Run Like Hell Review

Brutal, bloodthirsty, and primal alien monsters have taken over a space base, slaughtering almost everyone on board in the process. The base is far from the nearest source of help, so a single human warrior must face the menace alone, eradicating the invaders while bringing the base back online. This plotline has appeared in many books, movies, and games over the years and it is recycled once again in the action game Run Like Hell (RLH). While the plotline does not score any points for originality, the game deserves some credit for providing gameplay that is not quite as generic as the story. However it does not succeed well enough to make the game recommendable to all gamers.

RLH is primarily a third-person action game with added adventure, puzzle, and mini-game elements. It also tries to build a movie-like level of immersion by interspersing the action with numerous and long-running cutscenes (fans of the Aliens movies may even recognize the voice of the game's protagonist, Connor, as that of Lance Henriksen who played the android Bishop in the first two films). While the game is certainly ambitious, in the end it seems to suffer from a case of trying to do too much and the end result is that it doesn't do anything particularly well.

Action games really need to deliver an exciting action experience in order to be truly fun to play. Unfortunately RLH falls short in this category. The biggest problem is that the combat in the game is almost automated. The game uses a target lock system that lets you cycle through attacking enemies at the push of a button and that keeps your weapon trained on the target. Defeating enemies becomes an exercise in running around with your finger holding down the fire button as you mow down one enemy after another. In addition, it's not like you really need that much help with fire control enemies tend to use the rudimentary attack tactic of coming straight at you. Perhaps in an attempt to compensate for the lack of intelligent enemies, the game often resorts to creating alien spawn points that are more often than not attached to fixed points in the ceiling. The first time through an area you may be surprised by an enemy dropping down on or near you, but after that you'll know when you'll need to keep your weapon at the ready.

For the most part the puzzles in the game are as simplistic as the fighting. This is primarily because the most common puzzle is the old "find the code at one terminal and enter it at another" standby. More interesting puzzles, such as one in which you must use a remote-controlled robot to lure a large alien away from a door you need to pass through, are completely outnumbered by milquetoast offerings such as pressing a button to stop a moving blip in a target zone or the ever exciting "run towards the camera and guess when to jump and when to duck' puzzle.

The game prepares you for the mechanics of combat and puzzle-solving in a novel way. You begin the game on the space station before it is invaded and can interact with video games, VR simulations, and coded doors to prepare for the actual game itself. It's a good way to move you through what is essentially a tutorial while giving you a glimpse at life on the station before the disaster, helping you to care more about the disaster that soon befalls it. On the downside, it also shows you just about every puzzle element that you'll encounter during the game, making you realize just how limited the puzzle design really is.

The game also suffers from slow and uneven pacing due to the number of cutscenes and their length. This would serve to make the game more immersive and would not be much of an issue if the story were more interesting. As it stands it is too derivative and straightforward to generate much in the way of tension or excitement, and you'll find yourself wishing that there were a lot fewer cutscenes in the game.

RLH was originally a PS2 game and the quality of the graphics indicate that the game was simply ported to the Xbox without any effort directed at taking advantage of the Xbox's superior graphics capability.  The textures are not very detailed - for either the characters in the game or the dark and drab station itself.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 60%.  Run Like Hell tries to deliver a varied and immersive gaming experience, but just doesn't deliver.

 



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