Aliens: Colonial Marines

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Aliens: Colonial Marines
"Game over, man! Game over!" - Hudson
Genre(s): First-Person Shooter
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 3
Xbox 360
Release: February 12, 2013
Engine: Unreal Engine 3
Developer(s): Gearbox Software
TimeGate Studios
Demiurge Studios
Nerve Software
Publisher(s): Sega
Country: United States
Series: Alien
Predecessor: Alien 3 (timeline)
Successor: Alien Resurrection (timeline)
Alien: Isolation (video game)
"You fucked it up!"
Angry Joe's First word

Aliens: Colonial Marines is a 2013 first-person shooter game developed by Gearbox Software[1] and published by Sega for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. The game is set in the Alien universe, in terms of the timeline it is just after Alien 3, though it mostly focuses on the aftermath of the events seen in Aliens. The game was also supposed to be released for the Wii U, which was to be developed by Demiurge Studios, but was canceled for unknown reasons.[2]


Aliens: Colonial Marines is a first-person shooter which puts the player in the role of a United States Colonial Marine named Cpl. Christopher Winter. The player has access to iconic weapons from the movie such as the flamethrower, pulse rifle, smartgun, shotgun, pistol, and robotic sentry turrets. Players are also able to use welding torches to seal doors and motion trackers to detect unseen enemies.


A previous game titled Aliens: Colonial Marines was developed by Check Six Games and was to be published by Fox Interactive and Electronic Arts for the PlayStation 2 in 2001, but was canceled before its release. A more traditional first-person shooter, it shared the same subject matter and setting as the Gearbox-developed game. Its story was to be set between the events of Aliens and Alien 3, concerning a rescue team of Colonial Marines searching for the Sulaco. Despite the similarities in gameplay and story, however, Gearbox has claimed that their game is unrelated to this early version.

Why It Should Be Chestbursted

  1. This game took 12 years to develop, only a little less than Duke Nukem Forever. As a result, it ended up looking like an unfinished product rushed at release riddled with bugs and glitches and a terrible storyline, despite the overly long development time.
    • Coincidently enough, these two games were developed by Gearbox Software and they developed both games at the same time.
  2. Numerous bugs and glitches, such as missing textures, for example, the infamously untextured black vents which reflect absolutely no light and does not respond to fire. A few of these were later fixed, but many remain even today.
  3. Horrendously programmed AI. Xenomorphs will jump slowly towards you and then get stuck for a half second delay after landing, which causes them to be basically cannon fodder. The worst cases are that of O‘Neal who often blocks your path and the blind Xenomorphs, the latter of which has been mocked mercilessly.
    • In-game dialog informs that the blind Xenomorphs will detect you if you make a loud enough noise, however, they do not react to sound at all, and in fact, the AI for them is completely broken. Bumping them while crouched does not alert them to your presence. Bouncing on a metal object does not make them detect you, a conversation does not make them detect you, and not even someone cutting down a door with a cutting torch, which makes a very loud noise in-game, will alert them to your presence.
    • For some reason, the Xenomorphs only seem to target you. For example, when the Xenomorphs are in combat with the marine AI, and you come near them, they will stop what they're doing immediately, and try to attack you.[3]
    • On October 31st 2017, a modder discovered that the poor AI was caused by a single typo in one of the INI files (AttachPawnToTeather when it should be AttachPawnToTether). This causes enemy AI to not know which "zone" of the level it is in, therefore it won't use any sneaking or flanking maneuvers.
  4. The game is too easy, no matter which difficulty settings you use, due to the broken enemy AI (as mentioned above) and the fact that you have tons of HP. Even the highest difficulty is only harder because it removes the HUD and lets you die because you have no idea how much health you have.
  5. Laser modules for weapons are completely useless, since the laser beam is not offset to indicate the point of impact and instead represents a line drawn straight forward from where the laser actually is on the weapon.
  6. It is too difficult to tell if you are actually hitting the enemy you are targeting. The weapons are extremely inaccurate due to a mechanic discovered by modder TemplarGFX called "Weapon Wandering". It is a simulation of you not being able to hold the gun steady when aiming because of its weight, but in real life, only the weapon wanders, while the shooter's viewpoint remains steady. To compound this bullets don't come out of the gun, but the character. Because of this mechanic, if you're firing at long range and wander by a few pixels, your aim is off by meters!
  7. Very poor level design.
  8. Looking at one of the scripted events they clearly wanted you to look at will cause you to be killed by a rocket due to bad enemy placement.
  9. As mentioned above, both the poor level design and the broken enemy AI means that it is possible to finish a level from start to finish in only 5 minutes.
  10. Awful graphics with inexcusably low-res textures and shadows, plastic looking weapons and action figure like character models, and almost zero lighting detail which would be considered outdated and ugly if the game was released in 2010. These required an absolutely massive 4 GB patch to partially fix. The game also overuses lens flare, which can block sight of enemies and can even get you killed. It's even more disappointing when considering how much appealing the early trailers and screenshots for the game looked (as mentioned below.)
  11. The cutscenes are very ugly to look at and have very jarring voice acting, lip-sync, lots of compression artifacts, and lack of facial animation which makes it seem like a budget game instead of a triple-A game release.
  12. Very crude and poorly implemented multiplayer cooperative mode.
  13. False advertising: The developers put together a short demo that both looked and played much better than the finished game for E3 and promotional material to cover up how botched the game actually was before release. This led to a class action lawsuit being filed against SEGA and Gearbox.
    • There were also many features showcased that ultimately don't exist in the finished game, such as a flamethrower-equipped Power Loader.
  14. Unoriginal and uninspired characters despite Gearbox's claims.
  15. You can only use the M56 Smartgun twice, for about 10 minutes before the end of the level it appears in, and if you're playing this level in the coop mode, only one player can use it at a time. What's worse, you can't bring it with you to the next level.
  16. The fact that there are enemy humans, in the form of Weyland-Yutani mercenaries. What makes this terrible is that they ended up stealing the spotlight from the Xenomorphs (who are officially the icon of the franchise) for a couple of levels. Apparently, their addition was mandated by SEGA, who demanded that the game pander to Call of Duty players.
  17. The story is full of plot holes and things that contradict Aliens: for example, it is never explained how Hicks survived, and the reactor building looks in awfully good shape considering the size of the explosion at the end of the movie. The final DLC Stasis Interrupted was entirely based around trying to explain away this plot hole, taking players on a ludicrous journey where it turns out a fat guy got shoved into Hicks' cryo-pod as part of a trip all the way to where Alien 3 is set, only for Weyland-Yutani to capture Hicks and take him right back to LV-426 to punish him by making him be in Aliens: Colonial Marines.
  18. Terrible and formulaic enemy placements in certain levels. Of the game's 11 levels (including the tutorial), three are focused on the Xenomorphs, another three are focused on the human enemies, and yet another three missions that feature both enemies at the same time.
  19. The final boss fight against the Alien Queen is inexcusably anti-climactic. You just try to get away from her (no pun intended), then push a couple of buttons which will then trigger the ending cutscene.
  20. Poor sound design: In particular, the aliens sound like a bunch of angry cats, and the Pulse Rifle firing sound is taken directly from the films and not looped, meaning that there are frequent pauses where the sound clip stops playing and starts again when firing full-auto.
  21. Bad voice acting: in particular, Michael Biehn sounds horribly bored, more so in the DLC which sounds quite literally phoned in.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. There are fan mods that exist to make the game more enjoyable and fun to play. The ACM Overhaul mod fixes many (though not all) of the game's fatal problems.
  2. Competitive online multiplayer can be fun, though obviously these days finding people playing it is difficult at best.
  3. The soundtrack composed by Kevin Riepl is decent and gives off a feeling of the Aliens setting.
  4. Some of the environments look good.

Reception and Legacy

Aliens: Colonial Marines received negative reviews from critics and players and became infamous due to its numerous design flaws, poor graphics, glitches, broken AI, and poor gunplay. On Metacritic, the review aggregator website gave the Xbox 360 version of the game a score of 48/100, the PC version a 45/100, and the PS3 version was given a score of 43/100. It is also notorious for the outright false advertising that was used to promote the game. This is the main reason why the "Gameplay not final" words where used for the reveal trailer.

In DXFan619's review of the game, he states that after four to five hours of gameplay, he got a serious case of Déjà vu after he saw a Xenomorph launch on to him and had to fight him off and that the feeling got worse as he continued to play the game. He states that he experience elements of the game he already played in FEAR 2. He then found that the lead designer for both games was John Mulkey which then caused them to realize both games have the same final boss fight and the two games were basically the same game. In his Worst Games of the Decade video, he deemed it the worst licensed game.

Angry Joe gave this game a 4/10 and listing as #3 of the Worst Game of 2013.

Despite its commercial success, it took the throne from Alien Resurrection as the lowest point in the entire franchise, and it also permanently damaged Randy Pitchford's reputation fron then on out. Because of this, Alien: Isolation was made by Creative Assembly a year later in order to fix everything this mess has done, but despite being superior, Colonial Marines' lost of goodwill from fans and its controversy caused Isolation to be lowest selling game of 2014, resulting in Sega losing the game rights from 20th Century Fox and Disney.


  • The game was planned to be released in Japan, but it was canceled for unknown reasons, probably due to the negative reception.[4]
  • In Mission 6: For Bella, the player enters a large building and has to run past a room with a sentry gun on the left hand side. One of the lockers inside that room contains 3 small balls, one red, one blue and one textured like the ground you run on in the Chaos Emerald Stage from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles.
  • People who pre-ordered Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse got a level based off of Aliens: Colonial Marines.



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