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June 28, 2005
Predator: Concrete Jungle - Review
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Check out the Predator!
So it's a Predator game, but there isn't a jungle in sight. The developers of this title opted to go for a setting similar to the vastly inferior Predator 2 movie. So there's no Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) in sight. In an even stranger move there are no characters from the second movie either - no Lieutenant Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover) or Peter Keyes (Gary Busey).

Predator: Concrete Jungle unfolds the gripping tale of the alienís history on Earth between two separate time periods, 1930 and 2030, as the Predator embarks on a mission of revenge upon a Mafia organisation and its leader who seek to expose its very existence. Taking inspiration from the popular film franchise and with comic book legend Grant Morrison (who has worked on comics from Fantastic Four to Doom Patrol and X-Men to The Invisibles) writing the story, the game allows players to roam a vast city landscape stalking human prey with weapons of annihilation, cloaking technology, and various vision modes.

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I saw his eyes...
Predator: Concrete Jungle is a third person action title. Split across over 20 levels the game is quite large - it will certainly take some time to complete the title. As the predator you have a large array of weapons including the plasma canon, spear guns, smart discs, and the combi stick as seen in the movie. The Predator can also use his special visual effects including thermographic vision, electromagnetic vision, pheromone vision and predtech vision. While the first three are fairly self-explanatory (heat, electricity and scent) the predtech vision is geared specifically for your predator to see where other predators are in the levels by scanning for other predators using their alien equipment. Throughout the levels the predator will have to climb buildings and jump large heights, the longer the jump button is pressed the higher he goes.

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Just hanging around.
Sadly this game isn't without a rather long list of issues that should have been resolved prior to release. The biggest offender is the camera and controls which are so awkward and clunky that you'll be ripping your hair out in no time. Every single time your character changes direction, turns a corner or enters a new area you'll be fiddling for the manual camera controls to find your next victim or objective. Another big issue I have is the level design. Die at any stage, including the boss fights (which admittedly can be quite fun) and you'll be starting the entire level again. Infuriating. Finally the AI - or should that be lack of. The enemies seem to have the IQ of a mouse walking into a cheese trap. They don't take cover, they don't work together.

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Graphics are pretty nice.
Now, having said all those issues with Predator: Concrete Jungle you'd probably think it has no redeeming features at all. For the casual gamer that's probaly right, but for a Predator fan this game is a fascinating insight into the Predator's world, and a fun ride along the way. The range of weapons is very impressive and the storyline is quite solid with cut scenes will make you wish that the people making the Aliens Vs Predator movie had had a look in this direction - if only for the aspect. Another impressive aspect to this game is the unlockable content including different camoflouge costumes for the Predator and many weapons.

When it comes to graphics developers Eurocom have a fairly strong track record with titles such as James Bond: Nightfire and the recently released Batman Begins. Predator: Concrete Jungle isn't as accomplished as these titles, however there are some nice touches such as changing times of day and weather effects. The predator himself looks absolutely stunning - you couldn't have asked for a better model for the game. Easily the best graphics in the game can be found in the cut scenes. On more then one occasion I had to second look to see if the scene was CG or real film. Not only is it high quality but there's a bit to look at to, not just 10 second clips, but clips that run for minutes.

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Check out the predator vision.
Sound in Predator: Concrete Jungle was also fairly impressive. While it won't win any awards the music is atmospheric and orchestral. It's not as memorable as that in the movie, but is good enough. What really makes this game so special is the predator effects, the scream as he administers first aid to himself, the soft crackling as he waits for prey. It's wonderful.

Predator: Concrete Jungle is a terribly flawed title with some of the worst cameras and controls seen in a PS2 game in recent years. Still, as a Predator fan Predator: Concrete Jungle is a game that kept me hooked from start to end. That should be enough to get most fans checking this game out - especially with a lower RRP of only $69.95 here in Australia. "I'm gonna have me some fun, I'm gonna have me some fun, I'm gonna have me some fun."

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version) or Amazon (NTSC Version)
GRAPHICSHorrible camera but the predator looks awesome, cut scenes rock.
SOUNDPlenty of predator effects and atmospheric music, no surround sound.
GAMEPLAYThe cameras and controls really detract from the game, but it's still fun.
VALUENo multi-player in a game screaming for it, quite a few unlockables.
OVERALLIt's a bad game technically but for Predator fans it's certainly worth checking out. The lower price is also a plus.

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