Review by Termadoyle

"The "Illuminati" must have censored out the fun parts of this game"

Area 51 is a first person shooter game from Midway. it has the voices of David Duchovney (the X-files guy), Marylin Manson and Powers boothe. It had a generous amount of hype behind it to grab the attention of First person shooter fans but unfortunately, it never did live up to the hype it generated.

GRAPHICS:
The setting takes place inside the highly kept secret base of Area-51, where alien autopsies are the order of the day and humans negotiate with aliens to buy a stock of UFOs for world domination. but do the environments convey the sense of being in a top secret facility? well...yes and no. Every once in a while you run into a nice scene of high tech gadgetry and machines all over the place and mid-air suspended UFOs which remind you you are in Area 51 but in other cases you're just running through office-like hallways and rooms and kitchens and everything looking like they come from a normal office than a high-tech Area 51. the character textures and animations are mediocre at best and the looks and feels of the weapons are a sad excuse for a first person shooter. but there's not much to complain if just look at it without expecting to see much.

... Every once in a while you run into a nice scene of high tech gadgetry and machines all over the place and mid-air suspended UFOs which remind you you are in Area 51...

SOUND:
I don't know why they think David duchovney is good in voice-overs. previously he did the voice for the anti-hero in the game called XIII. he didn't sound good in that game and in this game he also sounds as lame as ever. Marylin Manson has more of a Cameo role in the game towards the end of it and you can probably thank god for his very short role. Marylin Manson sounds like an utter nightmare. powers boothe is so so and sounds better than the other two. The voice actors behind all the other insignificant characters like enemy soldiers and your friends do a good job for their animated counterpart though. it's quite ironic to see the stars sound so unprofessional and the others sound so well.
other than that, the music is more of a techno breed and almost fits the bill nicely and the weapon sounds sound corny but do the job.

... it's quite ironic to see the stars sound so unprofessional and the others sound so well...

STORY:
Very cliched if you ask me. you and your comrads go into Area-51 because a distress signal has been received. soon you find out that a nasty alien virus has broken out and is turning the staff and unprotected people there into walking "zombie alien" creatures and you have to stop them all. a few twists and turns give you some enthusiasm to go on in the game but there's absolutely nothing you haven't seen in most alien movies and such.

...there's absolutely nothing you haven't seen in most alien movies and such...

GAMEPLAY:
Simply put, the gameplay falls short. there is no reason to play this game if you've played games like Halo, Perfect future, Farcry, Half-life 2 or even the mediocre Darkwatch for that matter. Area 51 is a step below all other FPS games because it does nothing innovative to try and entertain you. By the end you'll be sure that the only reason this game was hyped was because of its famous voice actors (who as I've already said do a terrible job of voice-acting) and nothing more. yes, later in the game you can transform into an alien hybrid form which can punch enemies to death in one hit and you'll be fighting some familiar alien species (especially the big eyed, big headed "greys" and... that's pretty much it. the rest of the game plays like a normal "run and kill everything you see then push a button at the end to open your next objective path" game which gets more and more tedious as you play.
The game also tries to mend these faults by making the game challenging and the enemies frustratingly accurate. you'll get hit from miles and miles away with an enemy who has a colt-like gun and die with 3 shots. it'll take 10 tries to even find out who's shooting at you. Some areas also have boss-like enemies which are harder to beat and take several shots to be killed. those creatures too, tend to get on your nerve with their cheapness. especially towards the end of the game. it's never a good idea to make a game cheap so you could make it seem "challenging" and that's what Area 51 has done.

...it's never a good idea to make a game cheap so you could make it seem "challenging" and that's what Area 51 has done.

CONTROLS:
the game controls like a normal first person shooter. although it utilises every button on the XBOX controller, after playing it for an hour you'll get used to it pretty quickly. very standard formula put forth by the Halo games.

...although it utilises every button on the XBOX controller, after playing it for an hour you'll get used to it pretty quickly...

REPLAYABILITY AND LONGEVITY:
you can complete Area 51 in maximum of 8-10 hours. if you just run and gun through it and never mind finding all the secrets then I'd say somewhere near 6 hours will do.
there are some items around the game levels which, if found, can be viewed through the Extras part of the game menu. there are scrap papers and some trivia information about Area 51 and conspiracies to unlock and some of them are actually pretty fun to read through. there are also some extra movies to unlock which tell you more about the game's story and its plot. it would have worked nicely if the game actually HAD an interesting plot in the first place. there's also an interview movie with the 3 stars of the game. I can't imagine anyone being much interested to go through the single-player game to unlock the unworthy extras and I'd doubt anyone would get much out of the multiplayer part the game also.

...there are also some extra movies to unlock which tell you more about the game's story and its plot. it would have worked nicely if the game actually HAD an interesting plot in the first place...

FINAL:
Area 51 is one of the most standard first person shooter games you can find in the market today. it doesn't try anything new and it doesn't even present anything fun in its short quest. the star voice actors also do a pretty bad job so even the fans of the voice actors will find this game uninteresting and bland. There are already so many fantastic First person shooter out there for the XBOX that are worth playing through so do yourself a favor and forget about Area 51. This certainly must be a conspiracy to make us think that AREA 51 is a mediocre myth that can't even make up for a good video game. if it is... then I congratulate the people behind it. it worked.

...there are so many other First person shooter out there. do yourself a favor and forget about Area 51...


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 05/25/06


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