Thursday, January 02, 2014

Playing this shit so you don't have to - Aliens: Colonial Marines

My mother (God rest her soul) always told me that if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. Actually, she didn't ever say that, but let's say she did for the purpose of a laboured gag and it's the sort of things Mums say* isn't it?

So anyway - where we we?  My mother always told me that if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. So, the video game Aliens: Colonial Marines released by Sega last year...



The cover art is quite nice. It's a silhouette of an alien head with some bad-ass marines inside it. Have a look. It's nice. It'd make quite a good poster or a design for a T-shirt.

Give me a minute, I'll find something else.


The box isn't coated with poison. It's got one of those proper couple-of-page old fashioned manuals that you never find anymore which tell you the controls and stuff. Aliens: Colonal Marines also has, to the best of my knowledge, never slept with anybodies wife, stole anybodies christmas club funds or spilled anybodies pint.

The disk actually loads when you put it into your console.

Actually, in hindsight, that last one is a really bad thing.

Slating Aliens: Colonial Marines (henceforth to be referred to as 'the game') is too easy and is like shooting fish in a barrel. Or like shooting the Aliens in this game, thanks to their sophisticated A.I. that I've replicated below in a handy flowchart.

Click to embiggen. (C) Sega 2012/2013
Yes, it's refreshing to see that the cunning ("What do you mean they cut the power, man?  They're animals") xenomorphs - as referred to by Bilbo Baggins in Alien as "a survivor, unclouded by conscience, remorse or delusions of morality" have been reduced to brainless cannon fodder hurtling themselves into your gunfire. This terrifying perfect killing machine is never any real threat and during the course of the game you will kill hundreds of them.

That is, anyway, in the rare bits of the game where you are actually confronted with Aliens and not Weyland Yutani soldiers. They have the same A.I. as the Aliens only they shoot a bit and are all suffer from a complete lack of direction or spacial awareness - which can lead to some humorous sections where you're both popping up from behind cover about 2 feet away from each other. Police Squad, anybody?

But it's not all bad. To their credit the developers have taken some of my very favourite moments of the plot and pay loyal homage to it here.

Remember the bit where Apone ordered the marines into the reactor but they all got stuck in the doorway and had to weirdly teleport in and out of existence so they could all fit through?  Me too.  Gripping, wasn't it?

Or the bit in the vents where everybody was running away from the Aliens and Ripley and Hicks got to the door at the end but it wouldn't open because there was still an Alien they hadn't killed five minutes ago, so they had to traipse all the way back to the start - with the dramatic music still playing - and kill it so they could slog all the way back and open the door.  The James Horner Aliens score has never been used more effectively, especially when its the same three minute being repeated over and over again in a twenty minute level. Gives me goosebumps, that one.

Another good thing; The hole in the centre of the disk makes a very
reasonable and affordable pickled onion display stand (Pickled Onions not included)
And when Ripley was in the powerloader but she kept randomly falling out of it and being prompted to press a button that did nothing? "Get away from her, you bitch" means very little when we're talking collision detection in a game of this calibre.

Your very favourite bits, right?

I found Aliens: Colonial Marines in a bargain bucket in Game and paid one earth pound for it. I feel like I've been ripped off somewhere. It's an embarrassing half-finished pile of utter crud that does more damage to the franchise than Alien: Resurrection managed, and thats saying something.

I'd comment on the online multiplayer but there is the possibility that I might have to share online time with people who paid full price for it, and I imagine they're very angry and I don't want to hear the swearing.

Rating: 3.1 Chestburster impregnated FoldsFives from a total of 117,012.25.

EDIT: Due to masochistic tendencies and a vague sense of unease, I've forced myself to play the final level of Aliens: Colonial Marines and I'm pleased to say it redeemed itself. The final Queen battle was an excellent piece of level design and was both tense and well balanced. Oh no, hang on, no it wasn't. It involved running around a badly designed level pushing five buttons culminating with a cut scene that ended half way through a piece of dialogue.

Game over, man.  This is Game Over.

True Unrelated Mum Fact: Despite loving Animal Hospital, my mother never liked Rolf Harris. And in her own words "I can't put my finger on it, there's just something about it".  I'd like to think that events of 2013 (and that remain to unfold throughout 2014) have vindicated my mothers dislike of Rolf. 

Mum, you were right.


  1. Outright lies. This is the best game ever. Period!

  2. It's nice to know that they let people have access to computers in facilities like yours now. Once upon a time, it was just crayons and nothing sharp ;)

  3. The disk could make a decent coaster I guess.


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