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This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. (Consider using more specific cleanup instructions.) Please help improve this article if you can. The talk page may contain suggestions. (January 2009) BlackSite: Area 51 Developer(s) Midway Studios Austin Publisher(s) Midway Designer(s) Harvey Smith Composer(s) Jason Graves Engine Modified Unreal Engine 3 Platform(s) PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows Release date(s) NA November 12, 2007[1] EU November 30, 2007[1] AU November 29, 2007[1] Genre(s) First-person shooter Mode(s) Single-player, Multiplayer Rating(s) ESRB: Teen (T) OFLC: M PEGI: 16+ USK: 16+ Media/distribution Blu-ray disc, DVD-DL BlackSite: Area 51 (BlackSite in Europe) is a horror science fiction first-person shooter video game, released for Xbox 360 and Windows on November 12, 2007 in North America, with a PlayStation 3 version coming a few weeks later. The game is mostly unrelated to the 2005 Multi-platform game Area 51. The game was developed by Midway Austin and published by Midway. A demo of the game for the Xbox 360 was released via Xbox Live Marketplace on May 11, 2007. A PS3 demo was released December 11, 2007. The game has been noted for its cynical political commentary, which challenges the often black and white viewpoint of many first person shooters with an unusually messy and nebulous situation.[2] Characters comment on the injustice of the military's treatment of prisoners or wounded soldiers, the ethics of torture and other controversial subjects related to the War on Terror. Many level names are plays on speeches or comments made by members of the Bush administration regarding the Iraq War, i.e. "Last Throes", "Stay the Course" and "Misunderestimate". Contents 1 Gameplay 1.1 Multiplayer 2 Story 3 Graphics 4 Demo 5 Trivia 6 Reception 7 References 8 External links Gameplay BlackSite: Area 51 features standard first-person shooter gameplay. It uses a regenerating health system; additionally the player's character can absorb relatively large amounts of gunfire before dying. The game features 6 different weapons, however only 2 weapons can be carried at the same time. The game also features the ability to use grenades and melee attacks. The game's main weapon, the M4 carbine, has a reflex sight that can be aimed through for zooming in on distant targets. The game does not feature the ability to lean around corners.[3] One of the main features of the game is squad tactics. For almost the entire game, the player will have a team of 2 A.I. controlled squadmates accompanying them. Squadmates can be ordered to move on a location, concentrate their fire on a specific enemy, man a mounted turret, or set explosive charges on certain items. Squad commands are given with a single button; the commands are context sensitive based on what the player points the cursor at. Squadmates cannot be killed, and will only be knocked out for a brief period after taking a certain amount of damage. The game also features a morale system, where squad morale increases as the player kills enemies or scores headshots, and decreases as the player takes damage or as squadmates are injured or incapacitated. At high morale, squadmates fight much more effectively and can survive more damage, while at low morale they contribute much less to firefights, and are incapacitated much more easily. The game also features several vehicle sections, where the player must drive a civilian van or military Humvee cross-country to reach a location, while dealing with enemy attacks. The player can exit the vehicle at any time to collect items, investigate buildings, or man the humvee's mounted machinegun. The game features 6 different weapons that the player can use. 4 are real-world firearms, while 2 are fictional weapons based on alien technology. Multiplayer The multiplayer features modes such as Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the flag, Siege,and Human VS. Reborn. The Siege and Human VS. Reborn are different and unique from other games. It allows the teams to attempt to control each of the level's territories while trying to capture one another. The Deathmatch mode, as well as the rest of the online portion of the game has a maximum number of 10 players. There is no split screen multiplayer. Online Cooperative was planned originally but since then has been cancelled on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3: http://au.ps3.ign.com/articles/828/828904p1.html The PC multiplayer mode can only be enabled by registering an account with Midway games. Story This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. Please help improve it by removing unnecessary details and making it more concise. (January 2009) The game begins in Iraq with protagonist Captain Pierce and his Delta Force Echo Squad (consisting of Lieutenant Somers, Corporal Grayson, and Sergeant Ambrose) on a mission to investigate an underground bunker where WMDs are supposedly stored. The team is assisted by the head of an elite science team, Special Operative Doctor Noa Weis. After battling through Iraqi Republican Guardsmen, Echo Squad reaches the levels of the facility where the weapons are supposedly stored, discovering horribly mutated humans and alien creatures called Xenos infesting the facility. The team wonders about the Xenos, but Weis declares the matter classified. Pierce, Somers and Weis move to the weapon storage area. They find a strange crystalline alien object (later revealed to be a segment of the main artifact from the Roswell UFO, which was stolen from Area 51 and sold to the Iraqis). Somers touches the crystal, sending out energy pulses that incapacitate Pierce. Weis drags Pierce to an elevator while Somers holds the Xenos back. Weis then closes the elevator door despite Somers frantic pleas. Pierce and Weis rejoin the others and relate Somers' apparent death before escaping the bunker. Three years later, Pierce is summoned to BaseCamp, a U.S. military base garrisoning the U.S. 4th Infantry Division under the command of Colonel Dale Green. Green explains that a heavily-armed militia has taken control of the decommissioned military base at Groom Lake (Area 51), and Echo Squad must reclaim it. They have been specifically chosen for this assignment because Xenos have been seen around Rachel, Nevada; the town closest to the base. Fighting their way to Rachel, Echo Squad is attacked by both Xenos and the militia, who are revealed to be heavily armed, cybernetically augmented soldiers with U.S. dogtags, known as "Reborn". Upon reaching Rachel, Echo Squad meets up with surviving members of the U.S. 4th Infantry Division sent to take back the town. While the squad helps defend the surviving civilians, Grayson discovers something very shocking: Somers, alive and well, but similar to the Reborn. Somers explains to his greatly surprised comrades that he survived the incident in Iraq only to be "disappeared" by the U.S. military and forcefully recruited into the Reborn Program. Somers explains the Reborn Program is a black-ops research and development program put in motion by the U.S. Government to create the ultimate army of soldiers for wars with other nations by experimenting on the homeless, illegal immigrants, prisoners of war, and, eventually, the project moved on to use American soldiers without close family. The soldiers suffered terribly, and eventually one of them led an insurrection. Grayson believes him, but Ambrose is skeptical. Somers assures his comrades that Weis can explain further. Against Colonel Green's direct orders, The team extracts back to BaseCamp. At the base, Green berates Pierce for going against orders but before Pierce can discuss Somers, he is summoned to the medical center, where the truth is revealed; Somers himself is the Reborn Leader and Weis was the head of the Reborn Program. The Reborn Program itself was shut down and the soldiers were left to die, sealed within a massive concrete containment dome in Area 51. Somers led the others to adapt and survive, and were ready when the current administration re-instated the Reborn Program. Somers used the alien artifact at the heart of Area 51 to penetrate the dome, allowing them to escape and fight against their former masters. Somers, after non-fatally shooting Grayson, departs in a Reborn helicopter with several captured scientists, as the attack on BaseCamp begins. Pierce, Weis and Ambrose successfully fight off the Reborn and Xeno attackers, ignoring and disregarding Green's orders for the Reborn to be captured alive. After the battle, and Grayson recuperates, Echo Squad is confronted by Green, who is irate they have ignored his orders twice, and confines them to BaseCamp. Echo Squad knows Somers intends to increase power to the artifact, and use it to get revenge. Grayson arranges for some of his pilot friends to transport them to Area 51, intent on stopping Somers. Echo Squad departs just as more Xenos attack BaseCamp. Echo Squad, despite some difficulties, arrives at Area 51, joining the 4th Infantry Division as they launch a massive assault on the base, in an attempt to stop Somers from using the artifact, which could possibly destroy the world. However, it is too late, as a massive power surge caused by the artifact, knocks the helicopter out of the sky, killing Ambrose. Echo Squad descends into Area 51. In a Reborn ambush, Grayson is killed and Pierce is captured. Pierce is brought to Somers, who is now attired and equipped just like the other Reborn. Somers gloats that Pierce is already too late; the true danger behind the Xenos is the spores that created them, and the artifact, the power of which Somers has greatly amplified, has released spores into Earth's atmosphere, causing Xenos to spread across the United States. Weis frees Pierce and, while Weis escapes pursuing Reborn soldiers, Pierce shuts the artifact down, and, in a massive shootout, defeats and kills Somers. Pierce and Weis escape in a helicopter as Area 51 collapses, and fly off to see how far the Xeno spores have spread. Graphics The game uses Midway's modified Unreal 3 engine that was developed for Stranglehold[citation needed]. This allows for more realistic graphics and effects, such as having rain bounce off your current weapon. Many destructible objects are featured, but most of the environment is not alterable. A high level of interactivity between the landscape, the playable character and the AI is shown, such as when a petrol station sign is shot at, one of the AI squad members says "Yeah, I hate those prices too." Demo On May 11, 2007 a demo for the Xbox 360 was released on the Xbox Live Marketplace. The demo is set early in the game in the town of Rachel, Nevada, the closest civilian settlement to Area 51. Armed with an M4 Carbine with a reflex scope attachment and the Mark 23 handgun, Pierce and his two-man squad search what remains of the alien-infested town for another squad, later found dead. The demo ends after a red flare is seen in the distance, signifying that some members of the squad survived, and Pierce witnesses a massive alien organism fall from the sky only to land in front of the squad sending a shockwave and cars flying. The demo mentions a "Human Vs. Reborn" multiplayer mode, suggesting that the alien lifeforms are a reborn form of something else, hence the suggestion that they are modified humans. A second demo was released onto Xbox Live Marketplace, a week after the game's release [1]. Trivia Two references to Star Wars are made in the opening levels of the game, both while driving a support vehicle. One is the infamous "targeting computer" line, while the other is Darth Vader's, "I find your lack of faith disturbing." Another Star Wars reference: a village called "Tatooine" (after checkpoint three). An X-Men reference is in the name of Echo Squad member Lieutenant Logan Somers: Logan is Wolverine's name, while Somers is a play on Cyclops' last name (i.e. Scott Summers). A Mortal Kombat reference is also present in the game. At one point in the game, you'll find yourself at a drive-in movie. At the back, there's a building where the film projector is. On the first floor, when you enter, to your left there will be an arcade machine that says Mortal Kombat on it and it has the official logo. It also sports some of the art from the original arcade machine. Reception The game received mixed reviews, receiving a metacritic rating (as of November 25, 2008) of 60 for Microsoft Windows, 62 for Xbox 360 and 56 for PlayStation 3.[4] On November 29, 2007 Harvey Smith, the game's designer, came out publicly to announce how ruined the game's development schedule was. He claimed the schedule caused the low reviews due to the fact they were not able to test the game properly.[5] He lost his job at Midway soon after making this comment.[6] References ^ a b c "Blacksite: Area 51 Xbox GameFAQs.com game info page". GameFAQs. http://www.gamefaqs.com/console/xbox360/data/937988.html. Retrieved 2008-02-09.  ^ "Cynical, Subversive BlackSite Bashes Bush's War Machine". http://www.wired.com/gaming/gamingreviews/commentary/games/2007/11/gamesfrontiers_1119.  ^ http://www.gamespot.com/xbox360/action/blacksite/news.html?sid=6172479&mode=recent ^ http://www.metacritic.com/search/process?sort=relevance&termType=all&ts=Blacksite&ty=0 ^ Bramwell, Tom (2007-11-29). "Smith explains Blacksite issues". Eurogamer. http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=88484. Retrieved 2008-03-05.  ^ Klepek, Patrick (2007-11-30). "Confirmed: Harvey Smith Leaves Midway". 1UP.com. http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3164653. Retrieved 2009-01-21.  External links Official website (domain expired) v · d · eArea 51 video games Area 51 (1995) · Site 4 · Area 51 (2005) · BlackSite