It was pretty good, which is to say, ‘I enjoyed it,’ even though reviewing it this morning I can’t help but think a lot of it is fairly silly/ridiculous…like the premise, or the samurai swordfight, or Adrian “Action Hero” Brody accomplishing something the Governator couldn’t do in his prime (namely, taking a predator down in hand-to-hand combat…yeah, right). But Monday night is not a night for heavy mental lifting (hell, professional sports are pretty silly when you think about ‘em, too) so it was fine.
[and by the way…why do I give a silly movie like Predators a pass as “entertainment” and not the recent bullshit Clash of the Titans? Because Predators is its OWN mythology and CotT is NOT. No kid is going to go to class and think the “sorcerer alien tree-people” are part of Greek mythology…or any classic/ancient folklore…after watching Predators, because it is its own story. There are plenty of other things wrong with CotT that I could rant about (again), but I’ll leave it at that]
Anyway, I like the Predator films...all of ‘em. For whatever reason, they just strike the right chord of sci-fi, violence, and action for me…such a simple idea, really. “Alien hunter hunts most dangerous game – man – who shows he can be fairly ingenious when put to the test.” The predator alien I find completely badass (which I imagine is true for a lot of the films’ target demographic, hence the ability of the franchise to make money off suckers like me), and a great example of how CGI is no replacement for some old school FX (rubber costumes, animatronic puppetry, etc.). The thing is so visceral, ya’ know?
I’ve done write-ups for the Predator and/or its weapons in a variety of different RPGs over the years…though notably NOT in B/X (maybe later today…). Generally, the system such an antagonist feels most comfortable in is Palladium, itself a system lent towards over-the-top cheesy action/scifi/violence. In fact, I was struck once again (last night) with how readily the Revised Recon system could be used for a one-off Predator game…if only I could find a way to merge Heroes Unlimited or Rifts with R.R. withOUT losing the simplified, streamlined Recon system. Definitely, Revised Recon has the best (in my opinion) system for any mercenary-themed game, unlike other RPGs with soldier/merc elements (Twilight 2000, Albedo, BattleTech, Rifts Mercenaries, Cyberpunk, ShadowRun, Traveller, etc.).
On the other hand, Predator is much more low scale (or what superhero RPGs call “mean streets” level) than what would use for your average sci-fi RPG. Sure, you can rig up a pretty fair copy of the predator alien for a game like Star Frontiers or Traveller, but it just doesn’t carry the same weight of menace. In a game where PCs have access to high-powered weaponry and spacecraft, a big monster with a cloaking device “ain’t no big thang.” You might as well have a normal human with some commando skills, a stealth suit, and a big-ass knife…THAT would be just as scary/threatening, if not more so, than the standard premise of the films.
As for my space opera RPG? There is no “Predator-esque” monster planned for inclusion. Why not? Because there’s nothing “space opera” about Predator! Sure, there are a few pieces of high technology that function in mysterious (read “unexplained by real world physics/logic”) fashion. And, yes, the alien is a humanoid of the rubber suit variety, which is a staple of much space opera fiction.
However, in space opera there’s generally some communication/interaction with the alien species, and generally as peers or intellectual equals (regardless of whether there is egotism and prejudice/racism between species). At least with regard to the treatment of HUMANS, I can’t think of a space opera film, book, etc. where one sentient life-form considers another sentient life-form nothing more than sport to be hunted. In terms of the space opera genre, the original predator alien would be the equivalent of a serial killer…and as the subsequent sequels have established the predators as a species to have the same predilection/values (i.e. they are all “hunters”)…well, such a species is a little too anti-social to fit into the normal intergalactic society found in space opera.
Do you grok my meaning? There may be hated rivalries in the space opera universe (say, between traldaran slavers and wookies or between vulcans and romulans)…hatreds so intense that these species will attack each other on sight with intent to kill. But stalking and hunting another sentient as if they were deer? Going on “safari” into another species’ city? That type of behavior AS A SPECIES in not acceptable in the “galactic community” of space opera. An planet that tried THAT kind of thing would get exterminated faster than you could say “Alderaan.”
So…no predator. That’s a different game.
Not that the whole “Predator-thing” is particularly conducive to an RPG scenario anyway (most players are not interested in having their PCs hunted down and killed one-by-one, right?). Maybe in a Call of Cthulhu game with a “modern day” setting…think of all the insanity points lost for finding skinned bodies and decapitation trophies!