Previews

E3 2010: Hands on with Predators on iPhone

Human fodder

E3 2010: Hands on with Predators on iPhone

Games based on movies always stick to the easy path. Even with an exclusive character or environment not shown in the movie, the game tie-in largely plays it safe by following the plot of the flick.

Chillingo and developer Angry Mob have demonstrated bravery in attempting something different with Predators. Instead of holding your hand through the events of the upcoming Fox film, you're slicing and dicing the very same characters from the perspective of a bad-ass predator. Now that's a movie licence worth playing.

Unscripted

To be honest, Predators does somewhat adhere to the scenarios laid out in the movie, albeit as seen from the alien eyes of a predator. You're meeting characters from the flick, but as enemies instead of allies. The stars are your target, with each of the principal players serving as boss battles.

If you've ever wanted to go mano a mano with Academy Award-winning actor Adrian Brody, consider this your chance.

Rather than opting for a generic side-scrolling action game, Predators takes to an isometric view for some human hack 'n' slash. A virtual analogue stick in the lower-left corner moves your predator, while light and heavy attack buttons are situated in the opposite corner.

As imposing as a predator seems, a gun-equipped soldier can whittle away your life if you're not using predator skills wisely. Light attacks, for instance, can be utilised effectively to quickly hit a group of guys and prevent them from riddling your hide with bullets.

Once you've stymied their attacks, you can finish them with heavy attacks. The animations are absolutely brutal: humans impaled on your fists and bloody decapitations.

King of the jungle

The jungle stage I played featured a large amount of open space, making it impossible to go unnoticed by patrolling soldiers. Adhering to the franchise, you're able to cloak and sneak up on guys for stealth kills. It's almost dastardly how easily these kills are made, but I'm sure that won't stop you from cloaking any chance you get.

There's also an infrared mode for spotting the heat signature of enemies, although it didn't factor at all into the level played. Visually, it's striking, so hopefully later levels use the ability in a meaningful way.

Variety is a concern. Levels will need to offer an array of creative objectives to keep things interesting considering the basic combat mechanics. Should the levels integrate use of cloaking and infrared in compelling ways - not just as optional tactics - then Predators could become more than just a good-looking distraction.

Even if that's not the case, the nice graphics and straightforward action will ensure it to be a great pick-up-and-play game when it's released in July.