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Freeze Frame
Prey Takes the Blue Pill
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on July 24, 2006   |   Episode 62 (Show Archive)  

   



"Listen bird, if you don't stop hovering above me I'm going to show you what this wrench is for!"
It's hard to believe that 2K Games' newest title, Prey, began its development years before Andy and Larry Wachowski filmed their biggest hit, The Matrix. Started in the mid-1990s and shown off at the 1998 E3, Prey is one of those games that predates just about everything you might consider current (or even relevant). But there has been a lot of time between the Prey of 1998 and what we are just now getting, enough time to maybe steal a few ideas from one of the biggest movies of the 90s.

Prey is a game that revolves around a Cherokee Indian named Tommy who is abducted by aliens and is on a quest to save his girlfriend (and rescue the world from the clutches of these otherworldly invaders). The Matrix, on the other hand, does not feature aliens or a missing girlfriend ... but it does offer a story based around you fighting a bunch of mechanical creatures

Okay, you're right, the creatures in The Matrix have longer arms, but the rest of the design is spot on!
that intend to keep you (and the rest of the world) in a permanent slumber. On the surface these two projects are very different, and most people won't have a problem confusing them.

But mid way through Prey's ten hour story mode we are introduced to a vehicle (a flying sphere that forms itself around you) and a whole new set of baddies. And that, my friends, is where the game becomes everything that Enter the Matrix was trying to be. Suddenly it's up to you to blast mechanical creatures out of the sky before they rip your ship apart (with you in it).


The Matrix sequels weren't as strong as the original, but they certainly had eye candy!
But these aren't your normal everyday mechanic creatures; they are creations that happen to look exactly like the flying creatures in The Matrix trilogy. Their shape, their numerous red eyes, their long legs (arms?) all feel like they've been stolen directly from the Wachowski Brother's sketch pad. Although there a couple of differences - the creatures in Prey feature smaller (and fewer) arms - it's hard to differentiate between the two. If I were to show you pictures of the two without telling you which was which chances are you would think they came from the same place.

Sometimes enemies look similar but are different enough to give them their own style. But not in Prey. The

Hey, didn't I see you in Doom 3??
moment you first see these unnamed flying creatures you know what it is it reminds you of. And when several of them appear on the screen at once (flying around each other in what feels like a well choreographed dance) there's just no way you can think anything but The Matrix. With all of those red eyes one suspects that even they know that they are nothing more than a cheap copy of the sentinel creatures that are doing their best to stop Neo.

So I ask you, has Tommy taken the blue pill and woken up in a world where computers control everything? Probably not, but it would have gone a long way to explain what these mechanical creatures were doing in Prey. This game may have been in production years before The Matrix hit your local multiplex, but that doesn't mean the developers didn't take a few ideas from the movie that turned Keanu Reeves into "The One." Thankfully these creatures are few and far between, but one has to wonder what they are doing there in the first place.
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