Predator 2

by Alan Tomkins, John Wildsmith
Image Works
Crash Issue 88, May 1991   page(s) 48


He's back! The alien who would scare the willies out of anyone with a bit of sense has returned for a spot of man munching. Of course, it isn't the same Predator that big Arnie mashed in the original movie, but he/she/it is just as dangerous and twice as ugly.

The year is 1997 and the place is downtown Los Angeles. The city is in the grip of a heatwave and a massive drugs gang war is in full swing between the Jamaicans and Columbians (known as El Scorpios), and all this commotion is the attraction for the Predator. In the middle of these shenanigans is Lieutenant Mike Harrigan, a tough LA cop who's been thrown in at the deep end, and that, fun seekers, is you.

The game is split into four manic action levels where you have to battle your way through all the mobsters to face the walking nightmare one-on-one in the slaughterhouse. Predator 2 starts with two cops being pinned down by heavy gunfire after stopping a van full of gunmen. Harrigan rushes to the rescue with his trusty .44 Smith & Wesson, and not surprisingly comes under fire himself.

The game is viewed Operation Wolf-style from behind a transparent Harrigan, and as the screen slowly scrolls along gunmen appear from the sides of the screen and let loose their ammo. Retaliate by moving the cursor across the screen and pressing that fire button when you're on target. A status panel, at the bottom of the screen, shows your police badge (energy), ammo, score and gun currently in use.

A handgun is your first weapon but there are other weapons to collect: grenades, a rocket launcher, assault shotguns and rifles. Ammunition for the handgun is unlimited, but other guns need topping up regularly. The first level ends when you fight your way through to a drug lord's HQ and arrest him for questioning.

Level two takes place inside the penthouse apartment of one of the biggest drug lords in LA. The Columbians and Jamaicans are still battling it out but the Predator has gatecrashed the party. Your job here is to get to Ramon Vega, a drug lord, before the alien horror does.

Level three moves down to the Los Angeles subway where the FBI are also chasing the Predator; it's killed two of your men and you want revenge. And you finally get it in level four when you save said FBI team from the Predator and have to face it alone in the slaughterhouse (brown trousers, ahoy!). Good luck, you're going to need it, sunshine.

Whilst I agree in principle with Nick's views on computer/film tie-ins, I personally found Predator2 very playable. It took me a good many games to get off the first level, mainly because the opponents are so vicious. Unless you can find a fast and powerful gun you're likely to find yourself up the creek without a paddle. I also like having to scrabble around after ammo; as with Operation Wolf this adds a lot of angst to the proceedings.

The graphics are monochrome and while the occasional baddie is hidden in the mass of action, the sprites are very well defined, especially the Predator in level three, who rips the head off the odd gunman as he passes by (Blurgh! - Ed). Okay, this may be mindless fire button-mangling violence, but I love it (and I bet you will, too!).

MARK [86%]

We all know the score when it comes to film tie-ins, don't we viewers? It doesn't matter what the game is like, it will sell on the success of the film. Which goes some way to explaining why Predator 2 ranks pretty low in the playability stakes. All you have to do is shoot the baddies that pop up as the backgrounds scroll by, Operation Wolf style. From level to level, all that changes is the background - gameplay stays exactly the same. Visually the game is bland. Monochrome graphics have been used, making some of the enemies camouflaged, and the sprites aren't impressive. This, coupled with the continuous drone of gunfire, didn't encourage me to play for very long. In my opinion, Predator 2 is another example of 'big name, no game' syndrome. If you're a fan of mindless shoot-'em-ups you may find this a worthwhile buy.
NICK [65%]

Presentation: 75%
Graphics: 80%
Sound: 65%
Playability: 79%
Addictivity: 77%
Overall: 75%

Summary: Blast-'em-up fans are well catered for in Predator 2 - it's fast-paced action all the way.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 66, Jun 1991   page(s) 50

Image Works
£10.99 cass/£14.99 disk
Reviewer: James Leach

Just hold on one blimmin' minute! I went to see Predator and I'm sure he blew himself up at the end with that nuclear bomb thing strapped to his wrist. So how come he's returned? Is this his brother instead? His best friend? Or maybe his mum? (Cripes! Let's hope not - you know what mums are like!)

Anyway, in Predator 2 (the movie and Speccy game) the actions jumped into the future to 1995 Los Angeles (or LA to those of us who've been there, hem hem). There's a rather unpleasant drug war going on between some Jamaicans and Colombians, not to mention lots of hideous murders that'd really make you bad up your supper. These are, of course, being carried out by our pal, the Predator (or his mum, or whoever) so you (a cop) basically take it upon yourself to wipe out the drug-war people (all 1.3 million of them), then go for Mr Particularly Horrible Space Alien himself. (You may not be Arnie but you still fancy yourself as a bit of a hard-nut all the same.)


So how does the game actually work then? Well, pretty much along the lines of Op Wolf really. You're stuck in the middle of a sideways-scrolling screen, shooting all the drug peddlers who run on from both sides and try to shoot you back. Extra ammo packs are littered around, as are increasingly better weapons (high-power rifles and, later on, rather evil machine guns) and medical packs (which reduce the amount of damage you've taken).

Not that we should forget old friend Mr Pred of course. He's got the rather natty trick of turning himself invisible, but whenever you see his toddling outline and start shooting at him he sends out some Spiderman-type webs which stop the bullets. (At this stage you haven't got the power to kill him, and he doesn't seem too bothered about killing you, so it's best to just ignore the dude for the time being and get on with laying out all those drug-heads.) Blast your way through that first street level and you earn yourself a pleasant rest in a Colombian Drug Baron's penthouse apartment. Well, actually you don't, because you still need to keep blasting peoiple away as you try to reach the Baron to question him before the Predator (who's also got an invitation to the party) turns up with a bottle of red wine and kills him. Charming.

Then you've got to chase off after him down the subway, and finally into the 'Slaughterhouse'. Hundreds of wasted human lives later (after you've tried to rescue a bunch of FBI men who've stupidly got inside), you'll be tired, your fingers will be blistered and you'll be nearly out of ammo. And then it's time for the big showdown.


The trouble with Predator 2 is that it's simply not quick enough. The controls don't react well and the action moves sluggishly (which actually makes it quite a hard game to beat - the first level is the largest of the 4 and goes on forever). It's probably because I'm such an old Op Wolf veteran, but if you're going to have a game that looks so similar then you're asking for trouble if it pales to something approaching deathly white in comparison.

It certainly looks exciting - the screens get crowded with action (but are never so higgledy-piggledy that you can't see what's going on) and it makes quite a nice job of creating LA in 1995 (although what sort of a rubbish dump it'll really be in by then doesn't bear thinking about!). But when it comes down to it, Predator 2 hasn't got the speed and snazz to bring it up to the dizzy heights of top-notchdom. It's still playable, and hard enough to keep you coming back for more, but for me (sigh) it's just not quite there. The movie'll probably be a hit, and the game will go the same way. Which is a shame because it doesn't quite deserve to.

Life Expectancy: 77%
Instant Appeal: 70%
Graphics: 76%
Addictiveness: 71%
Overall: 73%

Summary: A big film licence carrying on otherwise unspectacular Op Wolf-ish shoot-'em-up.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 111, May 1991   page(s) 26,27

Label: Mirrorsoft
Memory: 48K/128K
Price: £10.99 Tape, £14.99 Disk
Reviewer: Garth Sumpter

The city of Los Angeles is being held in the grip of vicious gang war. Yet this is no normal crime-wave. Where once the police hunted the perpetrator of crime the perpetrator now hunts them. It's up to you to regress the balance. And in the immortal words of Sgt. Esterhouse from the Hill "You gotta do it to them before they do it to you".

The city of Los Angeles is being held in the grip of a vicious gang war. Yet this is no normal crime-wave. Where once the police hunted the perpetrator of crime the perpetrator now hunts them. It's up to you to regress the balance. And in the immortal words of Sgt. Esterhouse from the Hill "You gotta do it to them before they do it to you".Just in case there's anyone out there who hasn't the faintest idea about what the Predator is or does I'll tell ya. He's an alien of amazingly ugly proportions and incredible strength (he managed to give Arnie a good going over before cashing in his chips in the previous film) who has come to Earth to hunt us homo saps for sport. A kind of Princess Anne from outer space (only much more dangerous).

The Predator II licence must have been hotly contested. I would have given a month's pocket money to have seen the behind the scenes bickering over this one. Let's face it, you could put out an empty cardboard box and it would go straight into the top 10 charts as soon as it hit the shops. But what about the game itself?

Anyone whose seen Operation Wolf has seen this game already. Replace the snipers and assassins with cops, gangsters and all round bad guys, and if you can differentiate between them and the civilians, the essence of Predator 2 is in the palms of your hands. There are numerous bullet cups, rocket grenades. Machine guns etc, etc, to collect along the way as well as body armor. The Predator appears at random as a hazy, illusive figure occasionally picking off druggies himself. You can not fight him at first and have to wait until later levels before he comes out of the closet.

All in all quite an enjoyable game and if you haven't got one of the 1st person perspective shot 'em ups in your collection buy it. It's the best of this year's bunch.

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Graphics: 89%
Sound: 82%
Playability: 83%
Lastability: 86%
Overall: 86%

Summary: Hey! No-one appreciates flesh eating aliens more than me. I just love the idea and got into the game after a little time.

Award: Sinclair User Silver

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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