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Game Preview: Area 51

GameCore is a weekly column by CBSNews.com's William Vitka and Chad Chamberlain that focuses on gamers and gaming.



Many people have heard the conspiracies involving the U.S. government and extraterrestrial life crash landing here on Earth. Greys, little green men, UFOs, and dreaded probes – how we fear the probing.

The most famous American conspiracy by far revolves around a little event in Roswell, N.M., and a secret government lab where flying saucers and living aliens are supposedly kept.

Midway's Area 51 uses that as its story's premise and intends to take things a whole lot farther.

Aliens? Heavy firepower? Wonky government conspiracies? Count me in.

I'll be the first to admit that I need Bug Eyed Monsters (BEMs to the Sci-Fi geek initiate) sometimes to make me smirk in the same way that whiney Emo kids need their whiny and depressing Indie music so they can be, well, whiny and depressing.

Let's not forget that Stan Winston Studios designed the monsters in the game, which is just ridiculously cool.

I have fond memories of pumping quarters into Midway's old arcade version of the game. It was a lot of fun then, and here's hoping it stays that fun.

Area 51 is the only action-packed 1st person shooter set in the U.S. government's most secret and secure military facility. The U.S. Army has received a distress signal from Area 51 where a viral outbreak has just shut down the research facility and the automated quarantine procedures have locked all scientific and military personnel inside.

A small Special Forces unit led Specialist Ethan Cole of HAZMAT (hazardous materials) Division is sent to investigate. As Cole, players will delve into five massive levels within the confines of Area 51, discover a mutagenic side effect of the virus that controls the minds of those infected, as well as an ancient alien colony buried beneath the facility. With a multitude of human and alien weapons, players must explore chilling conspiracies such as the extraterrestrial crash at Roswell and the faked lunar landing, in order to solve the enigmas of Area 51 before the viral mutagen is released and irrevocably mutates all life on earth.

Game Facts:

  • Extensive Single-Player Campaign—Battle through the corridors of Area 51 and attempt to discover the secrets of the extraterrestrial menace before it's too late in this 1st person shooter experience that focuses on action, adventure and exploration.
  • Online Multiplayer Combat -- Compete against friends via 4-player split screen and system link, or battle it out online with your PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system or via Xbox™ Live where players can easily take on opponents worldwide, find friends and set up their own matches.
  • Fearsome Weaponry -- Players are armed with more than 10 types of human and alien weapons as they explore the dark and menacing corridors of Area 51.
  • Biological Mutations -- An infectious mutagen has given players alien-enhanced physical abilities but is slowly transforming them into an alien. They must find the cure before it's too late and their humanity is lost.
  • Government Conspiracies -- Discover the real answers behind such conspiracy theories as the alien autopsy and faked lunar landing.
  • Alien Menace -- Face off against a horde of horrific creatures designed by Stan Winston Studios, monster creator for such films as Aliens, Jurassic Park and Predator.

    By William Vitka

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