- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 17, 2013

An interactive sequel to a classic sci-fi horror movie takes players back into a war for survival against an iconic extraterrestrial species in Aliens: Colonial Marines (Sega and Gearbox Software, Rated Mature, reviewed for the Xbox 360, $59.99).

Picking up where director James Cameron’s 1986 blockbuster left off, this first-person shooter has a solo player take control of Marine Cpl. Christopher Winter on a rescue-and-recover mission.

Specifically, taking place 17 weeks after the movie’s story, a distress signal sent by Cpl. Dwayne Hicks takes a squad of soldiers aboard the orbiting, seemingly abandoned ship the U.S.S. Sulaco and eventually down to the planet LV-426.

On the surface, the team explores the ill-fated colony Hadley’s Hope as they uncover another massacre in the making and potential threat to humanity.

Of course, that threat is the Alien species, more commonly called the Xenomorph. A player encounters its various incarnations on a gory and occasionally scary quest to find survivors and answers.

So stop right here. That’s sounds pretty cool right?

Now, with a frothing of the mouth equal to one of those gruesome ghoulies second set of choppers sprouting out for the kill, I can attest that this fan’s anticipation was high for the potential of this gaming epic.

Alas, this latest entry to the franchise offers no better story than the substandard selection of Aliens vs. Predators films released over the last decade, mired within a lower-end homage to the shooter genre and supported by graphic design nearly as antiquated as the last days when first Xbox ruled the galaxy.

That might sound harsh, but come on; this iconic franchise deserves an epic rivaling any “Call of Duty” effort.

Still, do I not take great pleasure in exterminating a face hugger as it tries to push its gooey nodule down my throat?

Of course.

I can also appreciate wielding weapons often familiar to the fan of the film such as a pulse rifle, shotgun, sentry turret or flame thrower, or tools such as the handheld motion tracker or combination welding/cutter torch.

The moments where I fearlessly walk down poorly lit corridors with pockets of steam unleashed, waiting for a creature to pop up or down at me are actually, pretty fun.

Holding off sporadic hordes of creatures while using the auto-targeting, high-caliber smart gun made me smile.

Now, do I want to blaze through firefights early on in the game against a bunch of dunderheaded mercenaries from the Weyland-Yutani Corp.? I offer a resounding, ughhh.

Story Continues →