Videogame Reviews
All of the writers who contribute to Cosmic Conspiracies are mad videogame fanatics and own many games consoles including an Xbox, Xbox 360, Playstation 2 and high end PCs.  We are always happy to review the latest gaming phenomenon, especially when it has a UFO or Paranormal theme. If you would like us to review your latest masterpiece, please send a review copy to the above address and well do the rest! Here are the latest UFO related games on the market that we think are worth checking out.

Release Date: Out Now

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Kuon is a Japanese horror game set during The Heian (794-1192) period of ancient Japan, a time of great mysticism and magic. The game certainly takes a few ideas from the Resident Evil series of games and adds a few interesting ideas of its own into the mix. You start the game playing a teenage girl who has wandered into a dark and gruesome castle, where mutated creatures and unimaginable horrors await. Together with multiple playable characters - exorcists ("Onmyoji") sent by their master to uncover the castle's mysteries - the young girl must master the powers of exorcism and Heian-period weaponry to survive the nightmarish world of psychological horrors.

The game begins with an exorcist arriving at the mansion to investigate reports of evil spirits within. Unfortunately he soon disappears, and its at this point that the two main characters get involved. The main character is the exorcists daughter, Utsuki, who travels to the mansion in search of her missing father, and Sakuya, a young woman who is studying under Doman to become an exorcist.

You can use many various weapons such as magic spells, knives and Japanese fans and cards are scattered throughout the game which you can collect and use to cast spells. You can summon creatures to fight for you or use offensive spells for ranged attacks.

From the outset this game reminded us of Resident Evil. One of the first things we noticed about the game is how dark it is. At first it was hard to make out where you were going, until we darkened down the room by closing the curtains. A game that should be played at night then for best results!


Surprisingly, you have to use a little stealth in this game, which is a first for the genre. Run too quickly and the monsters will hear you. What makes this game stand out is the creepy atmosphere that it creates. You hear the wails of ghost children as you explore the castle, which makes the game feel very eerie and ghosts wander the corridors and jump out at you. 

There are certain areas of the house to which the spirits are drawn, causing your characters to experience frightening hallucinations. As a result, your character will lose stamina as they panic, but both stamina and health can be regenerated through meditation which, as it so happens, also serves to cleanse the aura of a room.

The game features its fair share of puzzles which on the whole are quite easy to figure out, however, there is the odd time when you will be wandering about looking for clues to solve a puzzle.

The game takes around twelve hours to complete and when you do you will unlock a third character, a female exorcist called Seimei. The game can be quite gruesome in some places and is recommended to players over the age of 17.

So, summing up, not a bad game at all. The fighting system takes a little time to get used to, but all in all a good game if you want a challenge.

Score: 6/10

UFO Aftershock

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Release Date: 21st October, 2005
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For anyone who has played the old classic UFO: Enemy Unknown, which is regarded by so many (including myself) as one of the best turn-based games to appear on the PC, UFO: Aftershock is a very promising prospect! The game is set almost 50 years after its predecessor UFO: Aftermath, which was also made by games developer ALTAR Interactive. The first thing that we noticed is that UFO: Aftershock seems to have sorted out the problems that we encountered when we played its prequel and for anyone who has played the old classic X-Com games, it seems that this title is a return to form and quite possibly the best game in the series after the original UFO: Enemy Unknown.  The background story tells of a race of aliens called the Reticulans that captures Earth to carry out experiments. Unfortunately, the experiments on Earth to create a planetary-scale biological computer fails, and it is your mission to help the few humans left to try and regain Earth.

It's up to you and the descendents from the Council of Earth, who managed to escape and take refuge on an orbiting alien space station called 'Laputa', to reclaim the Earth.

The game graphics are never going to rival such landmark titles as Half Life 2 or Area 51 (reviewed below), however, they are more than adequate for a turn-based game such as this and do the job nicely. The game engine features dynamic light and shadows, missions can be carried out at various times of the day with different weather effects and there is improved resolution from the earlier games in the series. Animations have been added to show characters being thrown about by explosions, falling off buildings, etc. The characters are generally much more affected by their state of health as well.

Some of your enemies drop important weapons and other items that your scientists can back engineer to help Mankind take back what is rightfully theirs. Combat is turn-based, which gives you a little time to work out a strategy to beat your enemy.

Basically, you give the soldiers orders and hit your space bar to send them into action. They then carry out your orders in real-time. Not only do you get to play small missions, you will eventually get the opportunity to set up bases around the World and meet different races who are trying to beat the aliens as well.

You start the game being in charge of the few humans who have managed to survive on Earth, but as the game progresses you get to help the  Cyborgs, who are mechanically enhanced, then you progress onto the Psionics who are a group of women that have developed their psychic powers and finally the Cultists. Each of these factions start off being neutral and you must encourage them to help you by sending them resources or by completing missions in the areas that they own. If you are successful they will allow you to build a base in their territory.

The hardest faction to convince are the Cultists, who are rather similar to the Cult Of Sirius from another UFO game in the series called UFO: Apocalypse. The action starts with a nice tutorial mission where you play the humans who have escaped from the exploding satellite. They land on another satellite (called a Laputa) which is in the hands of the main alien foe - The Reticulans. It is here that you get your first taste of combat and eventually after you take over the craft, you are shown how to use the strategic interface.

In the control room you can access a view of Earth and this is where you can send your squad to various areas in a landing capsule. You wont be able to access to all the missions at the start of the game, not until you move the Laputa to different areas above the Earth at least, but that is all part of the strategy in winning the game of course. You'll have access to manufacturing, research, diplomacy and base maintenance screens and its up to you where you want to place your bases and what they will contain. You can use your scientists to work on technologies or research items that you find during your missions.

Remember that there are other factions working to defeat the evil aliens and sometimes they will either ask for your assistance or attack your bases, according to how you have treated them throughout the game.

When you arrive on Earth it wont be long until you meet up with your first alien encounter. Its at this point that you really need to think strategically, otherwise it wont be long before all of your squad are dead. Luckily, you can use the surrounding terrain to hide behind and creep up on your enemy. One feature that has been introduced since the last game is the ability to crouch which really helps if your surrounded by the enemy. Its all too easy to be chasing one alien and run into a group of his mates, so strategy is the key!

As you win missions, you gain influence over the other factions, which helps you to gain more territories. Territories yield resources, resources aid research and manufacturing, research and manufacturing mean more power for you, more power wins more missions and so on.

Your soldiers can be trained in various specializations. It means you can have a man with several above average skills or an exceptionally good sniper, grenadier or medic with other skills under average. You can improve Strength, Agility, Dexterity, Willpower, Intelligence, and Perception. Raising Willpower should for example make the soldier more resistant to PSI influence, raising his Strength will make him able to carry more, etc.  There are two ways of improving your soldiers: attributes and trainings.

As your troops earn experience points in battles, they are able to go up in levels. When they gain a level, they will get one attribute point they can allocate, improving their skills in the department of your choice.

UFO: Aftershock is an engaging mix of real-time strategy, team-based combat, and research with a solid storyline and we would recommend it to any fan of the series or for game players who are looking for something that will keep them occupied for more than just a few hours.

Score: 7/10


Release Date: Out Now

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and Publisher
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Area 51 is a game for many formats, and we were lucky enough to get hold of a PS2 copy for review. What is obvious from the first few minutes of play is that you are about to take part in a very well constructed and well thought out game, and it just gets better the more you delve into the creepy depths that Area 51 has to offer. Many players have favourably compared the game to Halo, the XBox console game that all other first person shooters are currently judged by, and its not hard to see why as this is probably the best first person shooter to hit the PS2 to date. You start the game as Ethan Cole, who has to lead a small group of U.S. Special Force soldiers to investigate a distress signal from Area 51 (the secret real life Government base situated deep in the Nevada desert.) A viral outbreak has shut down the research facility and trapped the personnel inside.

The main character is voiced by none other than the X-Files David Duchovny (Fox Mulder), who does a more than adequate job of narrating the story during the excellent cut-scenes and helping the player to get immersed into the plot. Marilyn Manson pops up later in the game, portraying a fat, pulsating, fleshy, telepathetic beast that is encased in a jar of green liquid, and lets face it, he's a bit of a freak show himself, so he fits in perfectly with this games content. Powers Booth provides the voice of your general who gives advice through your radio walkie talkie.

The game consists of five massive levels inside Area 51 as well as an ancient alien colony which is buried beneath the facility. What's good about this game (especially if your into UFOs like us) is that you get to investigate many well known conspiracy theories, such as the crash at Roswell and the lunar landings. Your mission is to stop the viral mutation inside Area 51 before it escapes and mutates all life on Earth. The game contains some really neat aliens, the best that we've seen in a video game in fact. You'll encounter small alien greys inside the base and other more scary mutations which quite frankly can scare the s*** out of you as they jump out from dark corners of the room.

Click this image to view an Area 51 Movie
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Click the image to watch an XBox trailer of this incredible game


Some games enthusiasts may mistake this game for the early 90's arcade game going by the same name where you used a laser gun, which was also made by Midway. Fear not, for this game far outshines its namesake and in my opinion challenges many first person shooter games on any format. On PlayStation 2, Area 51 stands out as the single greatest achievement in first-person shooting technology. It features incredibly detailed textures at close ranges, truly high-resolution graphics, vivid colours, and an astonishing assortment of mesmerizing graphical wizardry and sparkling particle effects.

Area 51 may have a harder time winning the title of best looking and awe-inspiring game on the XBox, but for the PS2 it definitely is the top of the list. One of the best utilised features of the game is the cut-scenes that set up the atmosphere for the next level wonderfully. The audio in the game also deserves a mention. For me, the utilisation of good sound is what makes a title great instead of just mediocre and the sound effects and music in Area 51 adds atmosphere by the bucketload. It really is a fantastic audio experience that will echo in the heads of gamers long after its over. From the early frantic radio chatter to the sharp clinks of hot lead, Area 51 delivers.

Although you start the game with the aid of your squad mates, its not long before your having to explore the base on your own, relying on your quick reactions and problem solving to get you to the end of the level. Most of the objects in the games environment can be physically shot or blown up, which is very useful if you find yourself running out of ammo and a vast amount of baddies about to eat you for lunch. There is a nice selection of weapons in the game for you to have fun with, from the standard shotgun and machine gun to the more unusual weapons that you can pick up off dead aliens.

Area 51 is pretty much like Doom 3 in some areas, especially the parts where horrible monstrosities lurk or jump out of the murky shadows. Its one of those incredible games that you should play in a darkened room and with headphones on to intensify the fear factor. Oh and if you are familiar with that scary scene in 'Alien' then maybe you'll want to let the cat out before sitting down for a session! The main focus of this game is action, it can make for some tense and difficult moments, such as defending a squad mate as he hacks a computer, or just trying to stay alive while enemies rush towards you.  The game developers have certainly done their homework to tie the most well known conspiracies into the storyline. They also introduce a few new gimmicks like being able to use alien abilities early on to mutate into a beast that can hunt and track down the enemy hordes.

Area 51 should take about 15 hours to finish, which is quite a lot longer than your average shoot-em-up, and it gets a lot tougher the further you delve into the game.

You can also take the game online with the XBox and PS2 versions which prolong the enjoyment of the game. There are a quite a few game modes to choose from once you go online, including capture the flag and deathmatch, as well as an interesting addition called Infection. In this game, one team is made up of the men at Cole's side, while the other is composed of the infected enemies that you come across as you progress.

Here are a few of the features that make this game so enjoyable.

  • Extensive single-player campaign: Battle through the corridors of Area 51 and discover its secrets. This unique first-person shooter (FPS) focuses on action, adventure, and exploration.
  • Online multiplayer combat: Compete against friends via four-player Split Screen and System Link, or battle it out on Xbox™ Live, which lets up to 16 opponents compete worldwide.
  • Government conspiracies: Discover the real answers behind the alien autopsy, the crash at Roswell, the lunar landing, and more. Explore, investigate, and battle through five massive levels where futuristic weaponry and powers await.
  • Alien menace: Face off against a horrific creatures designed by Stan Winston Studios, monster creator for such films as Aliens, Jurassic Park, and Predator.
  • Fearsome weaponry: Wield more than 10 hi-tech human and alien weapons.
  • Biological mutations: The infectious mutagen gives you alien-enhanced physical abilities ... but is slowly transforming them into an alien. Find the cure before it’s too late.

I can wholeheartedly recommend that you buy this game as its fun, ties in with the alien subject rather well and will provide you with hours of enjoyment!

Score: 8/10