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Release Date

Aliens vs. Predator 2
July 7, 2003 | Eddie Park

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Predators: Sneaky, Silent, and Really Ugly
Though Predators are undoubtedly combat badasses, the short-range factor of most of their weapons limits their effectiveness. For them, the name of the game is stealth, and their campaign will have players crawling, jumping and staying out of sight for the most part. It's vastly preferable to sneak up on a human from behind than face the business end of said human's pulse rifle.

Assisting the Predator is a variety of otherworldly technologies. Besides the famous cloaking ability, the Predator has access to four different vision modes. The first one lets him see normally, much as any human would. The second mode, which casts things in blue, lets him see heat fields, making humans stand out as rainbow-colored blotches just waiting to be made into trophies. The third mode, prominently in red, makes Aliens stand out in stark white. The fourth mode, which favors orange, allows the easy sighting of both Predators and their various weapons.

Some new weapons have also been introduced. Besides the signature wrist blades, speargun, and shoulder-mounted plasma caster, the Predator can also make use of a spear, remote bombs, and the super-cool netgun, which instantly traps any creature in a net, making it easy prey.

As in the first game, Predator players can collect human heads for trophies by smacking them with either the wrist blades or the spear. Thankfully, charging the wrist blades is no longer necessary - any random swipe will do the job. The energy regeneration scheme has also been changed a bit - while Predators in the past had to sit around and twiddle their thumbs to regain energy to power their cloaks and weapons, today's new Predator can use a Charge Emitter - basically a portable generator that almost instantly fills up the energy meter. While this Emitter can be used at any time, it prevents the Predator from doing anything else while using it, making it impractical for use during combat.

The Predator has also gained a crouch jump move, which allows it to jump much higher than normal. This is handier than it sounds, particularly since outdoor levels feature trees that the Predator can move around in. Running around invisible in the treetops and surveying potential targets oblivious to your presence down on the ground is practically a staple in the Predator mythos, and the ability to do so in AvP2 definitely adds some cool factor.

Alien: Claws and Teeth
Rather than drop players directly into the carapace of a drone, AvP2 allows players to experience the entire lifecycle. The campaign starts with the maneuvering of an escaped facehugger as it searches for a human host, then moves on to an immature larvae, and from there goes into a mature drone. While the pre-adult stages may not be strictly combat-oriented, it adds greatly to the feeling of becoming an Alien, something I'm sure we've all contemplated once in a while. Particularly when dealing with one's boss.

Aliens may not have much in the way of technology, but with a tough outer shell, a double set of jaws, and claws capable of rending steel, they hardly need any. Aliens are the fastest race in the game, running circles around the other two. They also have the ability to climb walls and ceilings, making them adept at both running away and ambushing unwary snacks. While climbing walls can be disorienting, AvP2 provides directional arrows that apprise players where their orientation lies as they crawl around, a welcome feature missing in the first game.

Aliens can now gain health by clawing at their meals as well as head biting them, though head biting still awards much more health. However rewarding head biting may be, there's something to be said for clawing something into pieces in a matter of seconds. Also new to the Alien is a pounce attack, which launches the Alien across a huge distance in the blink of an eye. Anything caught in the path of a hurtling Alien gets severely damaged, usually splattering into oblivion.

The Alien also sports its own unique vision, which outlines living targets with a hazy halo, making them much easier to find and munch on. For times when things get dark, the Alien can switch to its own form of nightvision, though this makes living beings invisible to it.


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