• Publisher: Midway
  • Release Date: Apr 25, 2005
  • Also On: PC
Metascore
72

Mixed or average reviews - based on 43 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 43
  2. Negative: 0 out of 43
  1. The enemy AI on here smokes that which is found in Bungie's FPS masterpiece, since everything here is vicious, blood-thirsty, filled with hatred, and most of all crack shots with whatever weapons they hold.
  2. For the most part Area 51 delivered a solid, fast, fun, and very challenging action-shooter, all set within a creative human-alien hybrid setting. Who wouldn't love the chance to get a peek inside Area 51?
  3. 86
    A fun, exciting, and intense FPS that has varied and creative environments, well-designed weapons and creatures, fantastic graphics, and fabulous sound effects.
  4. With guns firing at full tilt, and mindless carnage taking center stage, Midway has a surefire hit on its hands. [May 2005, p.108]
  5. An interesting, atmospheric, engaging and most importantly fun to play shooter despite being a little mindless at times.
  6. The gameplay is fantastic, it's a solid, fast paced shooter that will give you your fix for shooting the hell out of some aliens.
  7. A fairly long game for its type and it should give even the most veteran FPS fans 12-15 hours of excitement. The cut-scenes alone are with the price of a theater's admission.
  8. The levels are well designed and there's enough action here to do the genre justice.
  9. 80
    From its chaotic beginning to its clinically insane conclusion, Area 51 provides just enough classic FPS action and technical goodness to merit a great rating and honest recommendation.
  10. As well as its gameplay is executed, and with first-class presentation, ultimately Area 51 cannot quite rise above the pack of other good first-person shooters on the Xbox.
  11. A strong game, but it succeeds kind of in spite of itself. It would've been nice to see a lot more originality in the game, but Area 51 is a fun ride, regardless.
  12. Sucks all these sci-fi staples together into some kind of cliche black hole that also happens to look killer and deliver serious scares and thrills. [June 2005, p.96]
  13. All the production quality that went in to this title would have been great, had it not been botched by David Duchovny and a story that wants to be so much, but ends up being so little.
  14. 80
    The sound is exceptional and sets the atmosphere and pace of the game.
  15. 80
    Combines some of the basic FPS elements with some of the more dramatic things that have evolved from the recent FPS titles, and has collected them into a semi-solid mass that thoroughly entertains.
  16. A well rounded FPS which gives you just enough to keep the controller in your hand.
  17. 80
    While there are problems--too cutscene-heavy, some lame objectives, and the fact that there are infinitely more zombies than little green men--Area 51 is more than enough to make a believer out of you.
  18. Dialogue is fantastic. The script's professionally written. Foul language is common, yet used in the appropriate context. Weapons come off as carefully balanced, and won't disappoint.
  19. A solid shooter with some fun twists.
  20. If you enjoy first-person action games, Area 51 marks a solid entry that should keep you occupied if not wholly entertained for as long as it lasts.
  21. 75
    The game is really good one time through, but to suffer through Duchovny's trance inducing voiceover again sends a shiver down my spine.
  22. While the game may be some distance from Bungie's massive shooter in terms of quality, it's well worth a look for anyone after a quick blast in a game that will remind us all that the "X-Files" was once a decent TV show.
  23. An average shooter that doesn't offer up more than a handful of satisfying thrills throughout its single-player and multiplayer modes. You'll certainly play worse FPS games in your lifetime, but you'll also certainly play better ones, too.
  24. But here again, another fun idea inevitably joins what feels like a game thrown together out of genre spare parts. [May 2005, p.39]
  25. With "Halo 2" and "Unreal Championship 2" being available on an already FPS-abundant console, Area 51 just doesn't deliver the same way those two can, even if you are a "believer."
  26. Neither scary nor particularly engrossing, Area 51 is an exercise in keeping the trigger pressed and the aliens streaming out of the screen. The truth, it is sad to say, is still out there. [Official UK Xbox Magazine]
  27. While this spirited update to the 1996 light gun classic isn't nearly as polished or intelligent as some of the other games in its genre, it still provides tons of hardcore alien blasting and some slick special effects. The controls are spot on.
  28. Fans of the genre will find plenty to enjoy, from the spooky setting to the non-stop action. Live users can also enjoy the excellent lag-free games that it offers, which certainly makes Area 51 a game to consider.
  29. A good, solid shooter that has a lot going for it but fails to achieve greatness, lacking that often indefinable sparkle that makes for a classic.
  30. The series moves from the light-gun to the overly saturated FPS genre, offering decent if unspectacular gameplay.
  31. If Midway's goal was to make a first-person shooter that was as deep as the lightgun blast-'em-up arcade game of the same moniker, it's succeeded admirably. The problem is, this is 2005, and the simple run-and-gun FPS went the way of the crop circle about six years ago. [Apr 2005, p.78]
  32. Probably only warrant a rental, which is basically all the time you'll need to play through this game. Area 51 truly is nothing but a hoax.
  33. Area 51 is the antithesis of what first person shooter fans want. It is actually a better offline title than it is online.
  34. 65
    Area 51 is in no specific way a bad game, it's just an exceptionally dated game. The player's objectives aren't much more evolved than an old Doom or Turok game, and the graphic presentation isn't up to par with the genre's best.
  35. 65
    It gets off to a promising enough start, but then it stumbles, then trips over its own feet, then chokes on its own vomit, then dies a slow, miserable death.
  36. One of the highlights of Area 51 is definitely the weapons. There's a very good variety of weapons at your disposal, all of which are standard to most first-person shooters.
  37. 60
    It feels like we've traveled these claustrophobic corridors a million times before, and there's really nothing here to make you want to put down one of the far superior shooters that can be found on the Xbox.
  38. Lacking any innovation, the best this game offers has already been done.
  39. Area 51 is entirely without inspiration, an exercise in slick, crowd-pleasing cookie-cutter cliché from the Jerry Bruckheimer school of entertainment manufacture. It is absolutely not bad, almost never broken, and usually a good deal of fun. [July 2005, p.92]
  40. But the bulk of the game takes itself far too seriously, so we are forced to admit that it falls short of other serious shooters.
  41. Incredibly high production values can't mask a central lack of compelling gameplay.
  42. There are moments when player adrenaline levels will rise above the base level, but they are so few and far between that in the end most will decide that slogging through the copious average sections simply isn't worth the effort. [June 2005, p.116]
  43. 50
    Only a must-play title for those obsessed with alien conspiracies, or those still hungry for more first-person horror after overturning the forces of Hell in Doom 3. For everyone else, the scariest thing about this game will be how quickly the credits roll, making it one title to be bought and thoroughly enjoyed essentially only on budget or rental.
User Score
8.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 15 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. Rick
    Mar 2, 2006
    7
    An enjoyable game. As mentioned it feels like you have done it all before. Basically there is nothing wrong with this game. Its just not An enjoyable game. As mentioned it feels like you have done it all before. Basically there is nothing wrong with this game. Its just not exceptional. Its better than a lot of other FPS out on the market. Worth a rental for a weekend. I haven't played it for awhile and is enjoyable enough to have another run through. If you're into Aliens and stuff its better than Destroy all humans, albeit they are different genre of gaming. 7.5 out of 10 Full Review »
  2. PeteW.
    Jan 18, 2006
    7
    Not a bad game, bu not a great game either.... When i first started playing, my immediate response was essentially negative, having just Not a bad game, bu not a great game either.... When i first started playing, my immediate response was essentially negative, having just finshed Halo 2, this was game was going to be judged with high standards in mind, so I was somewhat disillusioned by the lack of "polish", and the apparent under utilisation of the xbox's hardware and at one point i nearly switched it off for good. Having said that, after a few levels I warmed to it a little and despite it's shortcomings, is actually quite challenging and fun although there is a lack of weapons. Worth a play, but if you want a top quality sci-fi fps just play Halo 2.... again.... on a harder settting. Full Review »
  3. ChrisM.
    Nov 8, 2005
    9
    This is a really fun game with a twist.