Area 51 (2005 video game)

Area 51 (2005 video game)

Infobox VG| title = Area 51

developer = Midway Studios Austin
publisher = Midway
designer =
engine =
released = vgrelease|North America|NA|April 25, 2005
vgrelease|European Union|EU|May 27, 2005
genre = First-person shooter
modes = Single-player, multiplayer
ratings = BBFC: 15
ESRB: Mature (M)
platforms = PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC
requirements = Controller, Xbox Live, Windows. Direct 3D/X
input =

"Area 51" is a first-person shooter developed in tandem for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and PC, and is a loose remake on the 1995 light gun video game of the same name. Players control Ethan Cole, a HazMat operative voiced by David Duchovny sent to the infamous base to investigate some manner of viral outbreak.

"Area 51" at first starts out with intense combat where the player has several AI teammates with him (ranging from two to seven most of the time) versus hordes of mutants. Notable among the voice actors are Marilyn Manson (as Edgar the ancient and powerful Grey), Powers Boothe (as Major Bridges), and Ian Abercrombie (as Dr. Cray).


Gameplay involves combat in a first person view, through the eyes of Ethan Cole. Players may either be required to move to a certain location in order to complete objectives, or at later stages, operate a stationary turret against oncoming enemies.


Throughout the game, players may use various weapons in order to defeat increasingly larger amounts of enemies. These weapons can be fired using one or both hands for increased firepower. Each weapon, can be used either as a melee aid, or for its intended purpose.In all cases, every weapon has two modes of firing, the first being a regular mode, while the second is a much more powerful mode of firing,(at the cost of accuracy,ammo etc.)Players may also use grenades in combat, one of a human make, and one of an alien design.

At a later stage in the game, once the player is infected, the option to turn into a mutant temporarily is obtained. Mutating offers a variety of benefits, such as increased strength, stamina, as well as the initial ability to fire health-replenishing parasites as well as the later ability to contaminate enemies, both at the cost of mutation time reduction. While in a mutant form, players can easily spot enemies, which would otherwise be cloaked to the regular human eye, albeit with a slight ocular defect.

Players can replenish health and mutagen, either through the use of medical syringes found throughout the game, or by using parasites and melee combat in the case of the former and latter respectively.

Other Aspects

A notable aspect of gameplay is the ability to scan and analyse various objects and environments. This is possible by using the scanner present on the player's suit, worn throughout the game. While using a scanner, the player has no access to weapons, apart from melee, and must switch to an available weapon in order to fight. Scanning provides detailed information on a player's surroundings, as well as combated enemies.

The scanner, when equipped, adds a translucent bar to the players HUD, which changes in color and height from light blue, to deep red. This bar indicates how near or far a player is, to a scannableclue, red when the player is very close, and blue when very far. Items which are scanned are viewable in-game, providing insight into the workings of Area-51, as well as proving necessary to unlocking secret videos made by Dr.Cray or Mr.White


The main character Ethan Cole (voiced by David Duchovny) is the specialist for the HazMat Team Bravo. Supporting characters include:

HazMat Team Bravo

*Mitch "CRISPY" Chrisman (voiced by Josh Keaton) - The sarcastic of the HazMat team but also a reliable soldier and one of Cole's closest friends. He eventually dies when the Theta(presumably) appears and kills Ramirez, and infects Crispy. Cole makes his way through the air vents but when he finds Crispy, he is already mutating, forcing Cole to kill him.

*Jack McCan (voiced by Nolan North) - The more quiet and intelligent of the HazMat team. A bookworm, he is rather mature and hard to shock; a notable occasion is when he and Cole were in a strip club, where McCan was reading a book. Cole took it and told a stripper to put it "somewhere interesting." Leaving, McCan actually asked the stripper not to lose his place, without even blinking. When Cole asked him whether the book was damaged, he said "chapter 4 will never be the same." In an allusion to the previous statement, he is the first in HazMat to die in Area 51, his head torn off by a mutant in Chapter 4.

*Anthony Ramirez (team leader) (voiced by Marco Rodriguez) - The headstrong and cunning leader of HazMat. He cares a lot for his team, even though he doesn't show it frequently. He dies second to last; smashed against a bullet-proof glass window by the Theta so hard it ruptures his armor, crushing his body.

HazMat Team Delta

HazMat Team Delta was sent to Area 51 to investigate a disturbance in the base's sublevels. They are ambushed by is creature called a Theta, who kills or mutates most of the team. The remaining five members of Team Delta are last seen fleeing into the darkness.

*Lt. Peter Chew (team leader) (voiced by Trevor Steedmen) - he and his crew are friends of Team Bravo, and Chew is a good friend of Cole. He is the last member of Delta to die after they are ambushed by black ops soldiers He slides down a rigged elevator shaft which has a bomb attached to the railing and is consumed by a mutant leaper at the bottom.
*Marco (voiced by Klen Stinem) - when Cole meets up with Team Delta, he remarks that he's "happy to see a familiar, but it would be a lot better if there were more." He was the first member of Delta to be Killed by the theta mutant.With one swing of its arm, his lifeless body was flung across the room.

Other Human Military and Scientists

*Base Security - The Quick Response Forces of Area 51 are present in many levels of the base, and will help Bravo toward their goal of finding Delta. They are often killed during firefights with mutants or in grenade explosions.

*Major Douglas Bridges (military commander) - The blunt and direct commander of the situation in Area 51. He is voiced by Powers Boothe. Later, as you enter deeper into the base, your radio dies and you no longer hear him. It is probable that he was killed by the quantum detonation which destroyed Area 51 at the end of the game.

*Dr. Winston Cray (voiced by Ian Abercrombie) - The scientist involved with most of the testing and research in the alien mutagen. His son was assassinated on Thursday, April 23, 1967 in order to keep him quiet about his project. (Note: April 23, 1967 is the date of one of the letters involved in the Lunar Space program, as the message in-game is entitled, "URGENT: Impeding Diversionary Lunar Event") He released the Theta which caused the massive epidemic in the base, perhaps to prevent the Illuminati using it as a weapon or to stop the Grays using it on Earth to test it. His assistant is Victor5. He is killed off when a detonated bomb planted by the Illuminai goes off.

*Victor5 (voiced by Brian Cummings) - A step down from Victor6, and modeled after Victor Weisbrod, his former assistant, this clone suffers from an extreme "child-like dependency" on Dr. Cray. A lone grenade from a Black-ops soldier obliterates him.


* Edgar The Gray - Edgar is an ancient and powerful Gray alien. He is one of the aliens that crashed on Earth in Roswell, which started Area 51's secrecy. Because of his accident, he is severely deformed and bloated, and is kept alive in a life-support system. His blood is a mixture of other infected aliens' blood, and is the source of the deadly virus and its cure, which he gives to Cole. Edgar possesses telepathic abilities, being able to communicate with Cole via dead bodies Cole comes across. He has a considerable distaste for the "weakness" of mankind. During a cut-scene his life-support system is seen to be shutting down, and it can be assumed that he dies soon after. He is voiced by Marilyn Manson (Edgar's name could be a reference to the main villain from the 1997 movie Men in Black).

Mr. White

Mr. White (voiced by Phil Proctor) is the enigmatic fist of the shadowy Illuminati, who secretly influence and manipulate world governments and coerce with the Aliens. His first name is apparently Frederick, and he was once a scientist and friend of Dr. Cray, although the two have grown to hate each other. His wife apparently died in some accident, and he devoted himself to his work, eventually being picked to aid the Illuminati. He was one of the men who orchestrated the deal with the Grays which gave the aliens a base on Earth and the ability to develop and research technology unhindered, even allowing the beings to abduct private citizens.

In return the Grays gave the Illuminati access to their technology. White proved himself to be the most able of the Illuminati's agents, utterly dedicated to their cause. Whether or not White has become a member of the Illuminati, the leader of them or still just an agent of them is unknown.

When the incident at Area 51 occurred, it was he who authorised the Black Ops to kill the Hazmat, presumably not wanting the common military grunts from discovering their secrets. White is not fought in the game - he created several clones of himself (which the player can kill if they're fast enough) to make any sort of assassination attempt fruitless. It is likely that the Mr. White who appears in unlockable in-game videos and taunts Dr. Cray via video communication is the true one. It is most likely he or at least his clones are killed by the quantum detonation which destroys Area 51.


An unknown virus has been released inside Area-51, and HazMat Team Bravo has been assigned to clean it up. Once inside, the team discovers that the virus turns people into murderous mutants, and anyone killed by a mutant turns into a mutant themselves.

As the game progresses, members of Team Bravo are killed one by one by mutants, until only Ethan Cole, the player character, is left alive. Ethan is later bitten by a mutant, slowly turning him into a mutant. Later he finds a machine that gives him the ability to switch from being a mutant to a human. Eventually Ethan makes his way through the complex until he finds an alien spaceship several miles below the surface. He destroys the ship in an effort to stop production of the virus, which causes the Area-51 complex to collapse.



The game has received mixed reviews. Gamespot gave it a 6.9 out of a possible 10. IGN and Game Informer both gave it 8.5 out of 10. 1UP, on the other hand, gave it a mere 6.5 out of 10. The average, as told by Gamerankings, has been a respectable 78% out of 100%.


In 2004, ahead of the game's release, Paramount Pictures announced that they had reached an agreement around the acquisition of film rights for the game. [cite web | url= | title="Area 51" the Game Set to Become "Area 51" the Movie | author=Rebecca Murray | date=2004-08-31 | publisher=About, Inc.] In March 2007, counter-cultural comic book author Grant Morrison was hired to adapt the game as a screenplay. [cite web
url= | title="Comicbook author to write 'Area 51' | author=Pamela Mcclintock and Dave McNary | date=2007-04-03 | publisher=variety

Easter Eggs

When you reach the set you can hear over the tannoy, "Roger, Roger. What's our clearance, Clarence? Do we have vector, Victor?" which is a line from the movie "Airplane!".

On the level The Hot Zone near the start of the level there is a classic "Area 51" arcade machine.

If Cole scans himself at the start of the game, he remarks that he must lose some weight. If Cole scans himself after becoming infected, he exclaims "Oh God!", "I'm not even human anymore", or "What am I?"

On one level, a secret area can be discovered that contains hostile sharks with machine guns attached to their heads. This is possibly a reference to "".

There is a newspaper article on a bulletin board that says "Bush Wins ReElection" suggesting that the game happens present day. This is also evidenced by security footage caught early in the game, which shows the date as 5/21/2003.

In some levels you may see a newspaper headline reading "Red Sox Win Series: Curse Ended".

In one of the levels, there is a large studio with a Lunar Lander, an outer space backdrop and a rocky surface coloured a white grey, with many cameras pointed at it, implying the moon landings were faked by the American government.


External links

* [ Official website]
*moby game|id=/area-51_|name="Area-51"
* [ Game Rankings PC reviews]
* [ Game Rankings PlayStation 2 reviews]
* [ Game Rankings Xbox reviews]
* [ Area 51 Gaming Wiki]
* [;11928815;/fileinfo.html Download a free copy of Area 51, sponsored by the United States Air Force]

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