Aliens Versus Predator versus Aliens Versus Predator 2. Yes, you read it right.
[Discuss in Forums]
In the red corner!
Weighing in at 400mb, developed by Rebellion, the 1999 classic Aliens versus Predator!!
In the blue corner!
Weighing in at 1.3gb, developed by Monolith, the 2001 sequel Aliens versus Predator 2!!
Well, it''s going to be quite a vicious fight ladies and gentlemen, so hold on to your
heads/masks/slimy xenomorphic mucus!
Round 1: Single-playerAlien missions
AvP1 gave some decent locations for the Alien to scrap it out in, the Temple and Ferarco levels for instance, but overall AvP2 scores the heavy blows here. For a start, the much-requested lifecycle feature came into being, giving you the chance to facehug someone and mature. I can''t recall any other gaming moment quite the same as knawing your way from a human chest, and this will no doubt be the part that AvP2 will always be fondly remembered for. As well as that, we''re treated to a rather wonderful romp through an Alien hive, with family members coming to your assistance to take down the nasty android crew. Having said that, the levels never require the puzzle-solving and navigational prowess that AvP1 demanded from the player (unless the crafty player was armed with a walkthrough...), and difficult parts in AvP2 come either from the toughness of enemies or just not being able to find a rather difficult-to-spot grate in a wall somewhere. When all''s said and done, though, the levels are more varied than AvP1''s Alien levels.
Both games batter each other into a deadlock here. Both had starting levels oozing with sweaty tension. In AvP1 the first Alien you meet doesn''t come entirely unexpected but it will tear a new player''s (or a player used to AvP2) heart from its resting place and fit it throbbingly into their mouth because of the incredible speed-- one minute it''s a dim shadow in the steam, the next it''s knocked 20 off your health. You shoot it, see the greenish blood fly. Phew! No! It''s still coming! Because a dismembered limb isn''t enough to send a xenomorph running home to its Queeny, and even after its head finally rolls and most of the player''s health has gone, the novice player wipes the sweat from his brow and walks on-- over the alien carcus, and gets a dose of acid dropping him to less health than Fat Bastard of Austin Powers fame. And then there''s still 7 more of the creatures left to kill....
In AvP2, the opening sequence scares you more through its design rather than the terrifying ability of your opponents-- the Pred running around the area leaving a trail of dead bodies, burnt bridges and demolished cars. And you appear to be right in its blood-stained path. This can be terrifying, especially the first time you play it, with the lights off, late at night.
As to the rest of the missions, both contain their occasional delights. The scuttling facehuggers more frequent in AvP1 make a distinctive sound to let you know that if you''re out of smartgun ammo your character''s probably about to have the last sexual encounter of his life, and not a pleasant one at that. AvP2 also builds up huge amounts of tension when you finally meet the Predator, with a long gruelling hunt sequence with a Predator that jumps around the tops of the colony buildings just like the one in the film.
Memorable levels include AvP1''s Orbital (the first battles with xenoborgs, and some excellent level design-- do you dare risk looking behind those doors?), Colony (straight from the films! also brilliant level design) and Tyrargo (because they just keep coming!!!) and AvP2''s Unwelcome Guests (incredible build-up of tension, very cinematic Predator attack), Betrayal (who can forget the sequence where you climb around the outside of the pod so incredibly high above the ground?) and Savior (great architecture-- the mappers did a good job of adapting the original design of the Alien derelict ship).
AvP2 pulverises AvP1''s rather poor offerings into the ropes. The only level I would ever play in AvP1 was Waterfall because it was the only level where you could come near to acting like a true Predator, hunting your hapless human prey. Vaults was actually too damn scary for me! This was the first time I died on my first time round, and the prospect of fighting my way back through the underground maze was not a happy one. Scariness is one of the game''s selling points, but the oppressive atmosphere of this level can be a bit excessive. Or maybe I''m just a pansy.
AvP2, on the other hand, had some really amazing trick moves up its sleaves which blinded the opposition. For the first time, fans of the Schwarzenegger film could actually live out the experience of being the Invisible Killer, silently and unstoppably stalking its weak prey from the treetops, and even for those too young/foolish to have seen the film, the Predator''s chuckle when his victim''s head parts company with its shoulders courtesy of a bloody big projectile spear is enough to raise a smile. And then there''s the incredible final level, where you chase an ensuited Rykov through the ancient Space Jockey artifact, now infested with a huge alien hive. Incredible scenary and hordes of Aliens (and a Queen which is uncomfortably close to being invincible on the higher levels) make this a level to remember, despite the rather easy final boss.
AvP1''s missions allowed you to either play each campaign mission in story order (however rudimentary the story may have been...) or to just play each level seperately. As the game automatically takes you back to the menues at the end of a level, it''s easy to play seperate levels as individuals. The storyline may be extremely simplistic, more of an excuse to throw the three species into a level together, but Fox is the guilty party here-- they told Rebellion shortly before the release date that they wanted the game to be story-based, up until then the game consisted of stand-alone missions. However, this structure is a good one in my opinion. And if you were in need of even more variety, you were offered a series of skirmish levels, basically arenas with an unlimited supply of Aliens coming at you. The stand-alone mission style contributed vastly to the replay value of the game.
AvP2''s missions, on the other hand, had a strong storyline to piece them together. However, this is also its downfall-- because you play through a story it becomes difficult to play a level individually, especially as when the level is finished the game takes you to the next level instead of the level-selection menu. The lack of skirmish levels is unforgiveable, as it doesn''t give AvP2 much of a variety of single-player arenas.
So due to the design of these two games, AvP1 is the more replayable of the two, and will most likely be the one we''re still playing in single-player when AvP3 comes out.
Round 2: MultiplayerNetcode
Both games are legendary for their execrable netcode. I only played about 10 AvP1 games online with my 56k, but it was enough. It takes several minutes for the bullet to leave your extremely laggy gun. AvP2''s netcode is quite a lot better, now it only takes about 30 seconds for the bullet to find a target! (to do it justice though, this isn''t in all servers and only on a 56k.) It had many rather horrendous bugs on release (remember the invisibles?), but they''re mostly ironed out now. AvP2''s netcode still isn''t on a par with the best shooters on the shelf though, which is a shame because many who buy AvP2 fancy a chance at showing to the world what a great hunter, ugly bug or skilled marine they are. The next game really needs to be geared up for a multiplayer experience.
AvP2 basically took the gametypes that existed in AvP1 and added a few new ones, so it''s quite obvious who the winner in this category is. However, the new gametypes feel very clunky and are pretty unimaginative, most people tend to favour good old-fashioned DeathMatch and TeamDeathMatch. This is another reason why AvP2 isn''t on a par with the best multiplayer games out there: if only Monolith had used a different developer to do this aspect, as Id did with Return To Castle Wolfenstein.
Both games'' maps are fairly similar in style, but AvP2 offers more variety-- not all levels are dark and enclosed, which is a criticism that can be levelled at AvP1. Compound, for example, is a breath of fresh air, and is very popular. Weapon and powerup placement is all pretty good, and there are very rarely any bugs-- this goes for both games. One thing the maps lack, though, are "treats".... secret rooms and powerups, traps, etc. One really decent map just came out (SnackLab) with a trap in it-- another "if only" for Monolith here!
Round 3: CharactersThe Alien
The Alien in both games is an awesome creature. AvP1''s barbarous brain-eater''s big advantage was that it could race around at incredible speeds, fast enough even to outrun the tracking on the relatively few auto-aiming weapons AvP1 had. This meant that using auto-aiming weapons was discouraged, because a player would be more likely to hit a speeding Alien by aiming himself-- which needless to say requires more skill. Once the Alien got up close, the auto-aiming tail would rend apart the enemy, and charging up the tail before hurtling into an attack was something worth-while-- in AvP2 there''s not much point because the Pounce does the work of the tail attack more powerfully.
The AvP2 Alien is also easily capable of disposing of an enemy in a blink of an eye. The trouble is, when an Alien attacks, unless the bug-player is exceptionally stealthy or lucky they''ll always take damage, regardless of whether they kill their enemy or not, because Aliens just aren''t as fast as they were in the previous game. In fact, for certain classes, they''re actually slower than their opposition. Healing can also be a problem, because clawing carcusses doesn''t give much health and a couple of classes can''t headbite. This makes the AvP2 Alien very powerful, but short-lived. There''s something wrong when even a good player dies on a more-than-regular basis.
So overall, although both species back quite a punch, AvP1''s xenomorph is the better and more balanced type.
AvP2 took the marine of the original game and beefed him up. He''s now a bit tougher (and armour actually makes a difference now), can see in the dark more easily thanks to his shoulder-lamp, and has an even more formidable arsenal. It''s the last point which can lead to problems in the game''s balance-- marines are just too good. The pulse rifle is a perfect weapon to start with, packing enough power to take down your enemies if your aim is steady, while a headshot with it can top a foe very quickly. As soon as you find an ammo box, however, you get the grenades, whose big explosions can see away any foe-- particularly the big lumbering Predaliens and Praetorians, as well as other slow-moving marines. The rest of the arsenal tips the balance even further to the marine''s favour, as the smartgun''s aiming reticule moves fast enough to catch any enemy quickly regardless of their speed, while its stopping power quickly wastes the enemy. Aimbots are mods (or cheats in most peoples'' opinions) in other games that allow the player to dispose of an enemy without the inconvenience of having to aim or have any skill at all-- why is such an easy-to-use aimbot actually supplied with the game?? Then there''s the flame-thrower, of which even the merest touch will kill a Runner or Drone, even if they''re at full health. Even a novice and unskilled marine player can toast a veteran Alien player with this weapon. Grenades are a mixed blessing-- the Pulse Rifle ''nades need to move in an arc like the Plasma Pistol shots in AvP1 so they require more skill to hit a target and EMPs should give their enemies a faster recovery time, but the timed grenades and proxy ''nades are much more well done than those of the first game. However, the rocket launcher and minigun are well-balanced weapons, because of the impairment to movement with both weapons. And at least you actually need to aim to score kills with these two.
In AvP1 the marine''s arsenal was also exceptionally powerful, but it could be difficult for a marine to find weapons quickly, which was his disadvantage to balance the character out. Also, the smartgun''s auto-aim was slower, and flame-throwers didn''t spell instant death. While the AvP2 marine is a blast in single-player, in multi-player he''s just too bad.
AvP2 undoubtedly nets and guts AvP1 in this section. The AvP1 Pred felt like a human with a vast amount of health and a medicomp. Plus, his weapons were too cumbersome, and too specialised-- there were no general-purpose weapons. The wristblades could take large chunks from an enemy when charged up, but it was difficult to land a blow-- the Alien''s tail attack did roughly the same damage but it did the aiming for you if you got close enough. Plus, they were slow to use, pretty useless unless against an unwary marine. The speargun could spell instant death, but due to AvP1''s laggy netcode it was impossible to land a hit with it. If you didn''t get a hit, it would reveal your position because it uncloaks the Predator. The plasmacaster is the one Predator weapon I can say Rebellion did a better job than Monolith with. AvP2''s plasmacaster is useful in single-player for mowing down the vast masses of Aliens that come at you in some places, but in multiplayer it''s a bit over-the-top. You can''t dodge away from it, because the bolt actually homes in on you while in the air, which makes it worse than the smartgun in some cases. You can''t even hide round a corner or behind boxes, because the splash damage will catch you. In AvP1 the ''caster itself aimed in on the enemy if you were in the right vision mode, but the projectile itself would just fire in a straight line, which seems fair to me. Monolith decided for some unfathomable reason that it would be nice to let the plasma bolt actually follow you while in the air, so that there''s no escape. Add to this the fact that the plasmacaster''s the only decent starting weapon in a non-class-weapons-based server, and you get something quite ridiculous.
And on the subject of Predator starting weapons, Monolith also forget that the Pred''s main advantage is that it starts with its entire arsenal, so it doesn''t have to go around looking for anything other than field charge. Anyway back to the weapons, the plasma pistols in both games are pretty decent. AvP1''s pistol was basically the only way to deal with Aliens, but wasn''t so lethal that they couldn''t touch you. AvP2''s pistol is a good all-rounder, but possibly paralyses Aliens for a bit too long-- unlike marines they have no ranged weapons to shoot you with while paralysed. The netgun is of course a weapon only seen in AvP2, and is a very welcome addition (although it would be nice if it had a larger supply of nets), and surprisingly well balanced. The disc was AvP1''s Big Gun, and the only reason why the Predator wasn''t completely useless in the first game. In AvP2, the disc has been balanced to move more slowly making a loud noise, so even a marine has a chance to make a run for it.
Overall, while Monolith made mistakes with one or two of the weapons, they managed to give a much better experience of being the Invisible Killer.
AvP2, because the AvP1 alien''s hands were gigantic. The sounds are also more movie-realistic in AvP2, and unlike its predecessor they sound less like disgruntled parrots. However, the model could be better. The mouth looks cheesy, and the feet look... froggy.
Wasn''t featured in AvP1. However, it''s a decent model, although not entirely in keeping with the films (Alien3).
AvP1 scores on the sounds here, the bestial growls of the PredAlien echoing through the Vaults contributed well to the terrifying atmosphere of this level. Both games make the PredAlien look rather unrealistic, but AvP1''s PredAlien had better animations, and was a genuinely scary creature. AvP2''s PredAlien while uncrouched tends to remind me of a relentless street-salesman for some reason...
AvP2''s Praetorian has a very poor quality skin, which doesn''t do any justice to such a powerful creature. It''s also very difficult to tell an AvP2 Praetorian apart from the Queen. AvP1''s Praetorian, while having a Queenlike head, had very different animations to the larger creatures, and a very nicely detailed skin. AvP1''s Praetorian also had better sounds, I have a suspicion some of AvP2''s are recycled sound-effects from the first games'' Predator. Having said that, AvP2''s background information for Praetorians (see the mission briefing [Tab button] for the Marine level Loose Ends) was commendably creative.
AvP1''s human models and skins struck me as being rather low quality, but this could simply be down to the limitations of the old engine. Some of AvP2''s costumes can look rather odd but such effects as the blinking eyelids are cute. While AvP2''s human voice-acting is *usually* (not always-- particularly the rather flat-sounding taunts) reasonable, the incessant female screaming in multi-player is somewhat disturbing. Having said that, AvP2ís weapon sounds are vastly more satisfying, you can almost feel the pulse rifle buck in your hands as you deliver rapid-fire high-calibre death to the alien hordes.
AvP2''s Predator models and skins are jaw-dropping, particularly in comparison to those of the first game. The AvP2 Predator sounds are also very true to the films, particularly the hair-raising taunts.
If this were a boxing match, it would have to be Celebrity Deathmatch because one game''s several years too old to fight its younger cousin in the ring. But if both are measured on their own merits, both are pretty good, although each betters the other in certain aspects. If they were joined together, they''d be a game worthy of many awards. As it is, we''ll have to sit and wait for something better to come along, hopefully without the annoying flaws.
[Discuss in Forums]
All copyrights and trademarks belong to their respective owners. This site is for the promotion of selected material, no infringements are intended. All reasonable efforts have been taken to credit the respective owners and/or authors.