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Review: Area 51 (PC)
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Written by Rondog   
Saturday, 29 October 2005 07:07

Rondog has come up with a review of the game Area 51 by Midway for the PC. See what he makes of this alien encouter. The Greys are back!

Review: Area 51 (PC)

 

Area 51, the infamous United States military base that allegedly is home to the artifacts recovered from the Roswell incident of the 1940’s has yet another video game based upon it.

Game Details: 

Title: Area 51
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Published by: Midway
Release Date: Out now

Minimum Systems Requirements:

Processor: 1.4 Ghz
Memory: 256 MB RAM
Video Card: 64MB of RAM

You play as mission specialist Ethan Cole (voiced by David Duchovny) along with three others who’s tasked to contain and secure a viral outbreak within the walls of Area 51. You do get to meet some of those crafty little creatures dubbed Grays. As well as a short jaunt to the “moon”.

The game is divided into several areas, starting out as a human, you battle wave after wave of infected Area 51 personnel, which are best described as Resident Evil zombies on crack. Then as you progress deeper, you unearth chilling conspiracies and a deadly plot that involves the destruction of the human race. The rest of your team is brutally killed in combat in the early stages of the game, where once you are on your own, you are bitten by a mutated scientist. The mission of containing the virus then takes a back seat to regaining your humanity. This is done a little to quickly for my liking, but allows you to change from mutant to human at will.

area51_001.jpg

Anyone who has played a first person shooter from the past two years will find the controls simple and easy to understand. It does bring some new elements to the first person shooter genre, such as the ability to change forms at will. The mutated form has a limited time though, and needs to be recharged (done by melee attacking foes). Essentially it is the same as all shooters. The same boring enemies that come in waves. The story line is all but non-existent, it is there, but only serves the purpose of getting in the way of blasting mutants and aliens. The AI could have been done better, but it’s to be expected. After playing for 10 min I realized the developers were aiming for frag-fest style game, where the user doesn’t have to think, just run where the map lets you, and waste anyone who gets in there way. One thing the game does very well is the accuracy of the guns, the longer you hold the trigger for, the more inaccurate it becomes.

The game has a brilliant physics engine the way bodies slump when they are blown up or shot. Every gun and grenade causes the bodies to fall a different way, and never the same way twice. When shot with a machine gun, they will fall backwards. When shot with a pistol, they tend to slump. If you shoot them with an alien weapon, I have seen them bounce off all walls. There is very little terrain interaction, as the weapons cannot destroy the walls.

The game lacks the ability to replay it. It is linear, so each time you play through, nothing will change. Although, there are many things that you can pick up throughout the game which fill in the back-story to what is happening. They are sometimes hidden quite cleverly. The game is multiplayer capable that makes up for its poor replayability.

The game sounds really nice. Sounds most likely done with a synthesizer, but are fairly believable. Could have done with some better music though, instead of repetitive monotones. Midway managed to wrangle some talent for the voice acting. David Duchovny voices the main character, he does it slightly blandly and without emotion (similar to X-Files) but he gets the point across. Most of the best voice acting comes from the characters that don’t play a major hole.


Praise

Gripes

  • Plenty of stuff to kill
  • Multiplayer capability
  • Brilliant Physics Engine
  • Bad music
  • No story line
  • Exploring the base reveals too many clichés

A good first person shooter because of its simplicity. A good game for playing when you need time to think about something and don’t want to be forced to think about solving what’s happening on screen. But if you are looking for something new and innovative, leave this title on the shelf. I would suggest waiting for Half-Life 2: Aftermath.

You may discuss this review here.

 

See also

None found.


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