The alienated, predator-packed Aliens versus Predator (Classic) Let's Play
03/04/10 - Now with updated OP and bonus level!
AvP Classic is available on Steam for $4.99.
Perhaps you've heard of Aliens versus Predator for the PC?
No, not that new game that just come out. We're going back through the annals of history - to the days when the USA's greatest concern was that the president couldn't keep it in his pants and the media didn't care about violence in video games because that hyper-violent Matrix movie had just come out.
Aliens versus Predators (versus Marines)
Aliens vs. Predator (AvP for short) is a First Person Shooter created by Rebellion Software
and Fox Interactive Studios
The game features three playable characters (a Marine, a Predator, and an Alien), each of which have their own unique story campaign (5 missions for the Alien, 6 for the Marine and Predator each), as well as 5 bonus missions for each that are unlocked for beating the game on different difficulties (essentially altered maps that other species got to play in). The engine has quite a few neat characteristics, and the game itself is rather quirky (…and many people will tell you “pants-wettingly scary” (this thread has now officially made it an adjective)).
Although the game may carry the same name as a 2004 movie the only similarity is Predaliens. Except in this game they get killed. And the only time Predators and Humans come together is when a Predator is decapitating a human corpse with his wristblades.
Weyland-Yutani's Next Top Model
So how does it look? Pretty good for its age.
For its time, AvP had brilliant graphics and excellent sound-design. Texture quality tended to be higher than its contemporaries, as did the quality of its level geometry (curves are quite common - something Half-Life didn't do well). The game was vaunted for its use of lighting and sound. It has aged surprisingly well.
Plus giant, geometry-conforming explosions...
Aliens versus Predator: Marines Livin' Large
In 2000 the "expansion" – Aliens versus Predator: Gold Edition – was released (think: "Sims expansion with less content"). It featured 2 new marine weapons and minor bug fixes. It also added the Rebellion staff portraying the marine commanding officers on the in-game video screens. They’re not especially good in this role, and it made no sense why they changed it. The expansion also featured an abundance of multiplayer maps and included the latest patch for the original - adding a much vaunted feature that wasn’t present in the original unpatched AvP: the ability to save mid-level.
That’s right, in a game where you could be torn to shreds by a pack of aliens in a matter of seconds there was no ability to save. This is remedied in the patched version and the expansion by introducing a save feature – the number of saves per level being limited by the difficulty level.
More important than the uselessness of the expansion: it came with great swag.
Facehugger window ornaments.
The Three Contenders
There’s the fun-loving predator, who likes stabbing things with his spear…
Incidentally, you don’t get to use a spear while playing as the predator. The closest you get is a speargun
There’s the vertigo-immune alien. He’s a lot like ceiling cat, except with more decapitations.
Marines may have been harmed in the making of this image.
And there’s the hapless marine. Fragile. Weak. Panicky… Packing unmatched firepower.
Firepower not pictured.
Getting a Decade-Old Game Up and Running
You might be saying to yourself, "But Gecko, this game is so old that it came out when WW2 games were still rare, can I even get it to work?"
Yes, you can! The easiest way is probably with the patch (or buying the Steam version). Multiplayer still worked between the regular exe and the patched exe when I tried it over a LAN (didn't try TCP/IP, Hamachi should work).
Here's an exciting issues and solutions checklist:
If you have DirectX-10 hardware
(or the other stuff doesn't work):
You can download a fan-made patch from the thread here
(near half-way down). There's also a link to the potentially necessary DirectX files, but the latest patched exe is further in the thread (page 5, I think).
If you run it with the patch you should reinstall the game if you tried new DLLs, since they shouldn't be necessary. You'll run the game with MyAvP.exe instead of AvP.exe.
If you have pre-DirectX 10 hardware
Set Compatability to Windows 98/ME
Find up-to-date versions of smackw32.dll and binkw32.dll and put them in your AvP directory
If you have skipping/persistent intro movie audio
Try renaming avp.exe to something else (such as avpgold.exe); there's a potential conflict with an XP file of the same name.
If your game runs slowly or pauses frequently
Put an audio CD in your drive; it's looking for the soundtrack. You can just set the Music Volume to zero in options if you don't want to hear it.
The box clearly states "3D Accelerator Card Required," so if you're still living in 1999 and don't have any semblance of DirectX capable hardware you won't be able to run it. Otherwise:
32Mb of RAM
200Mb HDD space minimum
The old intro paragraphs if you're nostalgic:
Sparked by the recent announcements regarding Aliens: Colonial Marines
, I've dusted off my ancient copy of AvP and attempted to get it working on modern hardware to bring you the scariest LP ever. More likely scary because I'm making it, and not because the aliens sneak up on you and attack you in confined spaces...because that will be happening to me.
So, you want to learn about Aliens and Predators? All the PoliSci majors and Biology majors can leave the room right now, because we’re not talking about immigrants and lame African wildlife
that spends half of its life sleeping. Let’s begin with some background information (we’ll get to the exciting decapitations, glowing blood, thrashing alien bodies and tension-filled motion trackers in a bit).