Your Sinclair1st June 1991
Published in Your Sinclair #66
Just hold on one blimmin' minute! I went to see Predator and I'm sure he blew himself up at the end with that nuclear bomb thing strapped to his wrist. So how come he's returned? Is this his brother instead? His best friend? Or maybe his mum? (Cripes! Let's hope not - you know what mums are like!)
Anyway, in Predator 2 (the movie and Speccy game) the actions jumped into the future to 1995 Los Angeles (or LA to those of us who've been there, hem hem). There's a rather unpleasant drug war going on between some Jamaicans and Colombians, not to mention lots of hideous murders that'd really make you bad up your supper. These are, of course, being carried out by our pal, the Predator (or his mum, or whoever) so you (a cop) basically take it upon yourself to wipe out the drug-war people (all 1.3 million of them), then go for Mr Particularly Horrible Space Alien himself. (You may not be Arnie but you still fancy yourself as a bit of a hard-nut all the same.)
So how does the game actually work then? Well, pretty much along the lines of Op Wolf really. You're stuck in the middle of a sideways-scrolling screen, shooting all the drug peddlers who run on from both sides and try to shoot you back. Extra ammo packs are littered around, as are increasingly better weapons (high-power rifles and, later on, rather evil machine guns) and medical packs (which reduce the amount of damage you've taken).Not that we should forget old friend Mr. Pred, of course. He's got the rather natty trick of turning himself invisible, but whenever you see his toddling outline and start shooting at him he sends out some Spiderman-type webs which stop the bullets. (At this stage you haven't got the power to kill him, and he doesn't seem too bothered about killing you, so it's best to just ignore the dude for the time being and get on with laying out all those drug-heads.) Blast your way through that first street level and you earn yourself a pleasant rest in a Colombian Drug Baron's penthouse apartment. Well, actually you don't, because you still need to keep blasting people away as you try to reach the Baron to question him before the Predator (who's also got an invitation to the party) turns up with a bottle of red wine and kills him. Charming.
Then you've got to chase off after him down the subway, and finally into the 'Slaughterhouse'. Hundreds of wasted human lives later (after you've tried to rescue a bunch of FBI men who've stupidly got inside), you'll be tired, your fingers will be blistered and you'll be nearly out of ammo. And then it's time for the big showdown.
The trouble with Predator 2 is that it's simply not quick enough. The controls don't react well and the action moves sluggishly (which actually makes it quite a hard game to beat - the first level is the largest of the 4 and goes on forever). It's probably because I'm such an old Op Wolf veteran, but if you're going to have a game that looks so similar then you're asking for trouble if it pales to something approaching deathly white in comparison.
It certainly looks exciting - the screens get crowded with action (but are never so higgledy-piggledy that you can't see what's going on) and it makes quite a nice job of creating LA in 1995 (although what sort of a rubbish dump it'll really be in by then doesn't bear thinking about!). But when it comes down to it, Predator 2 hasn't got the speed and snazz to bring it up to the dizzy heights of top-notchdom. It's still playable, and hard enough to keep you coming back for more, but for me (sigh) it's just not quite there. The movie'll probably be a hit, and the game will go the same way. Which is a shame because it doesn't quite deserve to.
A big film licence carrying an otherwise unspectacular Op Wolf-ish shoot-'em-up.