video game review

‘aliens: colonial marines’

Grade: B

Details: Sega, for Xbox360, PS3, $59.99; for PC, $49.99

You’re entering a tight corridor filled with menacing shadows. Is that breathing you hear? Well, don’t run. Clanging metal walkways and staircases always give your position away.

You might be playing a first- or third-person shooter — or watching the film “Aliens.”

Every science fiction/horror game of the past 20 years — from the granddaddy of them all, Id’s “Doom,” to recent titles such as Electronic Arts’ “Dead Space” series — owes a debt to the first two films in the “Alien” franchise, Ridley Scott’s moody 1979 original and James Cameron’s action-packed 1986 sequel, “Aliens.”

“Aliens: Colonial Marines” is the follow-up that fans have been craving. (Forget about “Alien 3” and “Alien: Resurrection.”) Developed by Gearbox Software, maker of the fantastic “Borderlands” series, it offers a strong story that fits perfectly within the mythology of the franchise.

Taking place shortly after the events of Cameron’s sequel, “Colonial Marines” puts you right into the thick of the action on the planet LV-426. You play as Cpl. Christopher Winter, who arrives with his Marine unit at the planet in response to a distress call from the U.S.S. Sulaco — the ship Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley is aboard at the close of the second film.

Your mission is to find out why the Sulaco is still orbiting LV-426.

If you can survive the xenomorphs.

Some attack you from the ceiling. Some spit acid. Some explode when you get too close. When a face-hugger leaps at you for the first time, it’ll make you jump out of your seat and laugh at the same time.

There are many nice touches drawn from the “Aliens” film. You can cut open and seal doors with welding torches. Your main weapon is a pulse rifle — complete with pump-action grenade launcher — and you also can track down “Legendary” weapons that pack a bit more punch, such as Cpl. Hicks’ shotgun and Lt. Gorman’s pistol. The ships and vehicles are spot-on with those in the movie, and sparring with a xenomorph while strapped into a power loader is as fun as it sounds.

And then there’s my personal favorite: the motion tracker. When a horde is closing in from all directions, you may feel the urge to say, “There’s something moving, and it ain’t us.”

“Aliens: Colonial Marines” should satisfy the average shooter fan and will enthrall those who love the films.

—John Kosik, Associated Press

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