Here's what Electronic Gaming Monthly said about Alien vs. Predator October 2004!
With the big Hollywood version of Alien vs. Predator ripping apart the box office around the world, it only makes sense for writers to look to the past video games as feature topics. After all, Alien vs. Predator has had a rather interesting game life that took it from the Jaguar to the Super NES all the way to the PC. But sometimes we remember things not as they were, but as we wanted them to be.
So would seem to be the case for Electronic Gaming Monthly, who has gone from panning the game one issue to calling it "exceptional." In the October 2004 issue, EGM compares Alien vs.
Predator to Kramer vs. Kramer, and has this to say: "[Alien vs. Predator is] Responsible for an Exceptional game on the otherwise ghastly Jaguar console."
Now understand Defunct Games has nothing but good things to say about Alien vs. Predator on the Jaguar. When I reviewed the game nearly three years ago I gave it a 98%, one of the highest scores seen on the site. We've been nothing but cheer leaders for this game; a game we feel deserves all the attention it can get.
And Defunct Games is not alone. Both Next Generation and Die Hard Game Fan embraced the game as a masterpiece when it first hit the market. In its very first issue, Next Generation definitively called Alien vs. Predator "the best Jaguar title we've seen so far." For the most part the critics loved it, and now all these years' later historians recount it as one of the best games of its generation.
But that's certainly not what Electronic Gaming Monthly said about it when it was first released ten years ago. Alien vs. Predator was ripped apart for everything from its looks to its lack of music to the challenge. The "review crew" was merciless in their write-ups, making sure nobody even thought about giving the Jaguar title a chance. In the very same issue they ran a glowing review of Boogerman, a game nobody is talking about a decade later.
To be fair, the EGM staffer who called Alien vs. Predator "exceptional" was not one of the four to review the game so many years ago. He's probably just a bit writer who could care less what people said about a ten year old game. It's not a flip flop on his part if he
Snatcher is a breeding ground for all kinds of creepy characters, even Santa!
loved the game and these four ex-staffers didn't. But magazines generally like to have consistency, and it's hard to find any in this story.
It's also true that some games just aren't appreciated by the critics when they are first released; it takes years for the game (or perhaps gamers) to mature. A game like Snatcher is viewed by many as one of the greatest Konami games of the 16-bit era, yet magazines such as Next Generation only gave it so-so marks. It's not until years later that the same critic will go back and see just what the fuss was all about.
But none of that excuses Electronic Gaming Monthly for their gross inconsistency. A magazine as old and respected should have higher standards, these scores aren't just numbers, they are for many the deciding factor for whether they spend the $50 on a game or not.
Of the four reviewers, only one reads like they actually played the game. Three of the four do not even mention the biggest selling point, the ability to play as either the Alien, the Predator, or the human in completely different scenarios. Did these writers feel they didn't need to cover this aspect of the game since somebody else was? Perhaps they didn't feel it was important enough to talk about, and merely reminiscing about the Alien and Predator movies would be suffice, but look at it now it looks pretty shallow.
They're right about one thing, though; Alien vs. Predator is a great game and should have helped get Jaguar's in living rooms around the country. It may have taken Electronic Gaming Monthly ten years to see the error of its ways, but at least they did, that's more than we can say about most critics.