If you haven’t gotten Aliens vs. Predator 2 yet, do it. Now. I’ll wait till you get back.

For those of you who do have AvP2, then I’m sure you have heard of the expansion pack, Primal Hunt.

Now I’ll bet you’re wondering if this expansion pack is going to be a worthwhile investment or a disappointing dud. Let me lay the details out for you.

As with the core game, Primal Hunt is not gentle with computer resources. It goes without mentioning that having Aliens vs Predator 2 installed first is a pre-requisite for Primal Hunt and of course you need the usual peripherals ? mouse, keyboard, 4x CD-ROM.

Aside from that, a Pentium 3 450MHz or higher, 128 MB RAM, 600MB free hard drive space, DirectX 8 or higher and a DirectX compatable 16 bit sound card will be helpful.

This all needs to be run on a Windows 98 or later platform. If you want to play multiplayer games, a method of connecting to the Internet such as a 56K modem or Local Area Network is required.

Now that we’ve gotten rid of the technical details, we can get to the question of gameplay value. The graphics are just as smooth as the core game, though there seem to be bugs every so often.

The storyline seems plausible enough, though as with any prequel there is a little revisionist history in the game. The general story is that 500 years before the start of the core game, a party of Predators lands on the planet in question and finds an ancient artifact that can control the aliens.

One Predator ends up getting trapped in stasis, and is accidentally freed 500 years later when a Corporate Mercenary takes the artifact. From that point on, the three races are in a deadly competition to possess this artifact.

As with any add-on, this game has exciting new weapons and at least one new character class. The Corporate player now has a 360-degree motion tracker and the ability to wield dual pistols.

The motion tracker is nice, but by the time it picks anything up, it’s probably too late. The dual pistols are devastatingly powerful, but they run out of ammo twice as fast and take twice as long to load. The click-click sound is usually the last thing you hear if you rely on this weapon too heavily.

The Predalien class for the aliens has finally been given the ability to headbite, making it now possible to replenish your health. Unfortunately, one of the biggest advantages of the Predalien ? the incredible range of their pounce attack ? is almost useless in the confined corridors for almost all the predalien levels.

The new Predator class is interesting. It’s called “Ancient Predator” and the graphic interface actually gives the feeling of older Predator technology. The new weapon system for the Predator, the Energy Flechett, is like a laser machine gun but nearly useless due to its low power.

The new version of the cloaking field is awful and does almost nothing in multiplayer, though the abilty to self-destruct in multiplayer when your life runs down to 10 percent is fun to play with.

Other neat little features include the Corporate player’s ability to pick up and set sentry guns and to control stationary turret miniguns. As a Predator and as a Corporate, you have to traverse stretches of wild land in the game. This time, those wild lands are populated with an assortment of nasty, non-playable creatures.

Overall, it is a fun little game to play, especially if you really liked the core game. Otherwise, it may not be worth the purchase.

Soler can be reached at bsoler@campustimes.org.



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