Newest Review: ... with 2d sprites of digitised real-world actors superimposed on top. Plotwise, game is similar to classic arcade zombie-shooter Be... more
Area 51 (PS)
Member Name: Burning_Darkness
Area 51 (PS)
Advantages: fun, silly, good for a quick blast
Disadvantages: very poor longevity, mediocre visuals, dated
Back in the mid 90s, long before the more recent slew of shiny, modern FPS games bearing the 'Area 51' tag were released, many an amusements arcade harboured the Operation Wolf-style arcade machine from which this Playstation game is directly ported. The arcade game was a House of the Dead style setup, with two lightgun pistols, but the graphics were far more primitive, consisting of fully rendered 3d backgrouds with 2d sprites of digitised real-world actors superimposed on top.
Plotwise, game is similar to classic arcade zombie-shooter Beast-Busters, with the personnel of a top secret military base (guess which one) having been possessed by aliens, turning them all into grim-faced, gun-toting zombies in brightly coloured overalls. The digitised actors stand out a mile from the rendered backgrounds, and when killed simply disappear, their exit badly masked by ridiculous explosions of computer-drawn bones and offal that look very silly indeed. The zombies all tend to look like extras from Michael Jackson's thriller, albeit often weilding ridiculously large guns, and every now and then a makeup-free actor playing a friendly soldier will appear at the bottom of the screen, hiding behind a barrel or sitting in a jeep or something similar, exhorting you to keep on shooting before disappearing back out of view.
It's all very daft and cheesy, and a decidedly lacklustre shooter to boot, both in terms of visuals and gameplay (it wasnt even very impressive back when it first came out), but therein lies its charm: it's the videogame eqivalent of a B-Movie: hackneyed, unoriginal and silly, but a fun ride for that very reason. The original arcade machine ran on a modified Atari Jaguar apparently, a console known for its paucity of any decent games whatsoever, but for some reason it was never ported to the Jaguar. A fun, goofy sci-fi shooter, Area 51 is good for a laugh, assuming you have a lightgun that is.
Summary: Good for the occasional retro-blast
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