I recently had a chance to get my hands on Aliens: Colonial Marines’ Escape Mode. The demo cast me and three others as four marines from the film Aliens: Apone, Hudson, Hicks (who I played) and Drake. If those names don’t mean anything to you, don’t worry about it, they were essentially just skins with a tiny bit of voice work. Our goal was simply to escape, accomplishing various tasks (like flipping circuit breakers) in order to do so.
When the match began, I was given the ability to chose my loadout from three different options. I chose the one that looked most familiar to me (the M41A Pulse Rifle, a shotgun, and a pistol), but I also saw one of my teammates wielding a flamethrower. As soon as we’d decided our loadouts and gotten a handle on the controls (which were very similar to those in Gearbox’s Borderlands, LT to aim, RT to fire, RB for grenades, etc.) my team basically split up.
This was a mistake. You see, the Xenomorphs in this game were being played by Gearbox employees… and they were vicious.
While there were only four Xenomorphs in the game at any time, it felt like they were more. They moved quickly, blended into the dark environment, and did a very good job of making life miserable when I wasn’t sticking close to my teammates. Aside from your average Xenomorphs that just ran around and attacked the marines, there were also acid spitting aliens that could attack from afar. They crawled along walls, up elevators and hid behind corners, making it feel as though they were coming from all sides. Even their acidic blood was damaging.
When I rejoined my teammates, I found a Xenomorph attacking them. I killed the creature with my shotgun but its blood splattered all over my teammates, burning them (although the Sega rep assured me that the damage done in this demo was lessened to give new players a fighting chance as the marines).
Because of the slippery nature of the Xenomorphs, the motion tracker (checked with LB) was your best friend. Unfortunately, it was also often my worst enemy. While it was nice to check my motion tracker while I was in a group before directing my teammates towards a hidden enemy, there’s a fraction of a second that it takes to put the tracker away in which you can’t shoot. I was blindsided during this and taken down. Fortunately, I was close enough to my teammates that they were able to kill the Xeno and pick me back up, restoring half of my health bar.
However, we didn’t last too much longer. My team and I weren’t doing a great job communicating, and we were once again split up. Then the Xenomorphs came. The first one leapt on top of me and basically started slashing me to ribbons. As I fell to the ground I saw another one of my teammates being attacked and started shooting my pistol at the alien, but to no avail. He was torn apart and my team lost the match.
Food for Thought:
A Sega representative told me that the voicework for Hicks, Apone, and Drake was all done by the original actors. Only Bill Paxton doesn’t return as the voice of Hudson. However, Lance Henriksen (who played Bishop in Aliens) is returning in some capacity.