Aliens: Colonial Marines

This franchise plays host to the DNA of every sci-fi shooter ever put to pixel or cel. The dimly lit corridors, the unseen enemy, the lashings of gore and the chunky near-future weaponry and it’s all centered around space marines. The original space marines too, not those Turok rip-offs. So Sega has the daddy of all sci-fi shooters, and it’s not likely to cock things up. The game has been hidden away in development at Gearbox, the dev with a solid track record in first-person shooters, and is most famous for its Brothers in Arms squad-based series.

Best known for realistic presentation and tactical accuracy, Gearbox is the ideal developer to turn the Aliens franchise into the perfect space marine game. You’ll control a squad of six pumped-up marines sent on a mission to search the ghost ship USS Sulaco after the crew has vanished. Now we know Ripley escaped and her crew of gun-toting marines ended up as meat for the off-world critters on Hadley’s Hope terraforming colony, but the Colonial Marines (to give them their proper name) don’t know what to expect.

The game’s story is being written by Battlestar Galactica’s writers Bradley Thompson and David Weddle and is set after the events of the Aliens and Alien 3 movies. The game not only features the adrift Sulaco, but also the Fiorina ‘Fury’ 161 prison facility and the derelict alien spacecraft from the original movie as backdrops to the action. One aspect of the story that ties neatly into the Aliens universe is the use of the Weyland Yutani Corporation as an over-arching evil, a puppet-master pulling the strings behind the action. Though your immediate survival against the Sulaco’s alien infestation is your primary concern, the game will build in a conspiracy story behind the gunplay. And who knows, maybe an unexpected betrayal.

Each mission will put you in the space armor of a different marine in the six-man squad. You’ll use commands familiar to Brothers in Arms players to guide your troop through the maze of acid-blasted corridors, trying to stay ahead of the critters. By focusing on one squad member at a time, Gearbox has been able to create an episodic feel to the action. Back stories, plot details and characters gently expand and you’ll get a deeper perspective on the action. It also means that the game will have a very immediate feel – you can dip in for an hour at a time to play out one episode of the full story arc.

Before you reach for the keyboard and start hurling abuse at Gearbox, this is no casual blaster. There will be more than six episodes to wade through, including some revelations that could affect the Aliens canon. The game builds slowly, emulating the slow burn pace of the movies. Your first foray onto the abandoned USS Sulaco is a tense affair with few aliens to be seen and only the ominous pinging from your handheld motion detector for company.

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  • jeffrey778 - July 22, 2010 6:51 a.m.

    i just like to add that if gear box has seen any of the zero puntuation reviews on alot of games, not many people like (Quick Time Events) i would think about that b4 putting the game out, maby vote on it or something.
  • astnwllmsn - January 16, 2009 10:45 p.m.

    looks good and i enjoy the movies so i hope its worth the money
  • ReaperOfDarkness - January 12, 2009 6:24 a.m.

    Im a big fan of the Aliens backstory (except the last movie). I cant wait to see how this turns out I hope they do pay a lot of attention to the story. If its at all as good as the AvP games I be quite happy.
  • Zombiekiller666 - January 12, 2009 12:58 a.m.

    total fan of the movies, hoping this will be really good. even though I'll probably play it even if it's mediocre
  • GoldenMe - January 7, 2009 5:09 a.m.

    Sadly, I still think it will turn out as a generic FPS, like Killzone 2. @Jbo- Have you played the demo for Conquest yet? It makes me want to play the first Battlefront.
  • Jbo87 - January 7, 2009 12:08 a.m.

    This looks fantastic and the fact that gearbox are at the reigns only increases my anticipation. Recently finished Brothers in Arms and its absolutely brilliant. Playing through on authentic for a real challenge. I don't know why people are bitching about this years games line-up? As far as I can see there are loads of good games coming up. There's just far fewer with big numbers after them which imo can only be a good thing. Quite looking forward to LOTR Conquest. If it's half as much fun as Battlefront it should still be a barrel of laughs.
  • Kerfluffle - January 6, 2009 11:56 p.m.

    Well, as a licensed game, I have to take this with a grain of salt. There's a simple way to make the, "Order your squad to fortify your base" mechanic work: implement it well and often. Also, giving us the Quicktime events kind of take the fun out of being tense and scared of the game, but i guess it would be unfair to be impaled by an alien without any warning. I like how the devs ARE paying attention to the story but not only focusing on everything making sense. This game has potential. Hopefully, Sega and Gearbox will not waste it.
  • killemall - April 27, 2009 7:33 p.m.

    but, but, butt i want to play as an alien... :) reCaptcha: Nichols remits
  • IslanderSwagg - January 17, 2009 4:33 a.m.

    now this looks like a good game!
  • NelosAngelos - January 11, 2009 4:52 a.m.

    Interesting, I'll keep my eyes peered. I really enjoyed the movies, and hopefully it will be one of the few (if only) successful movie based games, even though they said that the story based on certain actions may alter the canon of the storyline. Only thing I can really say is Sweet!
  • Synster - January 10, 2009 1:32 a.m.

    "Generic". A word that plagues this gaming industries vocabularly these days. Besides the point. I'm still quite skeptical about this game. Yes, I know it's being produced by Gearbox, which is a great Company for their BiA series, but this? I'm not so sure of. The concept seems nice, but I'm still waiting for actual gameplay to decide.
  • Jbo87 - January 7, 2009 6:16 p.m.

    @Goldenme. Haven't played it yet no. Need to get my gold membership up and running. Didn't understand if your statement meant it reminded you of Battlefront or it was bad and you'd rather play Battlefront?
  • The_Author - January 7, 2009 9 a.m.

    Looks freakin' awsome. Can't wait for its release!
  • jar-head - January 6, 2009 11:48 p.m.

    I've been waiting for GR to do this preview, but Gr wrote that it will span form aliens to aliens 3? well we have alien, aliens, alien 3( the prison) then aliens 4, which is like 4 generations from the start of alien. soooo we might see some cryogenic freezing....
  • ultimag17 - January 6, 2009 11:22 p.m.

    First! Looks like an awsome game. Can't wait!