Remember to look right, left, right again, and then up, before crossing a busy intersection.


Prey takes the stagnant first-person shooter genre and literally turns it on its head. This sci-fi alien shooter is loaded with unique environments and situations, such as its vertigo-inducing rotating rooms. While many of its techniques originated in other classic games - think Descent's ambiguous definition of “up” and the ability in Alien vs. Predator to scamper up walls and ceilings—Prey manages to inject them into a fresh, perspective-changing experience.


Quite a bit of Prey's story feels rote to any experienced gamer, but there's even a new angle on the when-aliens-attack plot with Tommy, its angst-ridden Native American star. Aside from the requisite Obi Wan–style visits from Grandpa, Tommy's Cherokee powers let him "spirit walk" and even come back to life. In the former, he leaves his body to pass through force fields and manipulate distant computers, providing creative solutions to many puzzles.


Once killed in the physical world, Tommy briefly enters a spirit world, where he hunts phantoms. After shooting enough enemies - with a bow, naturally - he regains health and comes back to life. This forgiving life-after-death scenario lets gamers explore the world of Prey without fear of losing progress. Unfortunately, it also trades away some of the game's challenge and tension.


Most of Prey is set on a huge alien spaceship, which allows for variety in the levels. The graphically detailed ship is alive, with pulsating corridors and tentacles that jut up from the floors. Even the weapons follow this organic approach - spiderlike creatures become grenades, and some of the guns nervously rotate and twitch on their own, as if stretching between battles.


Beyond the atmosphere, Prey's alien environment allows for innovative gameplay. Special walkways loop to the ceiling. Certain rooms rotate in any direction. Portals warp to new areas. And players even fight on small asteroids with reduced gravity, bounding around them like fleas on a basketball.


This “up is a matter of opinion” gameplay is especially exhilarating in fast-paced multiplayer matches, where your floor may be your enemy's ceiling.


The bottom line. Prey is an impressive mix of an alien environment, Native American ideas, and shooter action. The first-person shooter has seemingly been done to death, but nearly any player, especially one who's sick of endless WWII rehashes, will find something new in this game.


COMPANY: Aspyr Media
PRICE: $49.95
REQUIREMENTS: 1.8GHz G5 or faster or Intel processor, Mac OS 10.3.9 or later, 512MB RAM, 64MB ATI or nVidia video card or faster, 2.5GB disk space

Adds unique twists to a stagnant genre. Universal binary.
Macs with integrated Intel video cards (such as MacBook, Mac mini) not supported.





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Thank You for another very interesting article. It's really good written and I fully agree with You on main issue, btw. I must say that I really enjoyed reading all of Your posts.

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