By now, if you've been keeping up with Aliens: Colonial Marines, you've probably come across a certain GIF of an alien waddling through a sewer level. See above. I know, I know. It looks silly, it looks ridiculous.
And I'm here to defend that level.
The GIF doesn't inspire confidence in the game, no. Just the same, that sewer level was actually a highlight of Colonial Marines for me.
Basically, that level requires you go navigate some sewers and to make your way back to your squad. The catch is, it takes away your guns and any means of defense. You're vulnerable, and the aliens are still running about and they can still kill you.
You're supposed to keep quiet as you try to find the exit. The point is to avoid alerting the type of alien you see in the GIF—now, this is the incredibly stupid part. They're blind aliens that are attracted to sound and explode on contact.
OK, let's ignore that for a second—how much sense a Xeno like that makes and whatever. Where the start of the game highlighted tension and anticipation, most of Aliens: Colonial Marines is a mediocre shooter that empowers you too much to truly capture the feel of Alien. You can gun everything down, and most aliens run straight at you.
This level, though? As stupid as it was, I actually felt some fear. That's what happens when you have to stand perfectly still as an alien sniffs the air around you, or when you're trying to find a way out while these walking bombs are grazing by you.
I couldn't shoot my way out of that situation. And I had to look at the aliens eye to eye and not freak out. Which is to say, in that level, I believed the utter threat of the aliens, despite how silly they looked. And even though I'm sure the level could be done better, it was a segment of Aliens I actually enjoyed playing.