PC Game -- Prey

With an engrossing story and innovative puzzles that employ some clever new angles, Prey has brought the adventure back to an aging genre. First person shooter (FPS) games have begun to rely heavily on the "wow" factor. Groundbreaking physics and rendering capabilities rule, while good old-fashioned gameplay gets sidelined. That's where Prey steps in.

After a brief introduction to your character and his woes in a dull old bar on a Cherokee reservation, you, your true love and your grandfather get sucked up into a strange alien spaceship. Needless to say you are separated and after some gruesome insights into the goings on of this bizarre bio-mechanical environment you set off to save the girl. (And the world, while you're at it.)

The metal gleam, radiant glows and organic texture effects that stunned us in Doom 3 have only been improved with Prey's implementation of the engine and perfectly suit the alien environment. You soon start to acquire an arsenal of alien weapon technology. There are variations of the standard selection with some nice additions and a bio-mechanical twist. Your most commonly used weapon is a type of alien bolt-gun. It writhes in your hands, flexing its tendrils and has an eye on a tentacle that constantly checks you out, but will also extend to your face for some sniper action; possibly your greatest weapon when properly utilised. Spirit-walking is also the backbone of this game's individuality.

Early in the game you learn of your people's power and how to use it, specifically by leaving your body and spirit-walking around the levels. While you can still attack and interact with certain objects, spirit-walking gives you access to many different areas. As a spirit you're not invisible to enemies, but can sneak up close for an instant-kill headshot with your spirit bow and arrow.

Before long you'll be seamlessly moving in and out of the physical realm solving puzzles and fighting your foes. It even puts a unique spin on dying.

By far the greatest asset of this game is the environment and the nature in which you interact with it. Anti-gravity walkways snake across surfaces on every dimension, portals appear out of nowhere, delivering enemies to fight and places to go, while switches throughout the levels instantly change the gravity of the given area you're in. Keeping an eye on your surroundings is essential as floors can become walls or roofs or, well you get the idea.

Not only will you need to use all of these to get past obstacles, but enemies can exist on any number of these gravitation planes making for some interesting M.C. Escher-style battles.

Click here to view screenshot 1 and here to view screenshot 2.

Verdict: Between the portals, gravity and spirit walking, you'll find you're always somewhere you weren't planning to be. This is a well thought-out and thoroughly enjoyable game to play and only lacks in length.
Score: 4 1/2 out of 5
Publisher: 2K Games
URL: www.prey.com
Price: $79.95