Area 51

Area 51

Area51.jpgWe began to suspect that Area 51 might not be the end-all, be-all of shooters when we saw that the ad campaign for the game closed with, “Coming soon to a bargain bin near you.” OK, we made that up, but it’s gonna happen—you just know it.

Unlike the fun light-gun version of the game in arcades and pizza parlors everywhere, the PC version of Area 51 is a spectacularly bland first-person shooter with a cliché-ridden storyline that goes like this: There’s this top-secret base, a disturbance takes place, and you and your hazmat team are sent in to find out what happened. You get there and—oh my god—aliens begin killing everyone. Run away. Oh no.

That’s when the shooting starts. And this ain’t no Doom 3, one-monster-at-a-time snoozefest; it’s wave after wave after wave of baddies, Serious Sam style. Normally, mass slaughter makes us happy, but in Area 51 it’s just repetitive and formulaic. The same enemies spawn in the same locations and come after you in the same way, over and over and over, for 10 or 15 minutes at a time. We would’ve killed for a little variety in the monsters or how they attack, but alas there was none.

The missions are totally linear. You have to go to point A to pick
up an item, which you then carry to point B, and so forth. The game does a good job of letting you know where you need to go—an onscreen arrow points you in the right direction—but the “find the key” gameplay is as boring as ever.

If nonstop action and violence are your thing, you may get a kick out of Area 51. Anyone looking for originality, innovation, or even a little fun, however, will be totally disappointed.
Josh Norem

Month Reviewed: October 2005
Verdict: 5
URL: www.area51-game.com

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