A new game based on the Alien series always seems to spark a lot of interest, and Aliens: Fireteam is no exception. Many have expressed excitement and enthusiasm for this latest shooter inspired by the 1986 science fiction classic. I share in that excitement as I’m every bit as open to a fun shooter as everyone else, but at the same time can’t help but feel some disappointment. While it looks fun, Fireteam also looks like another missed opportunity to truly capture the spirit of James Cameron’s seminal classic.
Traits of Aliens Games –
Though there are many games based on the Alien series, most take inspiration not from the original, but from its first sequel. Aliens is a very unusual film in that it moved away from the gothic horror of the original, trading the haunted house in space with a more siege-based thriller in the style of Assault on Precinct 13 or Night of the Living Dead. The decision proved to be a smart one, with this first sequel proving just as big a critical and commercial success as the original, and garnering a lion’s share of awards and nominations, including a Best Actress Oscar nomination for Sigourney Weaver.
Aliens contains a number of elements that seem perfect for video games. Rather than blue-collar space truckers, most of the characters are Space Marines. Now the characters were heavily armed with a vast and diverse arsenal of weapons at their disposal. Last but not least, the characters now had to deal with not just one monster but legions of them, creating opportunities for a wide variety of dynamic and intense set-pieces.
Whether they be standalone games or part of the Aliens vs. Predator expanded Universe, Aliens based games seem to share several key traits. For one, the main character is always a Colonial Marine, the Space Marines seen in the Cameron film. These Marines are portrayed as tough, honorable, and eternally loyal to their compatriots. Playing such a character immediately creates a sense of confidence, one that is rarely challenged especially when you consider the second point.
Being soldiers, the player character always comes equipped with a variety of weapons to fight with. Along with the pulse rifle and the smart gun from Aliens, the player will also acquire weapons exclusive to their respective games, and even weapons from other films, such as Blaine’s gun from Predator. To tote around such an extensive arsenal creates a real sense of power, especially when the Alien finally makes its appearance.
In these games, the titular Alien is the most common enemy in the game, with the Warriors from the Cameron film being relatively easy to deal with. The player will often have to deal with multiple creatures at the same time, which mostly proves easy given the weapons available to the player. This seems to make sense, because at its core, isn’t Aliens about a bunch of tough heroes kicking monster butt? In brief, no. These games do capture many on the surface and superficial details of Aliens, but they miss several key points that made the film so impactful.
– And What The Film Did Differently
The most important thing to remember is the main character of Aliens was herself not a soldier. Ripley was a traumatized survivor who was brought in last minute as a consultant and spent much of the film’s first half trying to convince the Marines to take the threat seriously. By contrast, the soldiers in the original film, with a few exceptions, are overly confident in their abilities and dismissive of Ripley’s claims. Repeatedly she tries to alert them to the danger, only to be ignored amidst the soldiers’ boasting of their military prowess. When the monsters finally do attack, Ripley is one of the few people to keep a cool head, and it’s up to her to pick up the pieces of a broken and exhausted squad.
By contrast, the Marine leadership is shown not to be brave and level-headed, but naïve and prone to panic. Some soldiers even disobey direct orders, such as when Vasquez uses her smart gun in spite of Gorman’s orders to hold fire. Decisions like these endanger the rest of the cast and cause the heroes to suffer heavy losses. The dynamic of the Marines could be summed up perfectly in the character of Hudson, who spends the first half of the film assured of his own abilities. The moment things go wrong, he is reduced to a panicked, broken man. The only Marine who proves consistently helpful is Hicks, who spends most of the movie’s first half calmly listening to Ripley’s story. It is this soft, more empathetic character who emerges as a leader in the film’s second half.
There’s also the question of weapons. Shortly after their first encounter, the besieged Marines lose much of their firepower. All the characters are reduced to only a few partially loaded pulse rifles, their sidearms, and no spare magazines. Being so short on ammunition, the weapons become all the more precious to them. They must use the weapons cautiously and sparingly, or the ammunition will be gone when they need it most. Even some of the film’s most iconic weapons, namely the smart gun, are lost to the heroes in the film’s second half. Without their destructive firepower available, the heroes dread the next appearance by the monsters.
The creatures in Aliens may not be impervious to bullets, but they could hardly be called cannon fodder. The Marines only get three, maybe four onscreen kills during the first battle. By contrast, they lose six of their squad, or eight if you count the ensuing dropship crash, cutting their squad down to less than half. The creatures also show the ability to adapt. Initially not prepared for more heavily armed humans, the creatures start trying new methods to capture or kill the intruders. They prove so crafty, they even find a way into the facility that the heroes missed while barricading themselves in. Several Aliens are killed on camera, but the heroes have to work for each one, and most come with a heavy cost.
The Past and Future of Aliens Games
Thus far, no Aliens inspired game has shared these traits with the Cameron film. It would be unfair to say all of these games are bad. The Aliens vs. Predator games from 1999 and 2001 are still very good. The 2001 game especially attempts to create a real sense of atmosphere, with the player often going for levels at a time without fighting a single enemy. When the Aliens do show up however, it’s still too easy. The worst of these games is easily Aliens: Colonial Marines, which in spite of its title spent most of its time pitting the Marines against human operatives of Weyland Yutani as opposed to the monster.
When it comes to the best Alien based game, Alien: Isolation reigns supreme. Taking more inspiration from the first film, Isolation is a game based on avoidance rather than combat. The character was not a soldier, they didn’t have the necessary equipment to kill the monster, and at their most effective, the weapons available to them could only ward the creature off for a short time. This made for an all-around intense and horrifying experience. That is the key element for most of these games. In spite of having some action elements, Aliens is still at its core a horror film, and a good one. Some of these games (not Colonial Marines) may be fun, but they’re rarely frightening, unlike something like Dead Space, which sees the main character, a miner, face overwhelming and terrifying odds on mining spaceship.
To truly capture the spirit of James Cameron’s science fiction masterpiece, rather than try to emulate other shooters, creators of these games could try to experiment more. Rather than playing another gung ho soldier, the player could instead take on another role such as a colonist or scientist, with the soldiers instead taking on supporting roles. This would allow greater growth for the hero, with them slowly acquiring the skills they need to survive.
An arsenal like pulse rifles and smart guns could be available, but instead of being so generous with ammunition, it should be rarer, and thus more precious to the player. Most importantly of all, the Alien must represent a credible and escalating threat. The Aliens weren’t impervious to gunfire, but they did get smarter. Seeing that in a game, with the creatures strafing gunfire and changing tactics based on the player’s actions would make them more challenging, and more frightening.
The Authentic Aliens Experience
Aliens: Fireteam may be a perfectly fun and exciting action romp, and that’s okay, but it’s also not what Aliens was. Aliens is about a group of overconfident and unprepared soldiers who get in over their heads while fighting a more determined and deadly enemy, and so far there hasn’t been a game to truly capture that feeling. I don’t propose an Aliens game should just repeat Alien: Isolation but finding a way to capture that feeling of doom no matter how well armed the player is would be quite an achievement. Alien: Isolation gave us the most authentic Alien experience. As for the authentic Aliens experience, we’re still waiting.
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Air Partner launches Tour Protect for music and entertainment industry
Air Partner’s Tour Protect offers the advanced safety solutions needed to mitigate risk, safeguard all VIP charter flights and ensure a smooth travel experience at each stop along the tour
Diversified private jet services provider Air Partner has announced the launch of Tour Protect. It’s described as “the first COVID-19 travel protection program for complex world tours.”
As the music and entertainment industries begin to plan to tour again, Tour Protect offers the advanced safety solutions needed for today’s age in travel to mitigate risk, safeguard all VIP charter flights and ensure a smooth travel experience at each stop along the tour.
The Tour Protect add-on charter program delivers a new industry solution to music and entertainment companies. It comes as they begin to plan their tours. The plan provides the most advanced safety measures including, enhanced COVID-19 protocols, evacuation planning, security detail, and 24/7 health and medical support.
Air Partner Tour Protect
Air Partner’s Tour Protect add-on program includes:
- Enhanced COVID-19 Safety Protocols: Guarantee all aircraft and crew comply with recommended COVID-19 procedures, including deep cleaning of aircraft, advanced crew training, access to ground transportation that has been safely vetted, and access to COVID-19 testing and vaccination validation screenings.
- Quick-Response Evacuation Planning: Governments trust Air Partner for its evacuation planning services. Tour Protect provides this same protection level to ensure the fastest solution for any evacuation needs related to COVID-19 or other emergencies that may arise.
- 24/7 Medical Support: In partnership with Northcott Global Solutions, Tour Protect includes 24/7 access to medical support for individuals and groups, along with access to a network of highly trained medical personnel who can deploy on short notice to assist with any needs.
- Security Screening: Air Partner works closely with airports, airlines, suppliers, and cargo agents globally to ensure that necessary security is in place, offering solutions that meet the requirements set out by international regulations and compliance. This includes advanced security screening through rapid deployment of security teams and equipment and added security for high-profile clients. Credentialing and badge IDs are available for all passengers, including crew, entourage, and additional personnel.
“With so many considerations going into the production of live events, Tour Protect is designed to alleviate clientele of concerns and provide reliable air transportation to take them where they need to be and back on schedule,” said David McCown, President of Air Partner, Americas.
He added, “Air Partner’s global network of resources, and 60 years of experience in the private aviation space, allows our team to manage these tours with the highest degree of care and service. Our ability to swiftly pivot, robust level of security capabilities, and experience coordinating campaign tours during COVID-19, allows our team to be an ideal resource to entertainment and music companies as they take flight again.”
Paramount+ Launches Today With Live Sports, Breaking News, And Entertainment | SEAT42F
Paramount+, the highly anticipated streaming service from ViacomCBS, launched today with an unparalleled content offering that bundles live sports, breaking news, and an expansive collection of exclusive new originals, hit series, marquee franchises and popular movies. Featuring more than 30,000 episodes and countless films from ViacomCBS’ family of world-renowned brands and production studios, including BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures and the Smithsonian Channel, Paramount+ is home to premium entertainment for the whole family.
“The launch of Paramount+, which builds on ourlegacy of innovation and superior storytelling, is a significant milestone for ViacomCBS that demonstrates our commitment to being a global leader in streaming,” said Tom Ryan, President and Chief Executive Officer, ViacomCBS Streaming. “By combining fresh original content with live and on-demand programming and an established library of titles from world-class entertainment brands, we have created an unrivaled service that offers live sports, breaking news and entertainment for all audiences.”
Premiering today with the launch of the service is a slate of new originals, including The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, the first-ever all CGI SpongeBob motion picture event; Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years, a prequel series and the first-ever spinoff of SpongeBob SquarePants; MTV Documentary Films 76 Days, the Oscar Shortlisted documentary that looks at life in the earliest days of the COVID-19 crisis in Wuhan, China; For Heaven’s Sake, a docuseries blending comedy and crime for a unique take on uncovering the truth; The Real World Homecoming: New York, a reunion special with the original New York cast in the iconic NYC loft; 60 Minutes+, a new form of the flagship series that reveals the stories behind the news through original reporting and captivating interviews; and Stephen Colbert Presents Tooning out the News, the second season of the animated daily news satire series.
These titles join a growing slate of originals currently on the service exclusively, including The Good Fight, Why Women Kill, The Stand, Star Trek: Lower Decks, No Activity, Coyote and more.
Coming this Spring to Paramount+ is an extensive lineup of live sports including every UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League match, culminating with the UEFA Champions League Final on May 29;coverage of the 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, featuring all of CBS’s games throughout the tournament highlighted by the National Championship game and Final Four with first-round coverage beginning on March 19; and CBS Sports’ coverage of The Masters.
The Paramount+ slate will also continue to expand with 36 exclusive originals coming to the service in 2021, including the following titles that will debut this spring: Rugrats, an all-new series featuring Nick’s iconic babies, back together with the original voice cast and an all-new CG animation style; No Activity, a half-hour police comedy that will transition from live action to animated for season four; and Behind the Music, the groundbreaking and prolific music documentary series returns with several new episodes and the best of the vault remastered. Beginning late spring, the Paramount+ film library will grow to over 2,500 titles including recent hits from Paramount Pictures, such as Bumblebee, Crawl, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Gemini Man, Like a Boss, Pet Sematary, Playing with Fire, Rocketman and Sonic the Hedgehog, as well as popular movies from MGM, such as Bill & Ted Face the Music, Skyfall, The Addams Family, Child’s Play and Valley Girl.
The reimagined service, built on the strong foundation of CBS All Access, features live linear programming, plus a deep and growing content portfolio that spans the best in scripted dramas, kids and family, sports, news, documentaries, comedy, music and reality. Starting today, subscribers can stream:
How to Stream
Paramount+ has two pricing tiers available to U.S. subscribers that marry the best of live and on-demand programming. The premium tier, at $9.99, is available now and combines live sports, including NFL games, soccer and more; breaking news through CBSN; CBS’ live linear feed; and commercial free, on-demand entertainment options spanning Paramount+ originals to the full suite of current and library shows and movies with 4K, HDR and Dolby Vision and mobile downloads. In June, Paramount+ will introduce a new ad-supported tier, at $4.99, that offers live NFL games, news and entertainment, but no longer includes local live CBS station programming. A $5.99 ad-supported tier, which includes live CBS programming, is available until June at which point only the $4.99 and $9.99 tiers will be offered to new subscribers.
All Paramount+ subscribers will have access to a seamless user interface, enhanced curation and discovery, cross-platform dynamic play functionality, personalized homepages, content categories and central hubs for ViacomCBS’ brands. Additionally, each subscription option will include parental control capabilities and up to 6 individual profiles.
Consumers can subscribe to Paramount+ online at ParamountPlus.com; via the Paramount+ app for iOS and Android; and across a wide number of platforms, including smart TVs, connected-TV devices, online, mobile, gaming consoles, and leading OTT providers. Paramount+ will also be distributed on major platforms in local markets internationally. The new Paramount+ app will begin rolling out across platforms today. For more details on Paramount+, please visit ParamountPlus.com.
ViacomCBS will bring Paramount+ to international markets with initial debuts in 18 Latin American countries and Canada today; the Nordics on March 25, 2021; and Australia with a rebrand and expansion of 10 All Access later this year.
With production capabilities across five continents, strong distribution agreements and local relationships and expertise around the world, Paramount+ will leverage ViacomCBS’ leading global reach — including the largest global broadcast footprint — to drive streaming growth and international expansion. ViacomCBS Networks International (VCNI) will build on its momentum in prized formats, and as one of the top global producers of Spanish-language content, to bring exclusive series to market for fans of kids and family, scripted dramas, reality and more. Subscription prices will vary by market, but Paramount+ will be available to international audiences at a compelling price point.
Paramount+, a direct-to-consumer digital subscription video on-demand and live streaming service from ViacomCBS, combines live sports, breaking news, and a mountain of entertainment. The premium streaming service features an expansive library of original series, hit shows and popular movies across every genre from world-renowned brands and production studios, including BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures and the Smithsonian Channel. The service is also the streaming home to unmatched sports programming, including every CBS Sports event, from golf to football to basketball and more, plus exclusive streaming rights for major sports properties, including some of the world’s biggest and most popular soccer leagues. Paramount+ also enables subscribers to stream local CBS stations live across the U.S. in addition to the ability to stream ViacomCBS Streaming’s other live channels: CBSN for 24/7 news, CBS Sports HQ for sports news and analysis, and ET Live for entertainment coverage.
For more information about Paramount+, please visit www.paramountplus.com and follow @ParamountPlus on social platforms.
ViacomCBS (NASDAQ: VIAC; VIACA) is a leading global media and entertainment company that creates premium content and experiences for audiences worldwide. Driven by iconic consumer brands, its portfolio includes CBS, Showtime Networks, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, Paramount+, Pluto TV and Simon & Schuster, among others. The company delivers the largest share of the U.S. television audience and boasts one of the industry’s most important and extensive libraries of TV and film titles. In addition to offering innovative streaming services and digital video products, ViacomCBS provides powerful capabilities in production, distribution and advertising solutions for partners on five continents.
Evercade VS – A New Home Gaming Console From Blaze Entertainment
On April 23, 2021, Blaze Entertainment announced their newest console, called Evercade VS. What is the console? Well, this console is a home-based 1080p Evercade system with up to four players supported.
Evercade VS is set for release on November 3, 2021 starting at $99.99 USD. There are multiple options that will be available for purchase. These order configurations include:
Starter Pack 1 Game (TBA) and 1 Controller
Premium Pack: 2 Games (TBA) and 2 Controllers
Special Edition color scheme (TBA)
One of the interesting facts about the console is the dual cartridge slot, which allows for more games to be selectable at a given moment. Evercade VS uses existing Evercade cartridges, which will feature over 280 games by the end of 2021. Save stages are saved directly to the cartridge, so they can be swapped between consoles.
The console will feature a brand-new user interface as well as new resolution options, including “Pixel Perfect” option. There is also built-in Wi-Fi to enable a hassle-free user interface and game updates. At this time, there are no plans for online gameplay.
The console comes with a new controller, but non-Evercade controllers and wireless adapters are supported. Even the handheld Evercade can be used as a controller, but it requires an additional link cable, which is sold separately.
Let’s talk about the cartridges being “subject to license” for a moment. According to the press release, “The Namco Museum collections are by contract Handheld exclusives and are available in Europe only. Therefore those two cartridges will not be compatible with the Evercade VS.” Hopefully this will change because I have routinely said that Namco Museum 2 is the reason to buy the handheld console:
· Brutally honest opinions on Evercade: https://youtu.be/TY7OVpZiUVI
· Review of Namco Museum 2: https://youtu.be/L9CCjztYpeg
The Evercade VS is the first consolized version of the existing handheld ecosystem, and the price is reasonable. I am a bit disappointed because the Namco collections are not currently licensed for this console, but that will hopefully change. I like the controllers and design of the console. It reminds me of the Nintendo Entertainment System’s design. Would I buy one for myself; well that remains to be seen.I bought my handheld unit last year and it supports HDMI out.
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