[NOTE: To go to HiveSeeker's Alien Trilogy Strategy Guide, CLICK HERE.]
How well does the game replicate the details in the movie? Fairly well, with recognizable areas including the submerged kitchen, the indoor gym, alien holding pens, and a decent look at one of the lifeboat bays. However, missing details (and some lost opportunities) here and there drop the score a couple of notches. There should have been at least one or two more aliens during the "kitchen swim", and (even though I'd actually been dreading it) I was quite disappointed not to emerge from it into a ring of facehugger-spewing eggs. The too-short video sequence at the beginning of Level 9 didn't take much advantage of the queen's birthing chamber, or even show the newborn's origins. And considering how much time players were forced to spend dodging the newborn face-to-face, the game's ending proved not entirely movie-accurate and also somewhat anticlimactic. (However, I decided that the developers shouldn't be docked any points for deviating from the movie and allowing players to fight the queen!)
Considering the very limited settings of the movie, the in-game levels are diverse, interesting, and extremely 3-dimensional (if not colorful). Not many first-person-shooters have you doing this much climbing and crawling! Darkness is used very effectively in many areas, as well, making the flashlight a life-or-death accessory. Included in this score is the "atmosphere" or "feel" of the game, and the developers have done an excellent job of building suspense. While certain areas are a tiny bit repetitive, each level is very unique with many interesting rooms and original areas. The underwater levels, in particular, push this score all the way to the top.
HiveSeeker says "10 facehuggers!" Boys and girls, this is as good as it gets on the Sony® PlayStationTM! The aliens look better than most folks thought they would ever see on the little gray box, and the lighting and weapon effects are also very well done. While the environments might strike some as a bit too dark and drab, keep in mind that the developers were restricted by what was actually in the movie, and they did a laudable job as far as that goes. (Another mitigating factor here is the effective use of darkness for creating "atmosphere".) And in spite of all the graphical goodness to be found, framerates stay rock solid throughout. While HiveSeeker has certainly seen more colorful games, Alien Resurrection represents a landmark technical achievement in graphics.
NOTE: PlayStation® 2 owners, the news gets even better! Turn on the "Smooth" texture mapping option, and the game's graphics get even cleaner and smoother. For details, see HiveSeeker's report over at avpnews.com.
Alien Resurrection uses sound most effectively to create a spooky and suspenseful experience. The heavy breathing of an alien (somewhere!) in the next room, the sudden scuttling of a facehugger already within spittin' distance, or the horrible cry of the newborn when shot all add to the experience. For those whose setup supports it, the surround sound (static on monitors, nearby electrical shorts, and the rumbling and clanking noises of the Auriga itself) go a long, long way to creating "atmosphere". I'm also going to arbitrarily lump the vibration effects of the controller here, because in most cases the rumble effects are linked directly to specific sounds. I've never been a particularly big fan of vibration-effect controllers, but this is the one game I've played where the skillfully-manipulated thumpings and buzzings actually add to the very mood of the game itself, and do so much more than merely let me know when I'm firing my weapon or being attacked. However, having absolutely loved the (admittedly repetitive) music in Alien Trilogy and what it did for that particular game, I felt compelled to dock a couple points. (I will concede, though, that a good argument could be made that even a perfect musical score might have taken something away from the other ambient auditory effects.)
This was by far the most difficult category to score objectively. The controls themselves are quite good once you actually learn them, and I'm honestly not sure how they might have been better implemented with all the aiming up and down that's required of you. However, the learning curve is so very, very steep that some players may actually complete the entire game before mastering the controls. (The game can be completed in less than 7 hours, and I had more than twice that much time invested before I really started becoming proficient with them.) One thing that rescued the score from actually being an entire 2-3 points lower was the adjustability of not only the analog stick sensitivities but (fer crying out loud) the dead zones! As tough as the analog control was to master, these two little options went miles and miles toward alleviating some of the birthing pangs, at least for this gamer. While you can actually use a mouse in combination with the controller instead, I simply found it too awkward while attempting to lay back on the couch at the same time. Choose a controller configuration you feel comfortable with, but a word to the wise: make sure the quick-turn button is handy. You'll be using this one all the time! Aside from the controller setup and use itself, there were several other issues that caused points to be docked from the final score. For one, it was extremely annoying to watch your human opponents running around or rolling on the ground, and then not be able to pull off the same stunts yourself. You can't run in this game, and the walking speed is probably as slow as I've ever seen. And though the framerates never, ever tanked, I did notice two control-oriented bugs that popped up when numerous enemies were simultaneously onscreen: occasionally, your weapon would NOT discharge when you (really did) hit the "fire" button, or--more frequently--your gun would fail to rechamber when striking the "reload" button. A third bug consisted of sometimes NOT being able to aim down while backing up (really annoying with facehuggers present!).
NOTE: PlayStation® 2 owners will find that the new Dual Shock 2 offers even cleaner and crisper analog control sticks than it's very excellent predecessor.
This score is not a mathematical combination of the numbers above (although, as things fell out, the number itself very well could be). This number casts all considerations aside and simply asks, "How much fun is this game to play?" The answer is "Lots!" Particularly considering that this game is coming at you from the technically aging PlayStationTM, it is highly entertaining (and challenging) to target great-looking aliens scrambling at you from all angles along walls, floors, and ceilings. The weapon variety is certainly interesting, and some levels are large enough to make you feel a bit like Lewis and Clark. With a few imaginative human additions, the enemy diversity is also more than acceptable. And the clever combination of sound and vibration compatibility really suck you right into the game in a way I've never seen these features utilized before. The game could have been a bit more faithful to the movie, and (maybe) easier to actually play, but for any gamer looking for an interesting and original shooter, this is one to pick up. For the actual Aliens fan, though, it's a no-brainer: beg, borrow, or steal if you need to, but just make sure you get it!
Although the maps are intended to be self-explanatory (with a few tips thrown in here and there), anyone playing this game will definitely want to check out the Alien Resurrection section hosted by Sadogoat at avpnews.com. The site has WALKTHROUGHS for the game, as well as detailed item, weapon, and enemy descriptions. Also covered are general playing tips as well as cheats. This MUST be your next stop!
1. CHEAT MENU -- Boot up the game and wait for the main menu screen (NEW GAME/LOAD GAME/OPTIONS) to appear. Now enter the following code using the controller buttons specified and the D-pad (not the analog sticks): CIRCLE, LEFT, RIGHT, CIRCLE, UP, R2. Nothing will appear to have happened, but if you go to the OPTIONS screen there will now be a CHEAT MENU available. Here you can toggle the following ON or OFF: INFINITE AMMO, INFINITE HEALTH, NO CHESTBURST, and NO DROWN. You can also perform a level select from this menu.
2. RESEARCH MODE -- Once you complete Alien Resurrection at the HARD difficulty setting, a new option entitled RESEARCH becomes available. Unfortunately, completing the game is not recorded on the memory card so, once you turn your PlayStationTM off, you have to either re-play the last level or utilize the following cheat to bring the RESEARCH option back up. For this reason, gamers sensitive about using cheat codes shouldn't feel guilty about using this one if they've completed the game. Boot up your PlayStationTM and wait for the main menu screen (NEW GAME/LOAD GAME/OPTIONS) to appear. Now enter the following code using the controller buttons specified and the D-pad (not the analog sticks): SQUARE, UP, DOWN, CIRCLE, LEFT, R1. Nothing will appear to have happened, but if you go to the OPTIONS screen there will now be a RESEARCH menu available. When you select this option, you are presented with a grid of 16 squares. By selecting specific squares, you can modify the size, color, opacity, speed, and difficulty of eggs, facehuggers, and aliens. Unfortunately, these options don't work on the queen or newborn! Note that you have to be actually playing the game to observe the results of your tinkering. You can even pause the game and re-adjust the settings before continuing!
3. GAMESHARKTM CODES -- If you own a GameShark Pro© and a DexDriveTM (or a GameShark Pro© that you have connected to your PC) you can download the Alien Resurrection GameSharkTM code file below and install it directly to your GameShark Pro©. Just click on the icon below to download the file and unzip it to the proper directory (the default directory for the DexDriveTM is C:\Program Files\InterAct\DexPlorer\DBase\); then carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions for your DexDriveTM and/or GameShark Pro©. Note that if you are using a DexDriveTM, the game save file will not look like a regular save icon, but will appear as a grey block instead (as shown below).
Unzips as ARCodes.GME
This code only appears to work when starting
a new game or when selecting a new level using
the CHEAT MENU (above), rendering it rather
redundant. It does not appear to work when
loading a game from a memory card.
|8011BCBE FFFF||*ENABLE ITEMS BELOW* MUST BE ON!|
|8011BCE4 0064||INFINITE SMALL HEALTH PACKS|
|8011BCE6 0064||INFINITE MEDIUM HEALTH PACKS|
|8011BCE8 0064||INFINITE LARGE HEALTH PACKS|
|3011BD02 00FF||INFINITE PORTABLE AUTODOCS|
|8011BCFA 0001||INFINITE DETONATORS|
Function unknown! Possibly for the flashlight,
or a deleted gameplay element.
INFINITE FIRE EXTINGUISHER
Function unknown! Does not protect
you from flamethrower fire!
|HAVE MULTIPLE KEYCARDS|
*ENABLE WEAPONS BELOW* MUST BE ON!
Not all weapons will be available for all
characters. A weapon may work but be
invisible. Some odd graphical effects
may be visible near the gun's muzzle
area. Certain weapons may be much weaker
or fire more slowly than normal.
|8011BCC4 0064||INFINITE PISTOL AMMO|
|8011BCC6 0064||INFINITE SHOTGUN AMMO|
|8011BCD0 0064||INFINITE LASER AMMO|
|8011BCC8 0064||INFINITE PULSE RIFLE AMMO|
|8011BCCC 0064||INFINITE ELECTRIC GUN AMMO|
|8011BCCA 0064||INFINITE FLAMETHROWER AMMO|
|8011BCCE 0064||INFINITE GRENADE LAUNCHER AMMO|
|8011BCD2 0064||INFINITE ROCKET LAUNCHER AMMO|
|8005162C 0000||NEVER CHESTBURST|
|8011BCFC 04B0||HAVE INFINITE FLASHLIGHT|
|80052SAE 0000||ACQUIRED ITEMS NEVER RUN OUT|
PRESS [SELECT] FOR MORE TIME
Functional during end of Level 2 only.
If you own a DexDriveTM (or a GameShark Pro© that you have connected to your PC) you can download and use the following Alien Resurrection game saves, straight from HiveSeeker's personal game save library! These took several months to create, and provide saves for every single save point throughout the game. Saved at the MEDIUM or HARD difficulty settings, they emphasize maximum item counts while at the same time maintaining the highest possible ammunition levels for all weapons. For those interested, they were created without using cheats or codes of any kind. Just click on the icon below to download the zip file, unzip it, and follow the instructions in the included AlienRes.txt file. Keep in mind that you can only have 1 of these game save files on a memory card at a time, and that a new Alien Resurrection save file will overwrite any previous Alien Resurrection save file already present on that memory card. Note that you can change the controller configuration from that used to create these game saves (see the AlienRes.txt file).