Review by AutumnDisaster

"A great, albeit short-lived, shooter!"

The Game: Area 51 is a sci-fi FPS (First Person Shooter) released by Midway Studios for the Xbox and Playstation 2.

The Story: You play as Ethan Cole, a HazMat (Hazardous Materials) Trooper at Area 51 when I mutagenic virus is released, deforming the staff of the research center into horrible alien beasts. It is your job to descend into the complex with your team and get the situation under control, which fails. You soon find your character in danger at every turn and your only goal quickly becomes survival...and perhaps, discovering a few secrets of Area 51 as you battle for your life against the alien mutants. For a FPS, the story of FPS is surprisingly deep, and if you follow conspiracy theories, you'll see plenty of nods to the lore of Area 51, the Illuminati, and more. The story at times may feel convoluted, but the game does a good job of keeping you up to speed without feeling completely lost. If you're a fan of sci-fi, the story should keep you on the edge of your seat, if not, it may seem boring and thick. Overall, I give it an 8/10.

Audio: The audio for this game is fantastic! Absolutely wonderful. Every gunshot and explosion is heard in great detail and the subtle growl on the enemy right behind you can send chills up your spine. The game also features an all-star cast of voices from people such as David Duchovny, Powers Boothe, and Marilyn Manson. The only complaint I have is that Duchovny could've been a bit more emotional and players may find his monotone voice irritating at points, but at least he keeps his monologues short. 9/10

Visual: The graphics of this game are simply amazing and really show off the real power of the Xbox and PS2. Alien blood glows an eerie green, reflection detail is done well, the guns look realistic, the characters look fantastic, and there's not really much more to say. 10/10

Mechanics: The game mechanics are great and controls are standard for an FPS. However, some might have to adjust the settings a bit, because the controls seem a bit touchy at their default setting. Collision detection is done well, and everyone's favorite, Ragdoll Physics, plays into a large portion of the games mechanics. I have noticed a bit of framerate trouble at points, but it's nothing too serious. 9/10

Overall: 9/10

Rent Or Buy?: I'd give it a rent before you bought it. While the game is great, and a lot of fun, especially for Sci-Fi fans, it is short. I was able to beat it in just a few sittings before I had to take my copy back to Blockbuster.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 04/30/05

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