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What's six feet tall, smells strongly of Wispa Golds, and goes "aaaargh"? This writer, succumbing to the many scares of the Aliens: Colonial Marines press junket. Scare number one kicked in before we even entered the demo room: £4.95 for a Coke! In space no one can hear you get ripped off. It's ripping of a different kind that triggers scare number two, this time in the murky corridors of the USS Sulaco.
The warship carried Ripley on her ill-fated trip to LV-246 in Aliens, and was last seen jettisoning its passengers in Alien 3, leaving it floating through space until... now. Aliens: Colonial Marines kicks off several weeks after Alien 3, when a fresh batch of incubators-to-be happen upon the abandoned ship. Of course they have to poke their big noses in, only to find a hostile cargo with rather long schnozzles of their own. Aaaaand... we're back to the ripping. Our unlucky ripee is found tangled in the slimy black gunk that passes for xenomorph interior decorating. Grand Designs this ain't.
THE SLIME OF YOUR LIFE
As our hero, Corporal Winters, peels him from the nest - in a nice touch, physical actions cut from first-person to third-person view - the first xeno detaches from the scenery and leaps at the camera. The beauty of HR Giger's oily 'morphs is how the body flexes and bends to fit any shadowy cranny. Try saying that about Birdo.
"We get to the Aliens much quicker than Cameron or Ridley Scott did..."
Producer Brian Burleson calls them a game design "freebie". He explains to us how "the films did a great job introducing how these things work, how they move around the world and act. There's lots of variety in how they respond to the environment." In this case, we have a single xenomorph legging it around a tight engine room. Before Winters can whip out his motion tracker, the beast is upon him and QTE button prompts see him squirm to avoid a gob of acidic drool. We're a little surprised at how quickly the spit hits the man; after all, Aliens takes agood hour before the Aliens come out to play. Burleson admits they "get to the point much quicker than Cameron did. Even quicker than Ridley Scott did. We want to get people who never saw the films - there are those people, strangely - and familiarise them. The point of a first-person shooter is to shoot things!" And shoot you will.