Image Works
1991
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£10.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
None

48
Mark Caswell, Nick Roberts
Chris Bourne

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%

CRITICISM

'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%

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

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Screenshot Text

It's a one-on-one fight in Predator 2 - thank goodness for a rucking great rifle and stacks of ammo, eh?