Predator: Concrete Jungle

Posted: December 25, 2012 in Movies & TV
Tags: , , , , ,

Predator: Concrete Jungle

PredCon

Release Date: European Date – April 15th, 2005.
Formats: Playstation 2, Xbox

Predator: Concrete Jungle is an action and adventure game developed by Eurocom for the Playstation 2 and Xbox. Based off the Predator franchise from 20th Century Fox (Predator, Predator 2, Alien Vs Predator, Aliens Versus Predator: Requiem, Predators). In 1930 the player takes the role of ‘Scarface’ a young Predator who makes a fatal error on a regular hunt on Earth. Discovered before being able to activate his self-destruction device, Scarface is left disfigured and disgraced in the eyes of his clan. After a hundred years in exile Scarface is given the chance to redeem his failure and returns to Earth to wipe all trace of his species from the planet. Unfortunately Predator-tech has spread through the criminal underground of New Bay City.

The game takes the form as a mashup of hack and slash and a semi-sandbox style where the player is left to explore the environment. Confronting the player is a legion of armed criminals and things even deadlier than that such as rival ‘Bad Blood’ Predators and even a cameo appearance from the Xenomorph.

 

predator1

 

New Bay City starts as a Depression-era NYC expy but grows into a strange cyberpunk city that wouldn’t look out of place in an anime or science fiction movie. The city is navigated mainly by running and jumping. The Predator can make large leaps and can grasp onto many ledges to hall itself up. Dotted around the different levels are numerous hidden ammunition caches (nicely justified in game by being equipment left behind from the failed hunt) and various alternate costumes drawing from the vast Predator-lore, from the FOX movies to the Dark Horse Comics spin-offs. By and large the player is left alone to explore, with the game simply giving you waypoints and an objective.

There is also a stealth element to the game. Using his active camouflage the Predator is invisible to common mooks (though stronger enemies may have thermal goggles) allowing the player to avoid combat, or do various stealth kills. Also available are unique vision modes that allow the player to better identify enemies and ammunition and heal recharge points.

Combat is reminiscent of such games as Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen 2. Using the triangle and circle buttons the player can do light and heavy attacks, as well as gruesome executions and juggling. The game also features ranged combat, taking advantage of the Predator’s iconic laser cannon, razor disc and spear gun. All in all there’s around 8 different upgradeable weapons on offer for the player, ranging from the Predator’s claws to a brutal bladed maul and everything in between. If you’ve seen something in one of the Predator movies then you’ll find its equivalent in this game.

Graphically the game is atypical of the later PS2 era games. It’s detailed and has it’s own distinctive art direction and the graphics hold up well. Compared to PS3/360 era videogames of course leaves a lot to the imagination but for this game there’s a solid style and decent detail. The sound is glorious, making full use of the Predator franchise for sound effects and background music. The voice acting isn’t the best but it has it’s own hammy-charm.

The story is relatively simple. You take Scarface on a quest of vengeance and slaughter, killing every mob boss and corrupt official that you come across, whilst reacquiring your hunting tools and skills. A few late plot twists give new depth to the Predator and Alien series, but with the failure of the AVP movies and the success of Prometheus, along with the fact that no sequel for Concrete Jungle has yet to be made, cause me to question the validity and canonicity of the story. The story is effective for what it is.

As a videogame I must say that it is comparable to Batman: Arkham Asylum or Spider-Man 2. In Arkham Asylum the player can feel like Batman and this game goes a long way to making the player feel like a Predator. All the appropriate bells and whistles from the movies are included, from the Predator’s thermal imaging to the whip-crack of his plasma caster. The combat is suitably gory and chunky. The stealth is handled well, making it another avenue that you use rather than a forgotten option. The exploration is enjoyable due to the ease with which you can traverse the city and the hidden features such as upgrades and costumes. There are plenty of homages to the movies with the missions and objectives, with a particular favourite being a recreation of the Haitian voodoo gangs from Predator 2.

Unfortunately the camera sometimes ruins the enjoyability of the game. Unlike a game like Resident Evil 4, the camera is not always fixed to the player character which can get very annoying whilst jumping up buildings and roofs. The range of combat moves is also rather shallow, it’s the same very simple button bashing that gamers have been indulging in for years and there are many games that do it much better, Devil May Cry for instance.

Most of the times it’s enjoyable to play and simple to get to grips with, Predator: Concrete Jungle is almost the definition of a rental game. If it had just been released I wouldn’t ever suggest paying full price, but considering I paid £2.50 from CEX I can’t really complain. There’s nothing particularly amazing about this game, but the reverence with which is treats it’s source material has to be admired and many adaptations (such as the piss-poor Marvel Avengers tie-ins) could learn a few lessons from this game.

13/20
Play this if you enjoyed:
Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen 2
Aliens Vs. Predator
Alien Vs. Predator: Extinction

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s