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Know Your Alien Menaces! The Top 4 Alien Aggressors in Video Games This Summer

Written by Aaron Mitchell | Saturday, 25 February 2012 17:49

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The major game releases of the holiday period will officially come to a close with the releases of Mass Effect 3 in a few weeks (I think), and it’s clear that we are at war. At war with aliens, not illegal aliens (up yours Hudson!) but google eyed, saucer flying, anal probing aliens.

Almost every major game release for the last few months has featured humankind locked in a species wide battle for survival against implacable alien forces. You know what that means? It means we are slowly and deliberately being indoctrinated by the government into the idea that we will soon be at war with aliens.

Just like a dozen crappy cold war games and movies prepared us for a war with Russia, and then a war with South American drug lords, then with the Middle East, our current media smorgasbord is resplendent with the shot up flesh of aliens!

 

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It’s all preparation people. They’re coming, to steal our women and cows and probe our asses, to crush our corn and confuse our inebriated and mentally challenged. And we must be ready for them.

So here’s a breakdown of the aliens currently appearing in the most popular training simulators we call ‘games’.

 

Training Simulator: Halo

Alien Menace:  The Covenant

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While the recent Halo game is a remake I’d be remiss not to include the Covenant. While they’re certainly high on the menace factor, trying to detroy the whole universe in some ultimate suicide bomb situation to deliver themselves to their religious paradise (and really, whats scarier than people who believe somethig these days), their creep factor is nerfed by the creepier Flood, basically a swarm of alien genitalia that jump on your face and turn you into one of them.

 

Who Are They?

The Covenant are a coalition of alien races, ranging from the hulking reptilian Elites to the slightly too goofy Grunts, they’re united by an expansionist religious ideology that demands they activate the Halo arrays to begin the Great Journey. Unfortunately for the universe the Great Journey involves wiping out all life in the universe. You think advanced hyper intelligent species would kind of ‘get’ that, but nobody promised aliens wouldn’t be as stupid as us.

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Why Don’t They Like Us?

Turns out the Forerunners, the ancient life forms that created advanced technology including the Halo’s, and are worshipped as gods by the Covenant, may not have been that much different from humans. When the leaders of the Covenant discovered this they did what most religious rulers try to do when they encounter something that conflicts with their beliefs, they go nuts and try to stamp it out. The ‘it’ in this case, being us.

 

How much of a threat are they?

Well they’re after the big daddy of evil alien prizes; they want to destroy the universe. Not just humans, everything, every where, including themselves. Plus they don’t know that.

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This threat is offset by the fact they have an over reliance on purple and violet colouring in their technology to the point where everything they fly in or shoot with looks like some kind of personal massage device, or at least that what your mother tells you it is. Meanwhile some of the alien races are badass, like the Hunters, giant colonies of worms wearing armour with a bazooka for hands, and others decidedly less so. I mean the Grunts are basically asthmatic midgets that can be defeated with a quick slap to the face to dislodge their breathing mask.

By the end of the Halo series the Covenant aren’t even a major threat anymore, their best soldiers have defected to join the humans and the Flood supplant them as the major antagonist in the storyline. Not a good result. Halo: Reach attempted to remind us that the Covenant are meant to be terrifying badasses but didn’t quite get there (unless you’ve ever tried a LASO challenge, then they’re damn scary).

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Training Simulator: Gears of War

Alien Menace: The Locust

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The Locust are definitely a nasty bunch of mother flippers. They’re designed mainly to produce nightmares in children and a reasonable amount of fear in gamers and they do a good job of both. They’ve got skin like rock, teeth like tigers and are built like the cast of The Expendables all squashed together into a mass of muscle, steroids and horse hormones.

 

Who Are They?

You might not know, because it’s not often explicitly stated in the game, but Gears of War is set on a colony world called Sera that humans have settled. So technically the Locust are the noble hero’s defending against an encroaching invading force of squishy aliens, being us.

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They live deep underground with a queen commanding over the whole race, possibly exerting some kind of psychic control over all Locusts. We know they have some kind of religion with weird iconography in their underground cities and the Kantos Priests appearing in Gears 2. So they’re more intelligent than they at first appear. Their name comes from the biblical references to a plague of locusts covering the world at the end of times. While there’s plenty of Locust soldier types the armed forces of the Locust include a number of other subterranean monsters used as weapons and vehicles.

 

 

Why Don’t They Like Us?

We done took their jobs! And possibly their homes. We’re not sure yet why the Locust were living underground, but now they want to live on the surface. While plot elements have hinted that a peaceful solution might have been worked out with the Locusts by the start of the third game things have gone way too far for that. They killed lots of people on Emergence Day; we killed lots of Locusts with Hammer of Dawn attacks. They sunk human cities with a giant underground worm, we flooded their capital. At this point the face slapping has gone too far and moved onto hair pulling.

The chances of a soccer game between the two sides, Christmas on the western front in World War II style, is looking increasingly unlikely.

 

How much of a threat are they?

The Locust seem to very good at killing humans, being on average larger, meaner and more homicidal than most humans. There’s a good reason for this as well. Take a look at the picture below

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That’s a Locust female, also known as a Berserker. You might remember them as those huge enemies that would knock down walls and stone pillars trying to crush you. Just think, to make a little Locust some poor Locust fellow has to do the no pants dance with one of these, and probably be crushed to death in the effort, or at the least badly maimed. I wonder if we’ll ever see a Locust 'husband zone' in some underground city, with the survivors, glassy eyed drones in wheel chairs, muttering to themselves.

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Training Simulator: Resistance

Alien Menace: The Chimera

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An antagonist who remains a mystery, despite three games in the series released so far and two on the horizon, the Chimera are all kinds of nasty. They smell bad, they have lots of yellow eyes and grey corpse like skin and they kidnap people to turn into more creepy smelly monsters. They’re an enemy you don’t feel in the least bit bad about riddling with bullets.

 

Who Are They?

Only bits and pieces about the Chimera have been revealed in the games and the extended universe of Resistance so far. At first it was thought they were the result of experimentation by the Russian’s. Now it turns out they’re of alien origin, a race of aliens that reproduce parasitically, infecting other organisms with their genetic material to turn them into more Chimera. Like the Flood with guns.

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They come in various shapes and sizes, from huge monsters to creepy little monsters and dozens of variations in between. Due to an increased metabolism and weird structure most Chimera need to carry a cooling pack on their back and wear leg brace type devices. This doesn’t make them much slower though. They’re quick and deadly in all their forms.

 

Why Don’t They Like Us?

It’s becoming likely from the plots of previous games that the Chimera don’t give a crap about us. We’re just in the way. They claim to be the original owners of our planet, a claim backed up by giant structures hidden in the earths crust for millions of years and the remains of strange creatures referred to as ‘pure Chimera’.

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The Chimera are apparently fighting a battle against some other unknown and as yet unseen force off in space and they’ve discovered some ancient alien technology artefacts, called Grey Tech by human scientists, that can help them win. Humans just seem to have evolved in the mean time while the Chimera have been off in space so they’re using us as raw material to expand their own forces. Kind of like a science fiction alien zombie army.

 

How much of a threat are they?

The human Chimera war has not gone well. By the start of Resistance 3 Europe and the UK are done for, over run by the yellow eyed bastards. The US is pretty much done for as well and the human race is holding on by the finger tips. So as threats go they’re a biggie.

But then again, they don’t look particularly menacing. Most of them hobble around with special leg braces they need to walk so they look like Forest Gump. Then they all need cooling packs or they just drop dead from overheating. They’re like an army of slightly taller Grunts. So while they’re successful at the whole taking over the world thing, they don’t look all that menacing.

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Training Simulator: Mass Effect

Alien Menace: The Reapers

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Injecting a little Lovecraftian horror into a game of operatic space adventure like Mass Effect just tickles my dangles. The Reapers are the dark, giant gods of myth, slumbering just outside the fringes of space, waiting to herald the end of the world. The scariest thing about them is that they seem completely unstoppable. For all the heroic bluster of Shepherd and his crew no actual solution to the problem of the Reapers has been offered so far.

 

Who Are They?

Much like other alien races in video games the exact origins of the Reapers are not quite known. It’s been strongly hinted that they’re some zenith of artificial intelligence created untold millennia ago by some alien race that they then wiped out. They then went into hibernation outside known space, emerging every millennium or so to wipe out all living sentient races. The Prometheans, the required ‘mysterious ancient alien race’, named them Reapers, although they claim to have no name themselves, when they appeared to wipe them out 10,000 years before Mass Effect so they were around before them.

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The best way to describe them would be giant, incredibly powerful space squid ships. They vary in shape but all are vast and dangerous. In the first Mass Effect game it takes almost the entire fleets of the entire Citadel races to destroy just one. And there’s thousands out there waiting for an alarm clock to go off.

When you see them descending on earth like the nasty big brothers of the tripods from War of the Worlds it’s hard to imagine that the human race is anything other than completely flipped.

 

Why Don’t They Like Us?

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They don’t like anything alive, we’re alive, and so they don’t like us. Unlike the Forerunner’s in Halo, whose galaxy spanning genocide was to protect the universe from the Flood, the Reapers just seem to want to wipe everything out because that’s their thing. What else are they going to do? Arabic cooking classes?

True, it’s a bit a of a plot hole in the Mass Effect universe as to why the Reapers so enjoy reaping all living things. If asked directly why they don’t like us their response may well be as simple as, ‘Because we don’t, we just don’t’, with maybe a, ‘whatever, you shut up anyway, no one likes you’, and possibly a final, ‘We will destroy you all to the youngest child!’. It's not even as if they like the killing everything either, it's more like they're compelled too, like crack heads who are addicted to universe wide genocide.

 

How much of a threat are they?

Well they’re pretty much unstoppable and they’ve destroyed at least one other race which was more advanced than any other race in Mass Effect currently is. They can even twist people’s minds into serving them just by being around them, like some casual mind control they don’t even have to try to do. On top of that, they've plotted this whole thing several million years in advance, leaving mysterious advanced technologies all over the universe to be discovered and studied so that the evolving species would technologically evolve along lines they specifically dictate. The entire structure of the Mass Effect universe is the way it is because it's the way they WANT it to be, so when they come a reaping everythings nicely laided out for them.

So, to put it another way, we’re absolutely clucking dead. It’s going to take some ridiculously convoluted plot hole or last minute Mcguffin to save the universe. And given the demo features a whole mission based on solely on Shepherd and team helping Wrex do the dirty with a female Krogan, it’s like the Commander has given up and is just trying to help his multi species crew get laid one last time.

But it should be pointed out that Reapers kind of act like little bitches. For one thing they send out other races to do all their dirty work, first the Geth and then the Collectors. Secondly, they sleep for thousands of years between cosmic genocide sessions and that strikes me as pretty lazy. Thirdly they have to leave this bread crumb trail of technology, the citadel and the mass effect relays, just to alert them to the fact they should wake up and be getting their cosmic genocide on. Sure Commander Shepherd has hit the snooze alarm twice so far, so they aren’t infallible.

Then again, when Shepherd punches the air and says we need to fight back you can’t help but watch the Reapers descend on earth and think, ‘good luck with that, I’m going to loot the local shopping centre before I die and eat Cadbury crème eggs till I’m sick’.

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