After the film was released to a negative critical reception, the video game tie-in Predator 2 for the Genesis, or as I knew it, the Megadrive, must have seemed like an easy target. After all, licensed games aren’t always the best. So far as I remember, the game got largely bad reviews when it came out in the UK. As a kid I thought it was okay, not bad by any means. But I’ve long thought that it warranted another look. So recently I got around to playing it again and thought I would share my thoughts.
For anyone who’s never played it, Predator 2 is a run and gun action game. You play Lt. Mike Harrigan, aka Danny Glover. Armed only with a pistol and a John Wayne attitude, you set out on a mission to rid LA’s streets of assorted trash, hell-raising, heavily armed gang members and the elusive predator. Pussy Face shows up at various stages, sometimes sniping at you with his tri-laser, other times taking you on face to face, until you take him out at the end.
To it’s credit, the game is actually a very faithful adaptation of the movie. The stages are all drawn from the film, from the streets, to the rooftops, to the subway, the slaughterhouse (which is full of blood and gaping carcases) and finally the predators’ spaceship. In between stages there are 16-bit renditions of images from the film itself, which I still think look cool. The opening bit is also like the movie, with the city captured in the predator’s heat vision as the words Predator 2 appearing in the familiar style from the films.
The graphics aren’t bad and the sound is alright too – Harrigan’s pistol packs a satisfying wallop. The hostages, who you have to rescue before the predator gets them, cry out “Help!” and then “Yeah!” when you get to them, which is kind of quaint. Even better, I love the blood curdling screams when you’re too late and they’re taken out by the predator, in an awesome explosion of blood and guts. Back in the day I would deliberately let the predator get the hostages because it looks so cool when they explode. This was before Doom let you shoot a barrel full of explosive toxic waste with a zombie standing next to it. Predator 2 must have been one of the most violent games of it’s time. And remember that Arena Entertainment also gave us the serviceable, but difficult, Alien 3, which treat us to more chestbursters than you could point a sharp stick at, again, if you weren’t fast enough to rescue them first.
Predator 2 is quite tricky too, due to the large numbers of enemies that can accumulate on screen at any time. It’s a bit like Rambo: First Blood Part 2 on the Master System, which I reviewed on the site a while back. It can be frustrating. In the days leading up to this review my most frequently used words have probably been “Shit!” “Fuck!” and “Twat!” mainly thanks to the hordes of piss ant enemies in this game. It’s difficult to line them up for a kill shot when you’re using the pistol. My trick is to get a big crowd of marauders following me, then turn around and hit them with the machine gun, once I have it. As soon as they’re all chopped into meat, you can safely retrieve the drugs paraphernalia that the human enemies all scatter upon their demise, including joints and syringes. Yeah, that’s another thing about this game that I don’t think I quite grasped as a kid. I’m sure if it had come out post 1993 it would’ve been rated 18.
Let’s talk about guns. Thankfully there are a lot of power-ups in this respect, including grenades, the afore-mentioned machine gun and a shotgun. You also get to handle some alien technology, just like in the film, including spears and throwing discs. The extra fire-power helps. Remember that scene in Predator 2 where Harrigan grabs himself some big guns from the back of a police car? Man, that film is good – Danny Glover, Gary Busey, the living legend Bill Paxton, Jim Thomas and John Thomas. Let’s hear it again for Predator 2, gentleman, what a fucking movie.
Although it’s tricky at times, Predator 2 is a short game, so it’s fairly easy to beat. It also has level passwords, so you needn’t repeat the same levels over and over again, which could get tedious. Shame Rambo didn’t have that. After typing this up I’ll most likely load up another game on my emulator. “Relax Lieutenant! Retro-gaming is my ‘specialty!”
All in all, Predator 2 is even better than I remember. Recommended.