Aliens: Colonial Marines
Nice, but where's the trigger?
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Aliens: Colonial Marines is a first-person shooter video game based on the popular Aliens movie. The game was under development by Gearbox Software since 2006, and subject to repeated delays with the initial release date having been early in 2010. After seven years in development, it was finally released on February 12th 2013 for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.
The following weapons appear in the video game Aliens: Colonial Marines:
Aliens: Colonial Marines uses an unusual system whereby the player character can carry every weapon they have and assign them to four quick-selection slots; two for main weapons, one for a pistol, and one for a grenade or mine. Basic weapons are unlocked using an experience point system, while special "Legendary Weapons", based on weapons used by characters in the film and having special attributes, can be found in the game world (and once picked up, they cannot be found again unless if it is a heavy weapon). All pistols in the game have infinite ammo and it can be used while the player is downed. Both primary weapon ammo and secondary alternative fire (underbarrel attachments or specialty shells in the case of the "M37A2") can be refilled by pickups which are either dropped from human enemies or located anywhere in the map, alternative fire weapons come at a fixed ammo supply and are never seen reloading.
Heavy weapons like the Flamethrower and the Smartgun are powerful weapons that can only be found in fixed locations in the game world, as with the Legendary Weapons above. However, heavy weapons cannot be put in the player's inventory, and if the player switches out the weapon for a different one or runs out of ammo, it will be discarded and ammo cannot be refilled.
Experience points can be used to earn accessories that can then be purchased using commendations (unlock points) gained by levelling up and/or completing in-game challenges. These accessories include various scopes, optics, firemodes, alternative ammunition, paint schemes and underbarrel accessories. Legendary Weapons, heavy weapons and weapons that are available as DLC, however, cannot be modified.
In the "Stasis Interrupted" campaign DLC, the player can only use the weapons that are restricted by the current level, regardless if the weapon is unlocked or not. Both Legendary Weapons and DLC weapons are not available in these levels.
A slightly modernized M1911A1 with an undermounted accessory rail is the default marine sidearm, and is available from the start from the start of the game. It is referred in-game to as the "Armat M4A3 Service Pistol", an iteration of the "M4" pistol that originally appeared in Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual. It is manufactured by the fictional "Armat Battlefield Systems", as with most of the weapons in the game. Although the slide markings actually refers to it as "COLT AUTOMATIC CALIBUR 45" and concept arts refer to it as "Colt 1911 .45". It is chambered in 9mm, unlike the original M1911 where it was based upon, which accordingly holds 12 rounds in the magazine instead of seven. A legendary version of the M1911A1 with pearl grips and darker frame appears as "Vasquez's Pistol", this is incorrect as she uses a modified Smith & Wesson 39 in the film. W-Y light mercenaries keep a M4A3 or a variation of the M1911 on their holsters, and they're never used.
It can use a number of different attachments, including a suppressor (which somehow increases accuracy), a laser sight and high velocity rounds (which increase damage at the expense of rate of fire and more recoil).
Heckler & Koch VP70
The Heckler & Koch VP70, specifically the original 1970 VP70 variant, appears in the game as the sole unlockable sidearm outside of legendary variants. It is known in-game as the "W-Y 88 Mod 4 Combat Pistol" (alternatively spelled "88 MOD4"), though slide markings refer to it as the "MK 88 Mod 4". It is modified with olive grips and an unusable undermounted accessory rail, with the trigger guard shortened to accommodate this. In contrast with the "M4A3" above, the 88 Mod 4 fires faster (despite the infamously long trigger pull compared to the M1911 series), has higher capacity (18 rounds) and has lighter recoil, but deals lower damage despite sharing the same caliber; the latter is, amusingly enough, correct - to allow its simple blowback mechanism to safely function with 9x19mm ammunition (without using an obnoxiously heavy slide or recoil spring), the VP70 has rifling cut deep enough to allow gas to blow past the bullet, lowering its muzzle velocity by a fairly substantial margin.
It can be fitted with a red dot sight (with a sight mount), an extended magazine (that holds 27 rounds) and it can be converted to full automatic through "heavily [modifying the] firing mechanism" of the pistol. The VP70 is the standard sidearm of most of the W-Y mercenaries in the game (despite having the aforementioned M1911 in their holsters).
"Gorman's Pistol", a legendary variant of the 88 Mod 4 pistol that appears in the game, has darker frame and uses black grips instead of the olive grips that was originally used by the pistol. However, Gorman's actual pistol in the film lacks the accessory rail that is present in the game.
Short barreled Side by Side Shotgun (Sawed Off)
A sawed-off side by side shotgun appears under the generic "Sawed-off Shotgun" moniker, the only weapon without a manufacturer stated in-game. It is fitted with an unusable accessory rail that is attached to the left side of the weapon and markings of the weapon on both sides of the weapon refer as "HUDSON COMBAT SHOTGUN 12GA BLANK", but it is obscured from the player's perspective because of the accessory rail blocking it. Unlike most modern video game double barreled shotguns, this weapon fires both barrels at the same time, which can perform devastating damage when all shots connect. The weapon must be reloaded every shot, as a result of this.
Originally exclusive to the Extermination Edition pre-order of the game, the sawed-off shotgun appears as a DLC weapon that is instantly unlocked when obtaining. It is referred to as a "flushgun" in the game's files.
Ithaca 37 "Stakeout"
The Ithaca 37 "Stakeout" is featured as the "Armat M37A2 Pump Shotgun", one of the three (excluding its legendary variant) shotguns offered in the game. It is the default secondary longarm weapon at the beginning of every player. It appears to be modified with a parkerized finish with a synthetic pump and a custom pistol grip which allows it to fit a stock (though no stocks cannot be attached for this weapon in the game). As with most of the weapons in the game, it is fitted with a side accessory rail, which can attach a laser module. It incorrectly holds 8 shells in the magazine tube, as the model features a 4-round tube as standard. It is the close-quarters weapon of the W-Y PMC soldiers as well as HAZMAT personnel, they do not fire the M37's specialty explosive or flechette shells.
Another variant, "Hicks' Shotgun", appears as a Legendary Weapon in the game. This shotgun is themed after the modified Ithaca 37 that Hicks used in the film, featuring the taped MP40 grip and wooden pump handle. Unlike the film however, it is marked with "NO FATE" painted on top of the receiver, a reference to Michael Biehn's other famous role as Kyle Reese in Terminator and it has acid burn marks on the muzzle, a reference to it's final use in Aliens. It holds 6 rounds in the magazine tube in the game, which is still incorrect.
The M37A2 can be attached with enhanced lightweight iron sights, a barrel choke and a "custom loading port" for faster reloading (without alterations of the weapon model). Anti-personnel "expanding shots" can be used in place of standard buckshot, at the cost of fire rate. It is also the only weapon that can use alternative firemodes without the use of an underbarrel attachment; it can fire timed explosive shells or flechette darts; firing either of them do not deplete the main weapon's ammunition.
Benelli M4 Super 90
The "W-Y MK221 Tactical Shotgun" appears, resembling a Benelli M4 Super 90 (which is previously referred as in concept arts), as one of the few weapons that does not appear in the film. Compared to the real weapon, it features a vented fore with attachment rails in both sides of the weapon, both Picatinny rail and iron sight of the weapon have been replaced with a futuristic rail and sight that act as one system, and the ejection port as well as the charging handle flipped to the left side in the player's view instead of the more correct right side. By default, it is not fitted with its telescopic stock, although it is available as an optional attachment. It deals slightly lower damage than the "M37A2" above, but what it makes up is its faster semi-automatic fire or even fully automatic fire through the use of a "motorized cycling system". W-Y heavily armored soldiers carry this weapon on occasion in Bug Hunt mode.
As with most of the level-unlocked weapons in the game, it can be fitted with a red dot sight, a laser module as well as a conversion system to use box magazines instead of its tube magazines for even faster reloading. The MK221 is fitted with an underslung launcher by default, which fires electrically charged slugs, acting as an oversized stun gun, though it can be switched out to fire 15mm fragmentation rounds or amusingly enough, can be switched out with an underbarrel shotgun which can fire incendiary rounds.
The appearance is the MK221 in the game is likely a reference to the modified Benelli M3T Super 90 shotguns that were used in the 2012 Prometheus film. Given that Gearbox was invited to read the Prometheus script while it was in development and the handful of references/connections of the film appear in the final game, it may not be a coincidence that it was selected specifically for the game.
The "Armat M39 Submachine Gun" appears as one the usable player weapons. It does not appear to be based on any real life weapon, although it does somewhat resemble the prototype TDI Vector which may have served as an inspiration for the design. As with all of the rifles featured in the game, it features an ammunition counter based on the M41A series, and features a fore inspired by the M41A grenade launcher or other submachine gun designs such as the Walther MPL. When reloading, the player does not manipulate the reciprocating charging handle. Pre-release and concept material originally refer the weapon as the "M3A", though it was renamed to "M39" in the final release.
The M39's ammunition is not stated in game. The weapon markings on the side of the weapon refer as "ARMAT M3A 9mm", which implies that the weapon fires 9x19mm Parabellum ammunition. However, firing the weapon will not spew out any casings, but a tinkling sound can be heard after the weapon has fired, which may be a bug that was not fixed in the final release. Further supporting this, ammunition obtained for the M39 are spare pistol magazines used by the "M4A3" and the "88 Mod 4" above, both using 9mm rounds (though oddly enough, since all sidearms have infinite reserve ammo, this negates the need to find such ammunition in the first place). The M39's default magazine holds 48 rounds, which appears to be too small to hold all of the rounds as it can fit 12 rounds at best (assuming the gun fires 9x19mm and uses double-stacked magazines), upgrading the magazine size to 78 rounds lengthens the magazine, but appears that it still cannot fit all of them.
Other than the higher capacity magazine, the M39 can be fitted with a red dot sight and a laser module mounted under the fore. Its skeletal stock can be replaced with an adjustable stock and its internal mechanism can be modified through the use of a "motorized ammo feed mechanism", which allows the weapon to achieve higher rates of fire.
M41A Pulse Rifle
While the game's main rifle is the M41A MK2 mentioned below, the two Legendary Weapons featured in the game are both modeled after the original M41A Pulse Rifle instead. Both of which has different aspects compared to the main pulse rifle and each other. Originally, the M41A Pulse Rifle was the default rifle for the marines in the game as shown in various pre-release media. That has been replaced by the M41A MK2.
The first legendary variant is "Hudson's Pulse Rifle", which is a customized M41A with tally marks and a skull and crossbones design (a reference to his armor decals) painted on the frame of the rifle with "HUDSON" stenciled in it, though Hudson's actual rifle in the film is the same as every marine using it which is purely unmodified. The in-game weapon fires in four-round bursts along with a 95 round capacity, it is less stable as a burst weapon compared to the "NSG 23" below, but it offers more firepower. The in-game weapon features iron sights as with the M41A MK2, while in the film and the various media before it, the rifle does not have iron sights (although it is for gameplay reasons, to provide an iron sight for aiming down as the weapon originally lacks one). It offers the same high-explosive grenade launcher as with its counterpart below. Game mods (such as the popular ACM Overhaul mod) can remove the personal markings and restore its full-auto function to make it a classic pulse rifle as with the games and films before.
The other legendary variant that is also available as DLC is "Ripley's Pulse Rifle" (alternatively known as "Ripley's Flamethrower"), which is the pulse rifle taped with a M240 Flamethrower and a personal locator which was famously used by Ripley in the climax of the film. Both of the weapons are flipped in-game, as the pulse rifle is on the left side while the flamethrower is on the right, whereas in the film it is the other way around. Here, the pulse rifle is fully automatic, but it suffers harsh recoil and it restricts the player from using iron sights as the locator is blocking the way. Instead, attempting to aim down weapon sights will result in the flamethrower being fired, a trait unique only to this weapon. Both variants of the pulse rifle in-game have the ammunition counter display on both sides of the weapon, though the real rifle only has the counter on the right side (once again, for gameplay reasons, to ensure the rifle's ammunition is displayed for the player especially on the hardest difficulty where there is no HUD). This pulse rifle variant was originally obtained by pre-ordering collector's edition of the game, although it has since then released as a free DLC.
Standard M41As can be found throughout the levels that take place on the USS Sulaco, though these variants are not obtainable. All variants of the M41A seen in game are painted in a more familiar olive green instead brown as it was originally painted for the film. All launchers in the game that do not fire shotgun shells or flames use the M41A's grenade launcher by default, although this is not the case for the M41A MK2 below.
M41A Mark 2 Pulse Rifle
In lieu of the M41A Pulse Rifle above, the upgraded version of the original weapon, the "Armat M41A Pulse Rifle MK2", appears as the primary automatic weapon of the Colonial Marines and it is the starting longarm weapon of every player character that begins in the game. The M1A1 Thompson's grip has been replaced by a more ergonomic rubber-like grip and the top receiver has been modified, as the charging handle is flipped to the left, moved further to the front and also modified. Compared to the original rifle, it is smaller in basic profile, has an enclosed trigger for its underbarrel weapon and overall it is a more futuristic look than its predecessor. The magazine capacity is also changed from its predecessor, as it is downgraded to 40 rounds from the 99 rounds it originally has, it can be upgraded to 60 rounds using the high capacity magazine upgrade. The decrease in magazine size is not explained in game (apart from "significantly increased stopping power", despite using the same 10x24mm rounds), although it is likely for balance purposes.
As with most of the weapons, the M41A MK2 can further be customized and upgraded, this includes the aforementioned high capacity magazine, sound suppressor, laser module (attached to the side rail of the weapon) and a reflex sight. Like the M39, its internals can be modified with a "motorized ammo feed mechanism", which increases fire rate. Modifying the weapon with the aforementioned modification will change its firing sound, this change also applies to the M39 above, albeit more subtle. Having both a "magazine accelerator" and a sound suppressor attached will cancel out the "magazine accelerator"'s firing sound, however.
Unique to the M41A MK2 when it comes to underbarrel attachments, both the grenade launcher and the shotgun do not have standalone triggers, as the gun unit itself already provides a secondary trigger for such attachments. In addition to this, the pump-action grenade launcher component specifically for the M41A MK2 has been redesigned, with a tinted pump grip and shorter profile. By default, the grenade launcher uses the 30mm M40 HE grenades, though it can be swapped out to a "firebomb" (incendiary grenade) launcher or a shotgun. Both the HE grenade and the firebomb are usable standalone hand grenades in the game, and they do not share ammunition from their launchers.
Designated as the "W-Y NSG 23 Assault Rifle" (with "NSG" standing for "NeuSturmgewehr", "New Storm Rifle"), this fictional weapon serves as the burst-firing, heavy hitting assault rifle in the game. It does not appear to be based out of any real life weapon, as the design is fictional. It features an LED round counter as with most of the firearms in the game, an unusable selector switch (which appears to be stuck in burst mode), left side charging handle, carrying handle, and a muzzle device (likely a muzzle brake) attached by default. The NSG23's close-quarters combat performance is hampered by its three-round burst, but it is more ammo conservative and more accurate compared to the M41A and its variants. It is chambered in 7.62mm and holds 30 rounds (once again, the magazine seems to be too small to hold this many rounds), likely a caseless variant since there are no empty casings as the weapon fires. This results in the rifle having more stopping power than a M41A, but having higher recoil as a consequence of this. It is the main primary weapon of the W-Y light mercenaries along with the "M39" and the "M37A2", though the version they use do not have an underbarrel weapon.
Attachments for the NSG23 include a reflex sight or a telescopic combat sight, a sound suppressor (referred specifically as a "firearm muffler"), a 12 gauge underslung shotgun or a grenade launcher which fires 15mm fragmentation rounds. The rifle also comes with an unique underbarrel flamethrower unit as its default underslung attachment. An "aftermarket" burst fire modification is also available to the NSG23, which converts the rifle to fire in five-round bursts instead of three.
As with the "MK221", the NSG23's appearance is likely a reference to the Weyland Corp "Storm Rifle", a rifle that was presented in the Weyland Industries marketing website for Prometheus, which seems to be a major design influence from the M41A above. This suggests that the NSG23 is a successor to the "Storm Rifle". The Alien: The Roleplaying Game - Colonial Marines Operations Manual which was released 8 years after the game's launch, officially confirms the the relationship between the two firearms.
The "Armat M4RA Battle Rifle" appears, which functions as the game's sole ballistic marksman rifle. Given the close quarters most of the game takes place in, it is only useful against Xenomorph spitters or human enemies at distance, since the majority of the game's enemies prefer close-quarters combat. While the M4RA is not based on any real life weapon, its design inspiration is loosely based on the "M42A Scope Rifle" from Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual (in which it is based on the Walther WA 2000); featuring a bullpup design, unusable bipod and barrel vents. In addition to this, while not directly stated in game, the weapon is chambered in M252 High Explosive Armor Piercing ammunition with a 15 round magazine; the same rounds as the aforementioned "M42A". This can be seen in the markings below the ejection port of the weapon: "ARMAT M4RA" with "10mm M252 HEAP" below.
The M4RA can be customized with a variety of scopes: a 2x magnification combat scope (by default), a 2x-4x variable scope or a "smart targeting" scope which highlights all targets in the scope's field of view. Barrel attachments include either a barrel extension or a sound suppressor (which oddly does not increase accuracy compared to other suppressors, only decreasing damage). Standard ammunition can also be swapped with high velocity rounds. The M4RA is also fitted with a underslung shotgun by default (to accomidate the short-range handicap), though it can be switched out for the M41A's underbarrel launcher, firing either explosive grenades or proximity mines.
A explosive dart rifle available as DLC appears in the game as the "Armat P9 Sonic Harpoon Artillery Remote Projectile Rifle" or "SHARP Rifle" for short. Its appearance is loosely an oversized M41A Pulse Rifle, but without its carrying handle or its grenade launcher (being replaced by a fore which the player can hold). Although the rifle is fitted with attachment rails on the top of the weapon, no optics can be applied due to its status as a DLC weapon. The weapon's appearance is a reference to Hudson's boasting dialogue in the film, "sharp sticks", which refer to its ammunition it fires.
In-game, it functions akin to a proximity mine launcher, as the weapon fires timed-delayed sticky darts which explodes after a short amount of time when hit on a surface or explodes instantly when stuck to a target. It holds 10 darts inside the magazine, and unlike the "M5 RPG" below, it can be reloaded with plenty of reserve ammunition to spare.
Another fictional prototype DLC weapon appears, the "Armat XM99A Phased Plasma Pulse Rifle", another reference to Hudson's dialogue in the film along with the "SHARP Rifle". Other than the M41A grip (which was based on the M1A1 Thompson), it shares no real life or in-game weapon counterparts. It is fitted with a 2x combat optic by default, the same optic that has been used for the "NSG23" and "M4RA". Its firing function is unique compared to other weapons, as the weapon must be briefly charged in order to fire. When fired, it fires a blue-purple plasma beam that can cause devastating damage to the target. Reloading its 4-shot capacity magazine involves swapping out what seems to be a cell or charged energy magazine in front of the firearm and replacing it with a new one.
"Phased plasma pulse rifles" as a whole is also a reference to the gunshop scene in The Terminator.
The fictional M56 Smartgun (sometimes spelled as "Smart Gun" in game, though correctly it uses a single word) appears as a heavy weapon that appears on occasion on select locations of the game's levels. A 10x28mm heavy machine gun with auto-tracking capabilities, which can lock onto enemy targets within the player character's sight, both alien and human alike. Unlike the Aliens vs. Predator series of games, there is no "manual aiming" mode for the weapon, as it is stuck to tracking mode. It carries 600 rounds in the magazine in singleplayer and Bug Hunt (Coop PvE survival gamemode), while 150 rounds in other multiplayer modes, both of which are incorrect (though the latter can technically be achieved by downloading to 150 rounds) as the real Smartgun can only carry 500. As with other heavy weapons, the Smartgun cannot be reloaded; and if switched out to another weapon or runs out of ammo, it will be discarded. It is one of the few weapons that can gib enemies outright, even humans.
"Vasquez's Smartgun" makes an appearance as a Legendary Weapon, which functions similarly performance-wise to its original form (even its incorrect large 600 round magazine). As with the original weapon in the film, her Smartgun bears the "Adios" marking on the side, but unlike the film, it also has Vasquez's bandanna wrapped on the forward hand grip.
In addition to the above Smartgun, the M240 Flamethrower (sometimes known as the M240 Incinerator Unit) appears as a heavy weapon, though it is slightly rarer than the Smartgun. While devastating against xenomorphs in short range (provided that the flames torches the alien little longer than one would expect from a flamethrower in a modern video game), it is less useful against human enemies at longer ranges. It can hold at least 28 seconds worth of napalm (provided the player fires the weapon without stopping) before running dry. While firing the weapon, the looking sensitivity will be decreased (likely to balance its powerful short-ranged capabilities). Unlike the other two heavy weapons, the player character is allowed to use their motion tracker. There is no self-damage when firing the flamethrower up close.
The last Legendary Weapon found in the game (barring "Ripley's Pulse Rifle" as it is DLC), "Frost's Flamethrower" can be obtained. This specific variant of the flamethrower has the marking "FROSTBITE" on the side of the weapon, but otherwise performs similarly to the normal flamethrower in-game. Frost's actual M240 used in the film does not have the distinguishable markings. In addition to this, the aforementioned "Ripley's Pulse Rifle" has a normal M240 Flamethrower taped with the pulse rifle and it can be used.
The fictional Colonial Marines standard rocket launcher, the "M5 RPG" appears in the title. It originally appeared in the Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual, the sole rocket launcher of the game and the rarest heavy weapon obtainable in the singleplayer campaign. Being the sole standalone explosive launcher in the game (barring the "SHARP Rifle"), it can deal huge damage to multiple enemies in its explosive radius. However, it has the shortest usage lifespan of every heavy weapon, only containing 3 (plus 1 already ready to fire, totalling 4) rockets in the magazine on the back which encourages the user to conserve their rockets against heavy targets or a group of enemies. Oddly enough, 'reloading' the rocket launcher (as it has one rocket in use) automagically refills one rocket without animation, only a slight cooldown. It is pre-fitted with a scope for longer ranges.
The weapon design that appears in-game heavily deviates what was depicted in the Technical Manual, as the latter appearance there depicts a single shot rocket launcher akin to a M1/M9 Bazooka. It was likely redesigned to fit better with the modern appearance of other weapons in the game, with the addition a rocket magazine instead of being single shot, likely to better fit the game's overall pace.
UA571-C Remote Automated Sentry System
As with most weapons featured in the film, the "UA571-C" sentry gun (from the extended edition of the film) appears in the game. It exclusively appears in tripod form, and it can be carried around to reposition it. While not a heavy "weapon" on its own right, it shares some of the characteristics of it (must be discarded to use other weapons, it cannot be used with the motion tracker, and so forth). Once deployed (which takes some time to do and must remain stationary), it can fire both enemy aliens and W-Y mercenaries with 500 rounds in the Maxim MG08/15-constructed ammo drum.
In the singleplayer campaign, it cannot be disabled through enemy attacks. But in multiplayer and Bug Hunt however, it is vulnerable outside of its tracking arc, in which it can be temporarily disabled. Player-controlled marines in Bug Hunt can repair and refill ammo for the sentry gun to restore it back into operation condition (due to a bug however, refilling/reparing the gun will auto-fire 1 round, causing the weapon to always refill to 499 rounds).
W-Y Remote Sentry Turret
Various tripod sentry guns (which are not designated in the game, only referred as a "remote sentry turret") set up by Weyland-Yutani appear in the game, and appear only in singleplayer modes. It is entirely invulnerable to the player's attacks, but by sneaking behind it, the player character can easily disable the immobile turret. These turrets are the inversion of the USCM "UA571-C" sentries in the game, as they attack marine, civilian ("Stasis Interrupted" DLC only) and alien alike. These turrets cannot be controlled nor placed by the player, the interaction being disabling it.
The M18A1 Claymore appears as the last unlockable tactical weapon, appearing as the fictional upgraded "Armat M20 Claymore Mine". As with almost every Claymore mine depicted in video game media, it is triggered through quad-laser proximity detonators (which can detonate when an alien or a W-Y mercenary reaches its arc) or gunfire instead of its command detonation clacker. And it also falls under the pitfall of being completely harmless when detonated while standing behind it, unlike the real M18 mine.