E3 2001 Preshow Report: Aliens vs. Predator 2

We've got screenshots of Monolith's latest game from the show floor.

There are many promising first-person shooters slated to publish later this year. One of them is definitely Aliens vs. Predator 2, the sequel to the 1999 atmospheric shooter that centered on a clash between the famous alien movie monsters. The game lets you play as either the ravenous alien that originated in the 1979 Ridley Scott film or as the highly advanced intergalactic being known only as the predator, whom Arnold Schwarzenneger fought against in 1987. A human character, reminiscent of the space marines from James Cameron's 1986 sequel Aliens, was in the middle of the conflict but packed enough high-tech firepower to hold his own. Aliens vs. Predator 2 will feature the long-awaited return of all three of these characters. It will also boast even more impressive 3D graphics, three all-new campaigns, and much more diversity in its levels and scenarios than in its predecessor. The game is being handled by Monolith Productions, the same studio that brought you last year's superlative shooter No One Lives Forever, and it's slated for release late this year.

What was most striking about the original Aliens vs. Predator was in how the three featured characters were so different to play. It's true that the colonial marine, with his arsenal of firearms, was reminiscent of characters in many other shooters, though his motion sensor and night vision goggles gave him an edge. But playing as the predator--between his ability to become virtually invisible, his deadly close-range blade attack, and his vision filters that let him lock onto his foes with his shoulder cannon--was quite unlike the experience offered in other shooters. The alien was even more unusual: Though its only weapons were its sharp jaws and claws, the creature could move with incredible speed, and it could climb over just about any surface. It could see in the dark and lurk in shadows, waiting for its unsuspecting foes. The fish-eye view perspective you'd get when playing as the alien was disorienting at first but definitely helped give the sense that you were in control of a creature that was anything but human. Aliens vs. Predator 2 will again feature all three of these characters, and their unique traits will remain intact.

GameSpot caught a brief glimpse of Aliens vs. Predator 2 when it was demonstrated at the recent Game Developers Conference in March. The game was shown using the LithTech 3D engine used in No One Lives Forever, and the quality of the graphics in the game already looked excellent. The finished game will actually use the next version of the LithTech engine, which will introduce numerous technological enhancements, such that Aliens vs. Predator 2 promises to be very impressive from a visual standpoint. Having recently secured the publishing rights to the game, Sierra is formally showing Aliens vs. Predator 2 for the first time at E3 2001, where many of the details about the game should be revealed. We'll be sure to bring you hands-on impressions of the game from the show floor.

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