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Overview

Prey is a Sci-Fi FPS made by Human Head Studios, using id's Doom 3 engine. The game features the traditional shooter banter, as well as some unique puzzles. To solve these puzzles, you need to walk on the ceiling, walls, and go through portals to complete. Also the game had an online multiplayer component and a soundtrack composed by Jeremy Soule, the man behind Oblivion and Guild Wars' soundtrack. Marketing for the "sequel", Prey 2, would imply that the title of the game referred to the fact that the aliens were hunting Tommy throughout the Sphere, but this is not the case, and in truth, it referred to the fact that the aliens intended to consume all of humanity.

Plot

Tommy, the game's protagonist.
The game begins, oddly enough, in a dank, dirty bathroom. The main character Tommy is gazing at himself through the grime covered mirror, and as you venture out into what appears to be a bar, you meet the supporting roles in the adventure. These two support characters are Jen, Tommy's girlfriend, and Tommy's grandfather Enisi. Tommy speaks to Jen about leaving their Native American reservation and pursuing other things. After a quick scuffle between Tommy and a few of the bar's patrons, the bar's walls begin to shake and the roof is torn off. Green tractor  beams shoot through the open ceiling and Tommy, Jen and Enisi are pulled up into the air.

Tommy wakes up and is strapped into a moving coffin-like contraption. He has his grandfather and girlfriend in sight, and his grandfather tries to calm him and Jen down. Along the ride, Tommy sees strange alien lifeforms, and it appears that these aliens are performing tests on humans. Just as the characters are about to be split up, a strange man seems to detonate a bomb, and de-rail Tommy's cart from the rail system. This is when the player assumes control of Tommy, and begins to traverse the horrible alien spaceship. Tommy makes his way throughout the ship, and encounters strange things like anti-gravity walking strips, and portals. After some exploration, Tommy witnesses the brutal killing of his grandfather Enisi. After this, Tommy becomes extremely emotional and vows to rescue Jen.

The Spirit World
Navigating through the ship, Tommy comes to a narrow and shoddy bridge.It collapses when he tries to cross it, and Tommy "dies". Instead of being dead for good though, Tommy is transported to a spirit world. In this spirit world, Tommy meets his grandfather Enisi. Enisi explains how his, and the spirits of his ancestors live on in this spirit world, and also tells Tommy that the spirit of his childhood pet bird Talon is his guardian. After some quick tutorials on how to spirit project, Tommy is sent back to the world of the living.

Tommy continues through the ship, and meets the leader of the resistance against the aliens, Elhuit. She explains to Tommy that the Mother, whatever that is, needs to be destroyed in order to destroy the ship and it is operations, and Tommy accepts the task. Along the way to the final controntation, Tommy is confronted by Jen, who has been grotesquely spliced onto the body of a hideous monster over which she has no control. After defeating the monster, Tommy is forced to mercy-kill the suffering Jen to prevent the monster from reviving. When Tommy finally confronts the Mother, it is revealed that she is human, and that she had defeated the previous Mother and assumed the role. Now, centuries later, she took a special interest in Tommy because of his Spirit abilities and was training and testing him all along to take her place, to rule the Sphere as its "Father".

An enraged Tommy does battle with the Mother, and upon the brink of death, she forcefully begins to fill Tommy's mind with the vast knowledge that she possesses, somehow teleporting him into her chamber at the very heart of the Sphere. Overwhelmed with the power, Tommy briefly considers becoming the Father, until Enisi contacts Tommy and advises him to not accept it. Tommy rejects the power, and destroys the Sphere by flying it straight into the sun. He returns to the spirit world, and sees Enisi and Jen, who reveal that he isn't dead yet, as they protected him during his intended sacrifice. They return him to Earth, to live his life until the day that he will see his grandfather and Jen again. However, some time later, when the bar has been rebuilt and is now run by Tommy, Elhuit appears to him, to tell him that his adventure is just beginning, and opens a portal to an unknown destination.

Weapons


Name
DescriptionPrimary Fire
Secondary Fire
 
Wrench
  
A standard monkey wrench, taken from Tommy's job as a mechanic on Earth, and the only human-made weapon
Swing Wrench
Swings back the Wrench for extra damage
 
Rifle
Biological weapon; a combination of fully automatic rifle and bolt-action sniper rifle
Standard automatic fire-mode
Triggers zoom mode on/off; rate of fire drops but damage increases while zoomed.
 
Crawler
Small insectoid creatures whose volatile chemicals within allow them to operate as living grenades
Break one leg off the creature, throw, takes one second to explode
Flip creature over, break off all legs, acts as a trip mine when tossed
 
Leech Gun
 
Large cannon with four ammo types
 
  • Plasma (red glow): fires fast-moving balls of energy
  • Freeze (light-blue glow): short-range attack that turns enemies into ice
  • Lightning (white sparks): fires a bolt of electricity
  • Sunbeam (orange glow): a violent incandescent beam that cuts down most enemies almost instantly
 
Fires the currently equipped ammo type
Charge up the gun by leeching the energy from nodes (one colour for each ammo type) found around in the Sphere
 
Auto Cannon
A machine gun with rocket firing capabilities, built into the arm of a particularly powerful enemy, collected by Tommy from the severed arm of such an enemy.
High-rate fire; highly damaging
Rockets
 
Acid Sprayer
This is a Shotgun variant that spews yellow acid, also featuring some grenade launcher capabilities
Shotgun acid blast
Fires an entire canister of acid, almost like a grenade launcher would
 
Launcher
Rocket Launcher with a defense mechanism
Fires rockets
Fires a gas cloud that acts as a shield
 
Spirit Bow
An ethereal bow and arrow, the Spirit Bow is the only weapon available to Tommy while he is Spirit Walking, as all of his "real" weapons are naturally stuck with his body. It uses Tommy's Spirit Energy as ammunition.
Fires an arrow
-----
Talon
Tommy's spirit guide, appearing in the form of a translucent blue hawk. In addition to helping guide the player through levels, Talon also attacks any nearby enemies (glowing red when he does so).
Talon cannot be controlled by the player.
-----
-----

Enemies

Common Enemies

A Fodder, a rather unpleasant enemy.
  • Fodder -- these are the weakest of the enemies faced on the Sphere and can be killed easily
  • Harvester -- these beings have a vital role in harvesting the protein from captives to feed the Sphere
  • Hunter -- the foot-soldiers of the invading force, it is their responsibility to track down and eliminate any captives who might get loose
  • Mutilated Human -- humans who have had machinery implanted into their bodies, leaving them in a zombie-like state; they only fight when provoked
  • Hound -- the Hunters' sidekicks; they can knock Tommy around and temporarily impair his vision
  • Gasbag -- floating, tentacled creatures that spit acid. Gasbags attack anyone who gets too close to them, even your enemies
  • Mutate -- the product of the splicing of DNA genes of both human and other alien victims held captive in the Sphere
  • Drone -- drones are flying robots that do maintenance and repairs in the Sphere
  • Centurions -- after your first encounter with this Cyberdemon-looking guy more will spawn against you, even though they'll be considerably weaker
  • Wraiths of Fallen Spirits -- when Tommy loses all his health, he falls into the Death Realm. He must then battle the Wraiths of Fallen Spirits to regain both his health and spirit energy before being able to return to his body.
  • Creature X -- After Tommy encounters the grotesque form of Jen spliced to a giant monster (referred to as "Girlfriend X" by the Art of Prey book), he will encounter similar, though vastly weaker creatures who have generic human males spliced into the position Jen held.

Bosses

  • Centurion
    The Centurion.
  • Girlfriend X
  • Keeper
  • Mother

Levels

Prey's engaging and fearsome story develops throughout the course of 22 levels, or chapters.
 
  1. Last Call
  2. Escape Velocity
  3. Downward Spiral
  4. Rites of Passage
  5. Second Chances
  6. All Fall Down
  7. Crash Landing
  8. Sacrifices
  9. There are Others
  10. Guiding Fires
  11. The Old Tribes
  12. Hidden Agenda
  13. Jen
  14. The Dark Harvest
  15. Following Her
  16. The Complex
  17. Ascent
  18. Center of Gravity
  19. Resolutions
  20. Oath of Vengeance
  21. Facing the Enemy
  22. Mother's Embrace

Minigames

Video Poker
Before the aliens begin to beam everything up, you can walk over to the game machines and play them. There is a blackjack machine, a poker machine, and a game called Rune Man, with graphics patterned after Rune, another game by Human Head studios. Rune Man is very similar to Pac-Man except is features a viking helmet, and the pickup items are runes. Even if you miss the opportunity to play these, you can find them at later points throughout the game, strewn about the alien ship.

Jukebox
Before the aliens begin to beam everything up, you can also walk over to the jukebox and select a song to listen to, and change the volume as well. There are many songs from real artists like Judas Priest, MXPX, Halifax, etc. You also re-visit the torn-up bar at a later point in the game and the jukebox is still functional, but stuck on the song "Don't Fear the Reaper", at full volume. Also note, Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper" was not a song that could be chosen prior to the opening events of aliens attacking the bar, only when it happened did the song come on.

Multiplayer

Prey's multiplayer consists of two modes: Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch. The multiplayer is standard FPS fare and utilizes all of the features of the single player mode such as the "Spirit Walk" in which Tommy exits his body as a Ghost-like entity to find hidden paths and weapons. However, while in spirit walk mode, the player's body is left vulnerable to attack and can only be used for a limited amount of time. Though there were many free downloads in the form of maps and character skins for multiplayer, the community quickly dispersed as the game waned in popularity. It was regarded by many critics as "tacked on" and "unpolished".

Development

 Talon Brave, the original protagonist of Prey
Prey was officially announced in 1995, eleven years before the game came out. Tom Hall worked on the original design of the game but was replaced by Paul Schuytema after he left to form another company. Hall envisioned an alien abduction that the story would be based around; the new team kept that concept but changed the setting to a huge space ship inhabited by the Trocara and the Keepers. The protagonist was to be a stereotypical Native American named "Talon Brave".
 
At E3 1997 and E3 1998, the development team showed off some of the game's concepts including the use of portal technology and highly destructible environments. These features impressed those that saw it and it received much acclaim. At this point in the development, it seemed like 3D Realms was on its way to releasing a great game. The visuals were looking great for its time and people were confident in the studio due to the successful Duke Nukem 3D.
 
Unfortunately, it didn't last. Devastating technical issues started coming up, and Prey fell apart. When Schuytema's version of Prey was officially done for, 3D Realms brought on Corrinne Yu in November 1998 in an attempt to revive the game. Despite their efforts, this new version of Prey also failed, and the project went on hiatus in 1999.
 
In 2001, the portal technology that the studio needed was already being used in many other titles, so all 3D Realms had to do was license it instead of creating their own. Rumors began circulating the following year that 3D Realms was making Prey, but the game was kept a secret until 2005 when 2K Games announced the game. The game was finally released on July 11, 2006, using the id Tech 4 engine and a new protagonist named Tommy.

Critical Reception

Prey was technically in development since 1995, but had been cancelled for several years until the project was restarted in the early 2000s, ultimately being released on the Xbox 360 and PC. With all of this build up, it's fair to say that critics and gamers alike were waiting to see what the game had turned out to be. The critical reception of this game was varied, but overall, the game received average reviews. It received a 79 out of 100 on metacritic for the 360 version, while the PC version got a 83 out of 100, but both scores are favorable. Although the portal technology used in the game, allowing a player to walk into a portal in one place and instantly emerge somewhere else, was revolutionary at the time, it was unfortunately eclipsed just a year later by Portal, which featured the exact same technology, except it also gave the player the ability to place the portals wherever they wished.

Soundtrack

Prey - Artwork for CD 1
Prey's soundtrack was composed by Jeremy Soule.
 

 
 
 

DISC ONE

Track No.
Song Title
Running Time
 01
 Prey Overture
 05.49
 02
 Aniwyah Calling
 02.05
 03
 Dark Harvest Begins
 01.24
 04
 Upside Down
 02.23
 05
 Where In the Hell Am I?
 01.03
 06
 The Land of the Ancients
 02.57
 07
 As if Appearing from Nowhere
 02.09
 08
 Cries In the Darkness
 02.28
 09
 Back to the Ancient Land
 01.36
 10
 Finding the Warrior Within
 01.31
 11
 Breaching the Surface
 01.33
 12
 Smoke and Mirrors
 05.27
 13
 Desperate Measures
 02.45
 14
 Battle at the Superportal
 05.11
 15
 Primal Instincts
 02.32
 16
 Strenghtened Resolve
 03.12
 17
 Hundreds of Your Miles Tall
 04.57
 18
 Full Ascension
 02.47

 Prey - Artwork for CD 2
 
 
 

 

DISC TWO

Track No.
Song Title
Running Time
 01
 Cutting the Power
 02.31
 02
 Survival of the Fittest
 12.12
 03
 You're Becoming a Nuisance
 03.17
 04
 Pushing Towards Fate
 04.49
 05
 Splitting the Arrow
 04.12
 06
 Sacred Realm Desanctified
 05.10
 07
 The Power of the Keepers
 05.30
 08
 Raiding the Keeper's Fortress
 04.02
 09
 What Lies Before You
 02.20
 10
 Immortality or Oblivion
 04.18
 11
 Redemption and Finale
 03.46
 12
 Prey Super Trailer (bonus track)
 03.18

PC System Requirements

Minimum

  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows 2000 or XP
  • Processor: Intel Pentium 4 2.0Ghz / AMD Athlon XP 2000
  • Memory: 512MB system RAM
  • Graphics Card: 100% DirectX 9.0c compatible 64MB video card with latest manufacturer drivers
  • Hard Drive Space: 2.2GB of uncompressed free hard drive space
  • Sound Card: 100% DirectX 9.0c compatible 16-bit sound card
  • DirectX: DirectX 9.0c

Recommended

  • Processor: Intel Pentium 4 2.5Ghz / AMD Athlon XP 2500
  • Memory: 1GB system RAM
  • Graphics Card: ATI Radeon X800 series or higher video card with latest manufacturer drivers
  • Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi series sound card.

Xbox 360 Game Installation

  • Prey requires 5.0GB of space to install on an Xbox 360 HDD

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