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GAME DAY

Yep, it plays like a movie tie-in

Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem does not shake the 'rush to cash-in' feeling of the standard film-related title.

January 10, 2008|Pete Metzger | Special to The Times

Pop quiz.

Question: What comes along with the release of every film targeted to either fanboys or kids?

Answer: The movie tie-in game, that's what.

Q: And with a few exceptions, what do all movie tie-in games have in common?

A: They are all products created specifically to satiate the appetite of fans of the flick who crave more of the film. They usually lack originality and excitement and are thrown together as quickly as possible to go on sale as the film hits theaters.

Q: And how do these games usually turn out?

A: Rushed and horrible.

Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem is no exception. Buggy, boring and bland, AVPR's shoddy controls and near total lack of variety place it on the movie game scale closer to the classically bad E.T. game than to the decent Spider-Man 3 title. (In fact, rumor has it that there are millions of E.T. cartridges buried in a New Mexico landfill, the ultimate sign of the game's failure.)

For most movie tie-ins, the makers get very little to work with (like shooting scripts from the film) and less time to ply their craft, and that leads to glitches in the game that should be corrected before it reaches consumers. (In AVPR, the Predator started shooting his gun randomly all over the place right before the game locked up and reset as I neared the end of another generic level. Grrr.)

So why do companies keep making these tie-in games? Because the demand is there. Surely some of the fans that have helped "AVPR" gross more than $30 million domestically will pick up this title.

They just better not expect too much.

Grade: C- (Could have been average).

Details: PlayStation Portable; $39.99; rated Teen (blood and gore, violence).

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BlackSite comes up shooting blanks

The most remarkable thing about BlackSite: Area 51 is just how pedestrian it truly is. What starts out as a generic and boring "war in Iraq" game evolves into a generic and boring "shoot the same three kinds of aliens over and over" game.

A standard first-person shooter with slow, plodding controls, BlackSite is chock-full of technical glitches, such as stuttering and choppiness, that make it feel rushed and nowhere near ready to be released (and it's not even a movie tie-in!).

Add to that the really bad writing and even worse voice-acting and you've got a game that would be a rip-off even at half the price.

The best thing about this game might just be the orchestra music, and even that is heavy-handed and generic.

Look out landfill, here comes another one.

Grade: D (Disappointingly bad).

Details: Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 platforms; $59.99; rated Teen (blood, language, violence).

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