Predator: Concrete Jungle (Video Game)

The Predator. This hunter from space has an amazing arsenal of cool weaponry, capable of delivering all the carnage you could ever hope for. I wouldn’t mind having access to its shoulder cannon, if only to obliterate every single copy of this game that I could find. Twice.

Is it so very hard to make a good game based on this character? Every one I have ever played has sucked. I had really high hopes for this one. The disappointment is due to many things, but before we get sucked into all that, let’s start with the only really good part of the game: its storyline.

You start the game playing in the mob-controlled era of the 1930’s. When I first read about this plot point a tiny comical voice balloon with a HUGE “?” in it formed directly over my head. A Predator loose in the ’30’s? This was my initial “bad sign”, but I am a fanboy so I blindly forged ahead hoping to have something to erase the dismal remnants of AVP that still linger like a very bad haunted memory.

Anyway, you don’t remain in the ’30’s. In fact you traverse through time in a quest to right the wrongs that took place in your initial stint on Earth. Apparently as a result of your defeat during that time period, some of your aforementioned cool weaponry was left behind and fell into the wrong hands. The Predator’s now out to reclaim the firepower and gadgets and take his rightful place in the Pantheon of the galaxy’s greatest hunters. Ok, so it’s not a great story, but it’s still better than the one in *shudder* AVP. The cut scenes in this game that the story unfolds through are top notch and more than worth a look. In fact, they’re the only reason I kept playing. There endeth the goodness.

The most deadly thing in this game is not the Predator but the camera. It doesn’t stand still. It doesn’t do what it’s told. It literally makes you feel like you’re suffering from vertigo. I’ve seen some bad camera work in games. Spawn on the sadly defunct Sega Dreamcast comes to mind. But this?! It’s 2005. How could the game designers let this slide? The camera in this game is as unforgiving as it is unforgivable. Shame on all those involved. You should be impaled and then skinned for your recent videogame transgressions.

Speaking of which, you can do LOTS of nasty things to your enemies in this game. The gore is plentiful, and there’s enough variety in the moves to make them not seem like they’re getting old, but believe it or not, the amount of things that the Predator can do here hinders the action more than it helps.

Need proof? Let’s start with what every game nowadays start off with – the training levels. These last in excess of 25 minutes each, and even though you’re told what you have to do and how to do it, you still end up standing there clueless as to what your actual goal is. I’m not even sure why, you just do. There’s a gazillion different moves that need to be done a gazillion different ways, all of which the average gamer will retain about 25% of at any given time, and I am sorry, but there’s no way in hell I’m going through those long ass training levels again in an attempt to study everything. There has to have been a better way to pull this off.

But if you learn everything there is to learn, if you pull off everything that you can actually pull off, guess what?! It doesn’t even look that good due in part to really bad first generation graphics and of course that damn camera.

I cannot imagine even diehard Predator fans finding anything to really like here. I just wish the actual game came with a real cloaking device. Maybe then I wouldn’t have seen it and I would have bought something else. I gotta say that after playing this friggin’ mess, even Barbie’s Horse Adventure is looking pretty sweet.

Predator: Concrete Jungle
(Vivendi Universal)
PlayStation 2, Xbox (reviewed)
1 Player
Available now
$39.99 MSRP

1½ out of 5

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Steve Barton

You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.

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