Intensely thrilling and immensely satisfying, Alien Vs Predator is a long-overdue return for a beloved gaming franchise, and infinitely better than the movie mash-ups starring both of Hollywoods most celebrated extraterrestrial killers.
Offering a tantalising variety of play styles, AvP allows gamers to choose the role of space marine, Alien or Predator. As a human soldier the experience is one of survival horror, with ferocious xenomorphs lurking in the darkness and the red target dots of the Predators shoulder cannon heralding frantic fights for survival, all the time soundtracked by the iconic click of your motion sensor which adds a tangible sense of dread to every encounter. By contrast the Predator game is a more stealthy affair, with players leaping between platforms to secretly draw a beat on distant enemies, peering through a heat sensor to clock marines in the darkness, or using an invisibility device to sneak up on unwitting targets. Most remarkable, though, is playing as the Alien, where you can barrel through the claustrophobic corridors at a breakneck speeds, lurk camouflaged in the shadows to ambush enemies, or scuttle along walls and across ceilings to leap onto rivals and tear them to shreds in a frenzy of claws and flashing teeth.
The games presentation which draws inspiration from all the movies, and features a great turn from Lance Henriksen is also spot on, while the gratuitous gore and comic book violence make this a welcome break from the endless parade of realistic shooters littering the shelves. Best of all, though, is the delicious multiplayer mode where all three classes can face-off against each other; a unique set-up that offers a wide range of challenges, including a fun mode where 15 marines face a single alien, but transform into xenomorphs as they die until only one human player is left to fight an overwhelming intergalactic horde.
Sadly lacking the emotional engagement of blockbuster blasters such as Call Of Duty or Killzone, AvP is still an endlessly exciting and richly varied experience, and one that will delight fans of the movies both good and bad that inspired it.