Predator 2 logo

IMAGE WORKS * £25.99 Mouse or joystick

In yet another sequel release to sit alongside the inevitable appearance of follow-ups to Highlander and The Terminator, that ugly jungle hunter the Predator, is back!

The year is 1997 and a vicious drug war between rival Jamaican and Colombian gangs is ripping the city of Los Angeles apart. Detective-Lieutenant Mike Harrigan is at the head of a special LAPD task force to try and clean up the streets and put an end to the carnage the gangs are causing.

It's a slaughter
A violent incident has occurred right in the heart of the city. Two motorcycle traffic cops pulled over a suspicious-looking van in a routine traffic check, only to become involved in a complex drugs stakeout which subsequently turns into a vicious gun battle.

As if trying to stay alive during a fully-fledged shoot-out, while avoiding killing innocent citizens, was not enough, Harrigan has another problem to deal with... An unseen force is killing people on the street. Vicious attacks are being carried out on gang members on both sides as well as the police. No-one sees them, but the weapons used to annihilate the victims are most certainly not Earth weapons. The Predator has hit town!

This alien hunter is drawn by heat and violence, and the most violent time in LA's history also coincides with the hottest summer in the city's history. Now Harrigan has two problems. Defeat the drug barons to dismantle their operations and overcome the challenge of the Predator.

In the heat of the night
You play the part of Mike Harrigan in Image Works' conversion of the film. The game itself is a combination of Operation Wolf and Dead Angle. You are shown as a white outline at the front of the screen, armed with the currently active weapon. You must take out the members of the drug gangs while watching out for innocent people, since if you shoot too many bystanders, you are taken off duty by your captain.

As well as the odd pedestrian, annoying gangs of TV news reporters appear, blocking the street and even attempting to interview Harrigan in the middle of a gun battle!

Occasinally, the vague form of the Predator can be seen waling along the walls. Sometimes he will train his sights across the battlefield and take out the odd gang member. If any of your shots hit him, he lets out his almighty roar and lets rip with one of his weapons. These range from Missiles and flying discs to rocket-powered capture nets. To avoid taking hits from these, you must shoot them out of the air - still watching out for attacks from gang members!

Catch that funky dread
Despite being based on a fairly derivative theme, Predator 2 is quite an entertaining romp. The graphics are bold and colourful, and the nice sound effects back the action nicely. The weapon effects are extremely satisfying and the howl of the Predator is suitably sinister. The strange rippling shadow of the alien hunter is pretty effective too, drawing your attention away from the action from time to time (usually at the wrong moment)> Booting up the second disk loads up an atmospheric animation which introduces you to the story and sets the tone for the game ahead.

Pre-dated
The gameplay is nothing new, being a simple 'blast everything you see except some innocent targets'. This has been seen in a whole host of pretty average games, but Predator 2 manages to improve on the atmosphere, speed and action of all the other games in the genre, ending up to be a highly enjoyable, violent blast.

The only real problem is the long-term interest. Once you have killed about half-a-milliion gang members and wasted all the drug barons and aliens you can find, it may lose its appeal. The lack of real depth to the game will probably mean that it will soon get relegated to the top shelf and just collect dust. On the other hand, for the odd 10 minutes of total mindless blasting it is the perfect thing!


THE GUN CLUB
As the game progresses, new weapons with their own specifications appear:
.45 MAGNUM AUTOMATIC
A small weapon with infinite ammunition supply, but its firing rate is the slowest of the available weapons.
RIFLE MK III
A standard polic-issue weapon with an average power and firing rate.
SHOTGUN MK II
A reasonably powerful weapon with a fairly good rate of fire.
ASSAULT SHOTGUN MK I
Despite using standard clips, the MK I is a powerful attack rifle with a high rate of fire.
M-203 GRENADE LAUNCHER
The most powerful weapon available. This is a single-shot launcher. Takes out everything in the vicinity.

Predator 2 logo

Das Schöne an Filmlizenzen ist, daß jeder den Namen schon von der Kinowerbung her kennt. Wenn es sich dann noch um den Nachfolger eines indizierten Spiels handelt, ist das besonders vorteilhaft. Schließlich: Wer hat das Teil damals schon gesehen? Sicher, die Onkel von der BPS - aber die zählen ja nicht...

Es ist allerdings gut möglich, daß Predator 2 das Schicksal seines Vorgängers teilen wird, denn es handelt sich hier um eine (vorwiegend) horizontal scrollende Ballerorgie in typischer "Dynamite Duke" bzw. "Operation Thunderwolf" Manier. Aus der Sicht eines Predators geht es jedoch eher um Körpertüchtigung, denn für diese Sorte Aliens ist eine kleine Menschenjagd der Höhepunkt eines erfüllten Sporterlebnis! Am liebsten jagen die greulichen Viecher bewaffnete Menschen wie Gangster und Polizisten - ist halt einfach spannender. So dienen denn auch bereits die Skalps etlicher Kollegen von Polizei-Detektive Mike Harrigan als Wandschmuck für Alien-Wohnzimmer; kein Wunder, daß der brave Mann auf die außerirdischen Hobby-Jäger nicht gut zu sprechen ist!

Im ersten der insgesamt vier Level ballert Harrigan noch auf ganz normale, irdische Gegner - kolumbianische Drogendealer, die derzeitigen Volksfeinde Nummero Uno bei Shoot 'em ups. Der Cop ist dabei als Umrißzeichnung im Vordergrund zu sehen, zum Zielen dient ein mausgesteuertes Fadenkreuz (wer sich das Leben schwer machen will, kann auch den Joystick verwenden). Als Standardwaffe gibt es eine 45er Magnum mit unendlich Munition, außerdem findet man verschiedene Gewehre (drei Sorten) und einen Granatwerfer. Für diese Spezial-Wummen müssen dann aber die Kugeln extra aufgesammelt werden, sobald Ebbe im Magazin ist.

Zwischen all den vielen Gegnern taumeln gelegentlich auch ein paar unschuldige Passanten durchs Schußfeld, deren Durchlöcherung man tunlichst vermeiden sollte - zuviele Opfer in der Zivilbevölkerung machen sich nicht gut in der Personalakte. Nach demselben Muster sind auch die übrigen drei Level gestrickt, nur das Szenario wechselt von der Straße über ein Penthouse-Appartement und die U-Bahn bis hin zu einem Schlachthaus. Dreimal dürft Ihr raten, wer da schon hinter der Kühltruhe wartet...

Es gibt hier zwar den einen oder anderen netten Gag, aber im großen und ganzen ist Predator 2 eine Ballerbegegnung der eintönigen Art. Das Scrolling ist ausgezeichnet, ansonsten bietet die Grafik gehobenen Durchschnitt, kommt jedoch nicht an das ran, was Metzelspezialist Ocean normalerweise zum Thema abliefert. Beim Sound hat man die Wahl zwischen 08/15-Effekten und einer geheimnisvollen, gut zur bleihaltigen Atmosphäre passenden Musik. Immerhin ist die Steuerung mit der Maus ein Traum, wer hier zum Joystick greift, ist wirklich selber Schuld!

Fazit: Predator 2 ist ein solider Techniker, aber von Spielspaß hat man auf seinem Stern noch nicht viel gehört. Kein Wunder, daß den Kerlen für ein bißchen Unterhaltung kein Weg zu weit ist... (mm)


Predator 2 logo

The Hunt Continues (for a decent way to convert an action film).

Of all the licensed wares in the world, computerised versions of films must be the most awkward to put together. Invariably the licensor imposes restrictions aplenty, which makes life all the more difficult when it comes to producing a product with decent gameplay. Take Predator 2...

What we have here is an Operation Wolf style blaster spread across four levels, each preceded by a picture and text description to set the scene. Something else the levels have in common is gangs of gun-toting drug-baron minions who attack Lieutenant Harrign (played by Danny Glover on the silver screen, but in this case you). It is not too difficult to guess what the objective is...

Bad men, bullets and grenades are not the only things to fill the horizontally scrolling playfield. Innocent bystanders run around like headless chickens, and if you shoot too many of them you can kiss your badge goodbye. But what of the Predator? Bad luck - the creature you came to see plays a background role in the early stages, using its chameleon-like abilities to blend in with the scenery until the finale. Mind you, it does have a habit of taking out a few of the bad guys for you - just for fun.

Sadly, Harrigan's trusty .45 Magnum has a slow fire-rate and, despite being the most powerful handgun in the world, a single shot is not enough to despatch foes. It is frustrating, but more so is the fact that the proceedings slow down when there is too much happening on screen. At least the Magnum's ammunition is in unlimited supply, unlike the other weapons picked up along the way.

A few less adversaries but with more prominent behaviour and distinguishable characteristics would have helped, and a greater contrast of colours certainly would - intense concentration is required to make out who is who and what is what and it is enough to make your eyes water.

The peripheral vision effect works well, but being able to see a wireframe Harrigan is not effective: it looks a little too odd to be believable to see him sliding along with the scrolling screen.

Predator 2 does not succeed in coming across as a two-disk product worth a penny short of 26 quid. The addition of a film poster or some stills would have added extra value, but as it stands all that is on offer here is shortterm entertainment.



Predator 2 logo

The basic design of the Predator alien makes it one of the most efficient killing machines ever devised. Its ability to track the heat patterns of its prey and its light-bending properties which render it almost invisible, along with a weapon inventory containing knives and tracking lasers, make the creature one of the most formidable aliens ever to take on the human race. However, unlike Ridley Scott's insectoid Aliens, the Predator hunts for sport rather than conquest and this adds a novel twist to the well-worn 'Alien On Earth' theme, and this summer will see another of this noble race set to make Earth its hunting ground - and Mirrorsoft and Arc Developments have teamed up to recreate the blockbuster's action in this four-stage shoot 'em up.

Considering the restraints placed upon it by the limited gameplay, the game actually follows the film's plot quite closey. Set in a grimmy Los Angeles of the near future, Predator II's plot centres around good guy cop, Harrigan (played by Lethal Weapon's Danny Glover) who is caught up in the middle of two drug-dealing factions.

War is escalating between the two gangs, and Harrigan is stuck in the middle as he does his best to bust the leaders of the two groups - a situation antagonised by the arrival of the eponymous hunting creature. As the situation worsens, and the creature builds up suspicion between the two gangs by wiping out key members, and Harrigan follows up a hunch and sends his partner to where he believes the Predator is hidden. When his partner is relieved of his spine and skull, Harrigan sets about tracking down the deadly creature, but is hindered in his attempts by the timely arrival of the FBI. What follows is a gory escalation of violence, with the Predator running amok in the subway before a final showdown in a meat warehouse.

Each of Predator II's four stages is an Operation Wolf/Dead Angle-style shoot 'em up with a wireframe image of Harrigan floating in front of the action and the horizontally-scrolling play area playing host to all manner of dealers and citizens. Using the mouse to guide Harrigan's sights, the player must mow down as many of the gun-toting drug dealers as possible whilst keeping an eye out for fleeting glimpses of the elusive Predator and avoiding hitting innocent passers-by. Even if the latter is performed accidentally, an image of Harrigan's badge is gradually reduced and should the badge completely disappear, then Harrigan will be thrown off the force and the game will be prematurely ended. In addition, Harrigan can only withstand a number of hits from the enemy, and should his energy bar be fully depleted, then once again it is time to try again.

The main problem with Predator II is that it sticks too rigid with a gameplay formula. Whereas in the past the more successful film licences have been made up of a number of related sub-games, the Op Wolf style of each of the four levels is too limiting and ultimately dull.

Admittedly, the graphics and presentation have been brought up to the highest standards, with a wide assortment of dealers and modes of transport (although it has to be said that I was expecting more from the actual Predator sprite), but it just cannot disguise the repetitive nature of the action. Perhaps if Operation Thunderbolt-style 3D scrolling had been used, or if there had been a Corporationesque 'find the creature' section added, then the game would have been slightly more interesting. But, as it is, it does not capture the fast-paced action of the film and does not reflect any of the creature's menace and power, rounding off a major let-down