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18 Features

Seven ways to die in Alien: Isolation

In space, nobody can hear you scream. But in your living room?

Alien: Isolation won't be upon us till October, but it's never too early to start thinking about how you might not expire of enormous puncture wounds. Here are some things I tried while playing the game at Creative Assembly's Horsham HQ last year - top tricks and tactics for when life has lost its charm. Mind you don't get blood on the carpet.

Hit it!

Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Oh wait, you were serious? I guess I can't blame you. Certain other Alien/Aliens games allow the player to overpower the Xenomorph, shoving it back when it moves in for the kill, or even clubbing it into submission - an unhelpful precedent. Try that on Creative Assembly's Alien and it'll tear you up like a crisp packet. No, backstabbing won't work either. The creature's almost twice your height - how are you going to reach its jugular? Do Aliens even have jugulars?

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Shoot it?

Bullets have worked against Aliens in the past, but Creative Assembly has strongly implied that (a) there aren't any guns on the Sevastapol space station that are meaty enough to take down this one, and (b) ammo will be scarce. Shooting at the Alien is probably just going to make it angrier while giving away your position, then. Resist the temptation.

Shoot something else, then!

Besides the Alien, you'll run into (or at least, speak to) fellow human survivors while exploring the space station, plus a sinisterly albino breed of android. It's implied that some of these entities will take exception to your presence: as creative lead Alistair Hope has hinted, "there are characters on the station that are in a very similar position to you, trying to survive, and how they react to the situation varies, and you'll get to see how that plays out."

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Given that the Alien is supposed to be your main antagonist, it's probable that your weapons will be rather more effective against these unspecified foes - but mind you don't alert the Alien in the process. I can well imagine a scenario in which Amanda must find her way through an area that's patrolled by both the Alien and a number of theoretically disposable rogue androids. How will she dispose of the latter, without riling the former? As the classic proverb goes, "one should always pick the lesser of two evils, because at least it won't chew a hole in your forehead".

Open a door!

This isn't Star Trek, with its purring elevators and quietly tinkling terminals. The mechanisms of which the Sevastapol is composed are rickety, ogreish, petulant hummocks of user-unfriendliness, each seemingly designed by an engineer with no ears. If you move from one chamber to the next, the Alien is going to know about it, and when the Alien knows about something it generally tries to eat it.

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