, which adds a nice touch of variety to proceedings. Staying within a third-person perspective, you can switch vision modes to thermal, tech or alien, each with its own use. The tech one, for example, is handy when looking for ship parts that need to be destroyed before any humans discover them, while the Alien visor allows you effectively to scour for the tongue-wielding beasts in dark conditions.
On top of all that are your weapons, which range from wrist blades and shoulder cannons, to shurikens and a deadly spear. Each one can be upgraded for further death dealing damage, while your Predator also has a number of counter moves to retaliate against some of the more aggressive Aliens. There's also the expected ability to cloak yourself from plain sight, although this is disabled if you interact with water (as depicted in the films) and the drain on the Predator's suit battery cells means they need replenishing before the cloak can be reactivated.
"Get to the choppaaa!"
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem is very effective at conveying the sort of atmosphere appropriate for a game starring two of the scariest creatures in celluloid history. The graphics are sharp and well animated yet feature a dark gloomy essence that makes them perfect for tense moments where Aliens leap out from their hiding spot. At the same time a number of nice touches increase this sense of immersion, such as the intentional glitches you sometimes get on your visor vision, or the excellent cloaking effects.
Even better is the booming soundtrack and eerie sound effects which boost the drama dramatically, especially if you've equipped yourself with a pair of headphones for a pseudo surround sound set-up. Alien croaks and shrieks encompass you while you dash around the varied and detailed 3D environments - which also permit you to choose a route towards the final stages.
There are plenty of opportunities for frights in these places, as well. Through dark cities, overcast woods, sewers and more, the adventure offers ample Alien crushing opportunities where the gameplay essentials of finding and fighting enter full flow. A few set pieces break up the action, with some engaging moments where you're caught between armed humans (occasionally in tanks) and a gang of Aliens. Neither is particularly friendly towards you, but you lose points for letting any innocents die. Striking a balance between protecting those who want to kill you and wiping out the vicious acid bleeding creatures is easily one of the game's finer and more memorable elements.
The thrill of the hunt
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem provides the necessary tension and ambience that makes it a fine accompaniment to the film. This jumpy action adventure will have you monster mashing 'till the wee hours... just as long as you keep the lights on.