Game 12: Alien Vs. Predator (Capcom, 1994)


Playing rules: Difficulty: 4 (Medium). Start: 1 life. Bonus: 1 life at 100,000 points. Continues: Not allowed.
Special Rules: You may freely choose any character. Scores accepted for single-player only.

Current Record holders:
1st: 3,322,407 - Steven Rule - 1999
2nd: 3,074,408 - Chad Johnson - 1999

Grudges eh? Those cheeky Aliens just don’t get on with those Predator blighters do they? As for the humans, well they don’t get on with either of the buggers and the feeling is mutual. Sounds like a perfect idea for a sitcom if you ask me (in the vein of “two and a half men” perhaps, just with less Charlie Sheen [see! I know the future me]). What a missed opportunity then that they decided instead to stick ’em all in a game for a big duff-fest. Still, it’s not all bad – it’s a game with Aliens, people and Predators in a big duff-fest after all.

Couple of things strike me straight away. Firstly, quite a new game this one – 1994 is a wee scamp of a game compared to the classics. It doesn’t really matter, but I find games like this a bit harder to relate to as they came after my childhood nostaliga goggles were in full effect. Secondly, only two scores posted – both from the same year, both from the same event. This could mean that the arcade machine  is hard to find, although it’s probably more likely that nobody cares about it. They look like big scores though – so let’s see.

After all the naysaying and pessimism the game itself looks pretty good fun. Capcom used to specialise in this sort of game, which is to say that AvP is pretty much a newer version of the “Final Fight” series in sci-fi clothes. For those that may not be familiar, essentially the game is a side scrolling beat ’em up where you have to slap about a constant stream of enemies in amusing and varied ways. The controls are quite simple, you have a punch/attack button, a jump button and, unique to this game you have a gun button as helpfully your character has a gun for shooting and stuff. Which was nice. Might sound a bit complicated but it’s all rather simple.

So let’s get going! First task is to choose your character. Now, the rules say we can choose anyone we like and there are 4 of them. Unfairly there are no Aliens available, just two humans (male and female) and two Predators (not sure how to sex one of those badboys to be fair so they could be anything. Do you get female Predators?). That’s a bit harsh, I mean the human’s aren’t even in the game’s title yet they get 50% of the character selection screen. Bastards – no wonder the Aliens and Predators hate them.

But what’s this? The Predators and the humans are on the SAME SIDE? Did I miss something? I have to admit, I’m not overly familiar with the comics or indeed the (apparently rubbish) film, but I was sure that humans and predators don’t really get on. I mean, Arnie wasn’t too friendly with the Predator in the first film – although that may have been because the Predator chap shot off Apollo Creed’s arms, which was a bit harsh. Also, Danny Glover; even though he was getting too old for this shit, wasn’t exactly on the Predator’s christmas card list in the sequel.

Yet, despite all of this the brief intro shows our two people getting in a spot of bother with the Aliens when a pair of Predators transport in and offer them help and indeed directions. Why? I suppose your enemy’s enemy is your friend, but still – Apollo Creed’s ARMS were shot off. OFF. You know what Apollo Creed, the boxer, could really do without having shot off? That’s right. His fucking arms. That’s why he lost TO DEATH in Rocky IV you Predator bastards.

Ahem.

So, we have 4 characters to choose from and we know what that means kids; 4 goes on this one rather than the usual 3. “Now wait, hang on a minute” I hear you cry, what was all of that rubbish a few posts ago about not choosing a female character? Yet now it’s ok? Well yes it is and thank you for pointing that out actually. *Everyone* knows that it’s ok to choose the female character in fighting games, and besides this game alludes to each character being different so I have to try each of them. The rant earlier was to do with superficial choices that have no effect on gameplay. That’s my story, weak as it is and I’m sticking with it.

So, who’s up first? Top left it is – Predator Warrior: Sounds like a tough character, this will be fun.

Let me stop here. This is where I go through the game and tell you about the gameplay and the levels as we go through them, but this time I can’t. I simply can’t.

See, when you’ve seen the Predator himself having fist fights with swarms of Aliens, using wrestling moves such as elbow drops and body slams and replenishing his health by eating hamburgers, SALADS and steaming hot pizza – you can’t help but lose enthusiasm for the whole thing. All of the effort (well, I say “all”) that has been put in to setting the scene is gone. Don’t get me wrong, I actually like this style of game – but I just don’t think you can squeeze the Alien and Predator universe into a game like this.

I’m being slightly unfair perhaps because you can see some effort has gone into making it seem less silly. The addition of the guns now make complete sense, yet there are some levels where you have infinite ammo and others that are very limited, either by ammo count or overheating. That may be ok on it’s own, but the levels you have infinite ammo for are apparently by choice. “crack up to infinite ammo” the game characters say helpfully. What say we do that for EVERY level? No? wankers.

So, Predator Warrior first. Pretty standard stuff – has a spear style jobby that he uses in conjunction with his mighty fists to pummel the Alien horde wherever they may be. His gun is the famililar shoulder cannon that overheats after about 4 shots, where you have to wait about 5-10 seconds before you can shoot again. He’s strong but slow apparently but I can’t really notice anything substantial. I get to the end of the 2nd level where the guardian Alien fella keeps bloody jumping on my head instead of being punched in his Alien face.

Score: 387,100

Second character. Big butch American Army man. Oh for fucks sake, this guy looks even stupider as he is all about punches and wrestling. He had a rifle, but it seems weaker than the Predator’s gun so punching Aliens is the best way to go. Seriously, you may think I’m overstating this but I cannot express how stupid it looks when a big Alien guardian dramatically bursts on the screen and you proceed to punch him in the ribs and elbow slam him to the floor. Go and watch the Alien films again and tell me how many times a person punches one. Go on – you have about 6 films to go through yet I reckon you’re more likely to find lots and lots of occassions where it is VERY clear that punching the Alien isn’t on the cards.

Anyway, no more on the subject. I get past the 2nd guardian this time and midway through the next level, which isn’t so bad.

Score: 377,000

The score is LOWER!? How the bloody hell did that happen? grrrrr.

Ok, third character now – the woman. Obviously, as with almost every game out there, she is the weak yet fast one. I know I said I wasn’t going to mention it, but she actually punches the Aliens too, albeit a little faster than the others. Halleleua! Someone on the dev team has clearly noticed that even in sillysville that’s just beyond rubbish – so they have given her a little sword with which to end the punch flurry. Good work people, marvelous work. One thing though. If she has a sword in her hand, why does she still PUNCH the Aliens several times first. I would imagine that an opening gambit of stabbing would be a better idea perhaps? Gah!

Hold on though captain, this girl is a bit handy. I have no idea why but she is cutting through the Aliens a lot easier than the other characters did. Before I know it I’m at the end of level 4 and a score almost double my best. Also, I’m actually quite enjoying the game a bit. Of course that simply isn’t allowed and I’m soon shaken out of it when I’m killed by Aliens whose form of attack is to duck their heads and slowly walk towards you leaving their shiny domes to make light work of any attack you try to enflict upon them – because of course punching an Alien is an effective technique as long as it isnt the top of their head, which is obviously made of alien head steel or something.

Score: 780,600

Do I really have to use the 4th character? Oh go on then. This one is Predator Hunter who doesn’t look female as I sort of expected (maybe Predators don’t have females after all). This fella is a bit faster than the warrior one and has more pointed spear. It becomes clear that the increased character speed is a big advantage in this game as I do quite well with this lad as well, only dying on the stupid “stand on top of a tank and get jumped on by Aliens” shooty 3rd level.

Score: 504,600

Not terrible scores but I always think this sort of game isn’t really a good example of the quest ahead. It’s more about getting through the story than being good at the game and to be honest this game doesn’t really have much scope for anything other than slogging through it all. Playing the seperate characters I would definitely wager that the records would have been made with the female character as it was quite a lot easier. Also, as a footnote – I know I’m being a bit fussy with my obsession with the punching and wrestling thing but it really does make the game feel extremely silly. I mean honestly, what were they thinking?

6 thoughts on “Game 12: Alien Vs. Predator (Capcom, 1994)

  1. The bonus score system in all the Capcom horizontal beat ’em ups is suspect. There’s usually one object that gives 25,000+ points and it’s random if it is dropped in a game. So the end result is erratic final scores… not to mention the dramatic difference the amount of energy left at the end of a level can cause to the overall score.

  2. I have a friend who’s an absolute whizz with fighting games. He’s gone to Japan for weeks and done nothing but play Virtua Fighter. He’s the sort of person who can max out the score multipliers on Viewtiful Joe and God Hand.

    He’s a big fan of this. Apparently there’s quite alot of depth to the system. He considers it the pinacle of the scrolling brawler genre.

  3. Wow, really?

    I’d be facinated to learn some more about this depth, I mean it’s definitely more complex than say, Final Fight, but I can’t see that much more.

  4. Hey RockWaldo, you might want to consider taking a look at the Mame Action Replay page over at marp.retrogames.com – it frequently features mame replays that score significantly higher than TG records. For example, there’s a replay of AvP that finishes with a score of 9,999,924 and demonstrates some interesting scoring tricks along the way. I don’t know if that’s the kind of thing you’d want to check out before playing the game, but it’s certainly worth checking out if you’re interested in a specific game, most of the time.

  5. 1st place 3,322,407? AFAIK within all Capcom games the lowest points awarded are 100 points per attack/kill/bonus/whatever (note that all the scores Rockwaldo posts end in 00). The only way to get 1 point is to continue (indicating Rockwaldo did the right thing, and did not continue).

    Thus the top score of 3,322,407 means the player continued a minimum of 7 times? Is this correct? I’ll be firing this up in MAME tonight and double checking.

  6. This game was played in the big annual Twin Galaxies MAME competition last year (Deca2006 – so called because you had to play 10 games and it was held in 2006). A guy called Martin Bedard, who calls himself ‘The Pro’ without the slightest hint of irony, got 4,013,600. He is really bloody good at every game though, and was at Funspot this year, so you may have met him.

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