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.
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!