I recently purchased Aliens: Colonial Marines for twelve bucks on Steam during the Summer Sale, I figured my admiration of the franchise was enough to warrant twelve bucks. Iíve heard the game had some bug fixes that made the game a tad more respectable, so Iím coming into this game with low expectations knowing most people thought this game was horrible. I figured, for something a bit on the fun side, I would do a little bit of a ďlive blogĒ chronicle of my journey through this bargain bin video game.
The very first thing that irked me wasnít even within the game itself, it was the goddamn desktop icon. The icon is some red, white, and blue military logo which Iím assuming is the symbol for the Colonial Marine Corps in this gameís universe. Still, itís a bright & colorful logo, doesnít that seem pretty out of place for an Aliens game? Shit, if something like that can bug me I donít know if Iíll survive this.
Okay, so, starting up the game. *Gulp*.
Hey, the game opens up with Corporal Hicks! And heís voiced by Michael Biehn, sweet! Wait a minute, heís got the bandages and stuff that he had at the very end of Aliens. Wasnít he unconscious by this point in the story, how could he have gone and sent off a distress message when Bishop drugged him unconscious? Maybe he woke up inside the dropship and sent the message from in there? If so, what a dick, he could have grabbed a pulse rifle and helped Ripley fight the queen! Jerkface!
Anyways, after the Hicks segment Iím treated to the most bland intro to an action game Iíve ever seen. I noticed how all of the opening ďcreditsĒ were all done in what looks like a bolded Impact font, couldnít they even bother to use the proper ďAliensĒ font? Thereís not even a buildup to the title reveal like how the movies did it, the title just kind of pops up with barely a musical queue.
Thatís when it sinks inÖ oh god, Iím doing this.
I saw a couple of marine dropships flying around what looks like the USS Sulaco and then some guy named Cruz starts talking, but I immediately tune him out because holy shit his voice actor is bad. But I canít even marvel at the beauty of the Sulaco mainly because Iím distracted by a close up shot of a dropship and immediately notice that the texture on the dropships hull is horrible even by Xbox 360 standards. I try to focus back in on that Cruz fellow because heíll probably have something important to say I guess. But really, his voice actor is horrible, it seems like heís trying to be some really bad hybrid of Sgt. Apone from Aliens and Col. Quaritch from Avatar.
My attention to the actual plot is distracted again because I immediately guffaw at something else that I donít think should have happened.
Why the fuck do Ashly Burch, Derek Phillips, and company all have higher billing than Lance Henriksen and Michael fucking Biehn?! With all due respect, why do they get higher billing than two people who were stars of the original fucking movie this game is following up on? †ARGH THIS FUCKING GAME!
Alright, so I havenít been totally paying attention to what this Cruz guy is saying. Apparently some rhinos or something are on board the Sulaco? That doesnít make any fucking sense, so Iím just going to assume I missed something. Oh, by the way, so far every voice actor has been pretty much awful.
Oh, and the ship you arrive on is called the USS Sephora. Okay, so we have the Sulaco and the Sephora. Both ships are near identical, begin with the letter ďsĒ, have three syllable names, and end with vowels. Man, I wonder if the writers could have done any more to make it plainly obvious that this ship is pretty much their fan-fiction version of the Sulaco. It kind of reminds me of that one episode of Star Trek: Voyager where The Doctor was writing his own sci-fi story about the ďUSS VortexĒ which was totally not supposed to be Voyager.
Sweet buttery Christ, my word doc for this blog is already into its second page and I havenít even gotten to actual gameplay yet! This is just delightful.
Alright, gameplay finally! Everything seems like a typical first person shooter affair, all of the button mappings make sense for a first person shooter. Oh, Iím using my 360 controller for this game by the way. Yeah, I know, Iím playing a first person shooter on PC with a gamepad. You Master Race purists can go suck it, I like my controller more.
Okay, so, walking through the space hallway into the Sulaco now. Thereís an explosion which makes everything shake and starts breaking the glass of the hallway Iím in. Iím told to head into the Sulaco, but they canít use the umbilical anymore because itís damaged. Whatever, plot device I guess.
I stumble upon a few downed marines. Man, I have no idea what could have done this, maybe it wasÖ I dunno, some aliens. Anyways, Iím told to go find the other rhino people because theyíre elsewhere on the Sulaco. (At this point I remembered that ďRhinoĒ was the squad name or something along those lines, but for the sake of comedy Iím going to pretend that Iím finding rhinoceros marines on the Sulaco).
Oh, hey look, itís the hanger room from Aliens where Ripley fought the Queen! Hey, look, Bishopís legs are still lying there! I bet those smell nice and ripe right about now. This room actually looks decently faithful to what I remember from the movie. My only minor gripes are that not nearly enough of those floor grates are pulled off from the floor (from when the Queen was chasing Newt), and why are there acid burns in the floor when the Queen never bled?
I think right now is a good time to point out that so far I have not been impressed with this game at all graphically. Itís serviceable, yeah, but nothing to call home about. Some of the details in the environments look good, but then there are other things (particularly the humans) that all look like they were pulled from an early 2006 Xbox 360 game. The 2010 Aliens vs Predator game looks noticeably better than this.
So, Iím exploring the Sulaco a little more (at least what theyíll let me explore, thereís been a painful amount of linearity so far), and then I stumble into a xenomorph nest on board the Sulaco.
When did the Alien Queen have time to set up all of this? She was the only xenomorph that got on board the Sulaco during Aliens (by factor of no other aliens came out of the fucking dropship to help fight Ripley), and even if she planted some eggs in the dropship it wouldnít have meant jack shit because there would have been no other creatures to impregnate and make more xenomorphs. The only remaining explanation is that there were a bunch of eggs left behind by the Queen, the marines that just arrived on the ship all got impregnated in a hurry, xenomorphs shot out of their chest already in adult form, and built all of this within an hour. Damn. Well, the whole ďThe Queen left eggs behindĒ thing at least makes sense given how Ripley gets facehugged in the opening moments of Alien 3, but Alien 3 was a shit movie so basing anything off of Alien 3 is instantly a bad thing.
Jesus fucking Christ, Iím not even 15 minutes into this damn game and Iíve already found one major issue with the story.
Iím apparently near the Rhino Marine I need to find, because I got an objective indicator on my screen that says ďCut down KeyesĒ. Iím just going to pretend that Iím playing Halo and that Iím trying to locate Captain Keyes, because Iím already thinking about other better video games I could be playing. I donít free Keyes immediately though, because Iím too distracted by the fact that every other marine currently stuck to the alien walls all look identical to each other. Fucking really, Gearbox?
I finally go to free Captain Keyes, and BAM suddenly an alien shows up to drool and hiss at me. Okay, thatís it, the big fucking reveal of the xenomorphs is done like this? Really? That was a terrible build up! No tension or anything to it! AvP2 strung you along for an entire fucking mission making you think an alien was around the corner for a half a goddamn hour making you jumpy as fuck by the time one actually shows up, and even AvP 2010 did a better job than this. Also, Iím confused as to why thereís only one xenomorph in what appears to be the hive.
*Grumble* Anyways, I go and gun down the xenomorph because I enjoy not having my face eaten off and then go and actually free Captain Keyes. Commander Stereotype chimes in on our walkie-talkies telling us to get back to the USS Fan-Fiction. However, Captain Keyes instead wants us to get the flight recorder so that we can detonate the Pillar of AutumnÖ I mean, erÖ sorry, wrong gameÖ so we can find out what happened to the Sulaco and her crew.
Keyes and I make our way through the Sulaco fighting through a couple of rooms of xenomorphs. Iíve noticed that Keyes has a really bad habit of standing completely still and blankly staring at me with his gun at his side while xenomorphs leap over his head directly at me. He even let one alien punch him in the shoulder before he even realized he should be firing his gunÖ. Man, the entry levels for the Colonial Marine Corps sure have gone down in recent years.
It was right about now that I realized I was also carrying a shotgun, due to the fact that the game at no other point in time gave me any kind of prompt letting me know ďhey, fuck-face, you have a shotgun on your back!Ē. I found the shotgun far more effective in my xenomorph murdering agenda, because the pulse rifle apparently shoots gummy bears considering it takes that gun a little too long to kill things.
Eventually we find the flight recorder and then get back to the hanger room I mentioned earlier. Captain Keyes sees an alien standing on the dropship, so he immediately decides to throw a grenade right at the dropship causing a bunch of warheads sitting next to the ship to all explode (all for just one alien). I also take note that the explosion for this is far too small given everything that exploded.
We make our way towards the hanger room door and two other marines are there waiting for us, their last names are Pulaski and OíNeal, if I remember right. Because Iíd rather them not be mindless automatons, I immediately pretend that Iím fighting xenomorphs alongside Captain Keyes from Halo, Shaquille OíNeal from the epic superhero movie Steel, and Dr. Pulaski from the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Because of Keyesí stupid grenade stunt, the door behind us is locked and now we have to protect Keyes as he unlocks the door. So myself, Dr. Pulaski, and Shaq-Fu promptly invite all of the incoming aliens to shut up and slam and welcome to the jam.
Unfortunately, I got stuck in a Groundhog Day time-loop where I had to repeat this segment multiple times for a myriad of different bullshit reasons. My primary cause of death kept being due to the xenomorphs ignoring everyone else and focusing primarily on me. Now I know that the aliensí primary battle tactic is to fucking Zerg rush everyone, but in this scenario it doesnít exactly translate to ďfunĒ due to the fact that itís just literally impossible for my marine to grow a couple extra appendages in order to shoot three targets simultaneously.
Another cause of death was a result of Dr. Pulaski getting right in the way of me and my target, causing me to again get Zerg rushed. Iím glad Dr. Pulaski is as useful here as she was during Star Trek.
The most awkward and hilarious cause of death for me though was due to the fact that I leveled up midway through this firefight. The big bright ďMaster Sergeant Shooter SergeantĒ prompt obscured my screen just enough to make me lose track of my target and promptly miss two or three shotgun shots.
I decided to summon my inner Owen Hart and declare that enough was enough and it was time for a change, and decided that the corner of the room nearest to all of my buddies was the best ďno bullshit zoneĒ possible. I take no pride in the fact that I simply sat in a corner and shot at anything that moved, but sometimes the best solution to a nasty shit is to take an even nastier shit on top of it.
Eventually Keyes opened up the door and we retreated back through the door. Commander Cruz chimed in again telling us we needed to get back through the umbilical (the cracked up space hallway from before) and get back on the Sephora. Wait a minute, so the thing I was told couldnít be used anymore is totally about to be used again? Oh great, thatís just fucking great!
Weíre heading down the space-hallway back towards the Sephora when Captain Keyes suddenly falls down to his knees, perhaps at the realization that heís in a terrible video game instead of Halo, and immediately reaches to his belt for an explosive. A chestburster blows through his chest (and marine armor), and Keyes blows himself up to kill the alien also causing the space hallway to blow apart which also causes Pulaski to fly out into space.
What made this moment completely stupid was the fact that the marines have no knowledge of the xenomorphs and thereís no way Keyes could know he was impregnated with a chestburster. Yet, the moment he feels even a slight twinge of pain in his chest he immediately knows whatís going on and decides itís time to recreate that moment from Aliens where Gorman and Vasquez blow themselves up. What if he was just having really bad heartburn and just needed a glass of milk?
But really, it was a really bad ripoff of a scene from the movie and it was done in the stupidest and hammiest way possible. In fact, everything so far has been one really bad fucking fan-fiction. Who fucking wrote this shit?
It wouldnít surprise me if that vapid hack was behind this, Iím 45 minutes into this game and already itís giving DmC a run for its money in the horrible writing department. Look at him in that picture, probably all happy over the script he shit out while Andy Serkis is praying to God that Peter Jackson finds some long-lost Tolkien Gollum story so that he can find something better to do with his talents instead of wasting them making video games that less people will see than The Lone Ranger.
Itís at this point in time that I paused Colonial Marines and told my girlfriend that I loved her very much, because I swear the mediocrity of this game could in fact be the end of me.
Shaquille OíNeal & myself manage to drag ourselves back into the Sulaco. After we take a second to re-gather ourselves, Shaq (who, for the record, looks nothing like the real Shaq, but heís going to be called that anyway) tells me with the stiffest character animations he could muster that something wasnít right here.
I realized what wasnít right, it was the fact that I was playing Colonial Marines when I could be playing Strike Suit Zero or Dishonored. †I promptly closed out of Colonial Marines, vowing to return to help Mr. OíNeal a different day.
Who am I? I'm a guy who plays video games, talks way too much about comics and movies, likes Godzilla and Robocop. Why should you read my blog? Because when I write I have fun, make up bullshit lists, and when I do get a little serious with some blogs I try to be insightful and use resources and facts to try and back up my opinion as much as I can. And if you don't follow my blog, I'll send you a picture of a sad kitten who wants some love.
Also, I tend to debate a lot and get up on a soapbox a bit from time to time. I like to debate for the sake of debating and I tend to find it fun to get other peoples perspectives on things, and sometimes I like to play devil's advocate a bit just for the sake of it. Basically, don't take me so serious sometimes even if it seems like I am being serious.