Alien vs. Predator (エイリアンVSプレデター) is a beat 'em up game developed and released by Capcom for the CPS-2 arcade game system in 1994. Based on the science fiction franchise of the same name, the players take control of up to three out of four human and Predator characters in a battle against the Alien hordes and rogue human soldiers. The game was very well received by the public and by media publications, becoming a classic title for many fans of both the Alien vs. Predator franchise and the beat 'em up genre.
Alien vs. Predator uses a control setup with an eight-directional joystick and three buttons: one to attack, one to jump, and one to shoot. The default cabinet for the game allows as many as three players to play simultaneously, although some smaller cabinets only accommodate two players. Four characters are available for the players' use: two cyborg soldiers, Major Dutch Schaefer and Lieutenant Linn Kurosawa; and two Predators, a Hunter and a Warrior.
Three of the four characters are equipped with a melee weapon: a katana for Linn, a bladed naginata staff for the Hunter, and an extendable-retractable spear/staff for the Warrior. Dutch has no such weapon, but can hit enemies with his cybernetic arm; in addition, he can hold and swing any melee weapon dropped by another character, instead of throwing it as the other playable characters do.
Each character is also equipped with a projectile weapon for ranged attacks. Linn uses a rapid-firing handgun, Dutch has a smart gun in his cybernetic arm, and the Predators both use shoulder-mounted energy weapons. Ammunition is represented by a meter near the bottom of the screen; when the meter is depleted, the character is unable to fire until it refills. Linn's ammunition refills fastest and allows the most shots, but she is completely defenseless while she reloads. Dutch and the Predators can move and fight while waiting for their ammunition to refill, and unlike Linn's pistol, their meters will gradually refill when not firing.
Assorted weapons such as grenade launchers and flamethrowers can be found or taken from fallen enemies, but these have a limited ammunition supply. The player can also find jewels for bonus points, or food and medicine to restore lost health.
The game features four characters: two U.S. Colonial Marines that ally with a pair of Predators. Each character has varying levels of speed, strength and agility, and different attacks.
- Predator Warrior (プレデター・ウォリアー) — The older of the two Predators, the Warrior is a well-balanced and powerful character with no weaknesses; he boasts excellent reach, damage, and priority in all of his attacks.
- Predator Hunter (プレデター・ハンター) — The Hunter is the younger of the two Predators. He plays similarly to the Warrior, but lacks the quick recovery and high priority in many of his attacks. However, he compensates with having a more damaging jumping dive attack.
- Major Dutch Schaefer (ダッチ・シェーファー) — Dutch is named after and roughly based on Arnold Schwarzenegger's character in the original Predator film. He is a human cyborg and has a cybernetic arm with a smart gun mounted on it. His attacks are powerful but slow, and he dashes forward instead of jumping. Dutch is able to powerbomb enemies for massive damage.
- Lieutenant Linn Kurosawa (リン・クロサワ) — Linn is a human cyborg who uses a handgun and katana as weapons and can execute several martial arts attacks. She is faster and more agile than Dutch, but is less powerful and has a shorter reach with her regular combo. Linn has many special techniques in her arsenal, but requires more skill and experience than the other characters to use effectively.
San Drad (a possible mistranslation of Japanized English San Dorado, サン・ドラド), California, has been overrun by the Aliens, and the cybernetically-enhanced Major Dutch Schaefer and Lieutenant Linn Kurosawa of the United States Colonial Marine Corps have been abandoned by their superiors and are cornered by a swarm of the Alien drones. Before they can be killed, a pair of the Predators appear and destroy the Aliens. The Predators offer an alliance with the two humans in order to stop the Alien infestation.
The four main characters battle the Aliens through seven stages. After destroying the Aliens' hive, the characters discover that the Alien presence on Earth is the result of a bio-war project headed by the renegade General Bush working for the Weyland-Yutani corporation. They board Bush's military ship as it lifts off, kill the Alien Queen after it kills him, and program the ship to crash into San Drad, triggering a huge explosion that eliminates all Alien life on Earth. The Predator warrior then gives his wrist blades to Dutch and Linn in recognition of their skills as warriors, before the Predators depart back into space. Linn asks the Predators why they chose to help them, and the Predators' vague reply makes her and Dutch wonder whether they will have to fight them the next time they return to Earth.
Development and release
The game was based on an early draft of a script for a film adaptation of the Alien vs. Predator comic book series and was intended to have been a tie-in to the movie. Although the draft was later rejected in favor of a different script, Capcom had already completed the game intending for the film to be released around the time of the game's completion. The Alien vs. Predator film was not released until 2004 and was based on a very different story, and so the arcade game was released in 1994 as a stand-alone storyline to the series.
A home version for the Sega 32X was announced for 1995 but it was never released. Only an unrelated Alien vs. Predator beat 'em up game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System was developed by Jorudan and published by Activision.
Alien vs. Predator has been very well received by critics. GamePro gave it a maximum score of 5.0 in all four categories (graphics, sound, control, and fun factor). Electronic Gaming Monthly hailed it as "everything you'd expect from the makers of games like Street Fighter 2 and The Punisher." According to a GameSpot retrospective, Alien vs. Predator featured "gorgeous graphics and special effects" and "was quite an adventure and one hell of a coin cruncher."
WatchMojo.com rated it as number four in "Top 10 2D Beat'em Ups" and six in "Top 10 Side-Scrolling Beat 'Em Ups". In 2013, it was ranked as the 12th top beat 'em up video game of all time by Heavy.com and included among the best looking beat 'em up games from the 16-bit era by Kotaku. That same year, Arcade Sushi ranked it as the second best retro game in the genre, stating that "without a doubt, this is one of the greatest looking (and greatest playing), arcade beat 'em ups of all time."
According to Destructoid in 2009, Alien vs. Predator is an "arcade classic still fondly remembered by many today." Retro Gamer called it an "excellent game" and "an unconverted classic, which, in our opinion, stands tall as one of the very best examples of licence mash-up ever seen in a video game." In 2013, Capcom stated that more fans have been asking for it to receive a HD remake than for any other of their "retro" games.
Lt. Kurosawa (described by Retro Gamer as "a Jill Valentine-resembling heroine with ninja reflexes and attacks") has made cameo appearances in some later Capcom games, namely Street Fighter Alpha 2, Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact, and Namco × Capcom (where Sylphie, the shopkeeper from Forgotten Worlds, transforms into Kurosawa as part of her super attack). Much of her design has been re-used for the Street Fighter series' popular character Ibuki, introduced in 1997 (who, incidentally, has a fellow ninja classmate and friend named Sarai Kurosawa), and she also resembles Simone from Capcom's and Psikyo's 2000 shooter Cannon Spike.
According to former Treasure designer Tetsuhiko "Han" Kikuchi, Mad Stalker: Full Metal Force and the arcade Alien vs. Predator were the main inspirations for his 1996 beat 'em up Guardian Heroes. It was also one of the inspirations for the makers of River City Ransom: Underground.
In 2017, toy company NECA announced that they had gained the license to the video game, and would be producing figures based on its characters, starting with the Aliens and Predators. The figures came complete with retro packaging inspired by the game's arcade cabinet art. The following year, NECA revealed that they would also be releasing action figures of Linn and Dutch.
Planner: Kame, Garuda Tetsu, Uda.T
Programmer: Cham Chochoy, Arikichi, Pon, Hard.Yas, Shinchan
Character Designer: Hayashi, Yus, Shisui, Vlad T., Ban, Kawatori, Shige, Jun 26
Artist: Iwai, Ohnishi.H, Konishi.H, Chie Morisaki, Fukumoyan, Kisa, Angus
Music Composer: Hideki OK
Sound Designer: Toshio Kajino
Capcom USA Support: David Winstead, Alex Jimenez
Special Thanks: Poo, Akiman, Tom, Capcom All Staff
- GamePro 61 (August 1994), p. 20.
- Electronic Gaming Monthly 57 (April 1994), p. 74.
- Retro Gamer 78, p. 56.
- November 2012 issue of Nintendo Power magazine.
- Retro Gamer 128, p. 78.