It doesn’t matter whether you are a fan of the movies, the first game or just getting acquainted with the AvP universe, Aliens vs. Predator 2 is quite possibly the best first-person shooter video game out there. Produced by Sierra, Fox Interactive and Monolith, AvP2 is a fitting follow up to Aliens vs. Predator.

Fans of the movies will be delighted to know that the folks at Fox studios did their best to keep the game true to the original feel of the movies. The sights and sounds of the game keep with tradition and immerse you in a sometimes terrifyingly real environment.

In-game movies and missions with a clear purpose lend the game a strong, story-like feel. As you play each species, you will notice how all three campaigns tie into each other while remaining distinctly different storylines. Add to this quality game play the stunningly realistic graphics courtesy of Monolith.

The world you play in comes complete with shadows, water, hills, trees and more. The graphics are rendered beautifully and the 3-D models are so life like that the humans’ faces even have changing expressions.

With three species and seven missions each, AvP2 offers plenty of single player action with high replay value. Each species, Alien, Predator and Marine, has a completely different feel and strategy. As an Alien, you play each stage of the life cycle and are treated with a real claws-on approach to dispatching your enemies. Predators stalk their prey like big game hunters with high tech weapons and special targeting and stealth abilities. If you play a Colonel Marine, your mission is simple ? use your awesomely powerful weapons to annihilate anything that so much as twitches.

Play each species at 4 difficulty levels ? Easy for newbies only, Medium which is “average” difficulty ? but who wants to be just average?, Hard which is a respectable setting for true gamers and Hardcore for those who like to sweat.

If you prefer to humiliate your friends online, multiplayer is the option for you. With 16 different playable characters, it never gets boring. Each level is significantly different, and you have the option of Survivor, Evac, Overrun, Team Deathmatch, and Deathmatch.

Survivor, Evac, and Overrun are similar situations ? Team A’s mission is to survive and get to the evacuation point, and Team B’s mission is to eradicate Team A. The games are fast and furious, and as with the single player, the options of different species allow much greater freedom of expression in game play.

Unfortunately, the game does have some bugs ? no pun intended. The loading time between missions seems to take forever and the game is murder on graphics and resources. The minimum requirements are Windows 95 or better, DirectX 8 or higher, a Pentium III 450MHZ, 128 MB RAM, 16MB hardware accelerator card with Direct 3D support, a 4x CD-ROM, Mouse, Keyboard, DirectX compatible sound card, 750MB of free hard drive space and a 56K modem or LAN connection for multiplayer.

Believe me, these are minimum requirements. On my Dell 4300 I have to turn almost all the graphics and sounds settings to low and the game still lags a little during heavy fighting.

Despite those hang-ups, AvP2 is an extremely satisfying game and well worth buying at a retail price around $46. For the latest information on Aliens vs. Predator 2, visit www.avpnews.com.

Soler can be reached at bsoler@campustimes.org.



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