There is a good deal of weapon variety in Alien Resurrection, but a few basic tactics apply to nearly all of them. First, always reload each weapon used following every battle! Death comes quickly and easily in this game, and a half-empty clip that suddenly needs replacing can prove fatal during a "close encounter"! Second, ammunition is scarce. Become proficient with the pistol and dual pistols, as these are the only weapons that never run dry (although they do require reloading). Third, aim for the head. It will take roughly twice as many body shots to kill a particular enemy than it will head shots. Finally, when entering unexplored territory, the pulse rifle (or laser when playing as Call) is your very best friend, with the shotgun riding a close second. NOTES: On the HARD difficulty setting, you will need to reload weapons manually when they empty their clips; on the easier two settings, the weapons will reload automatically. Also, the word "alien" used below refers specifically to the adult warrior alien (as specified in the game manual), and not to the aliens in general or as a group; see CHARACTERS for detailed descriptions. In addition, some of the information here will be slightly redundant to what is covered under CHARACTERS, so examine both sections for complete information regarding specific weapon and enemy tactics.
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The limited amount of ammunition for the more powerful weapons in the game turns the pistol into a real workhorse by sheer necessity. However, don't let that fact make you sell this gun short. The pistol is quite serviceable for eliminating eggs or facehuggers, as well as for capping marines. The pistol also does well for encounters with single aliens, provided there is enough distance between yourself and the enemy to squeeze off enough head shots for a kill. Believe it or not, it is also possible to kill the queen using the pistol and escape with nary a scratch! (See CHARACTERS for details.) Of course, pistol ammo is the only kind you'll want to expend when opening barrels and non-reinforced crates, destroying electrical panels, euthanizing Ripley clones, or breaking windows. Clips hold 12 bullets.
Everything about the pistol applies to the dual pistols, only doubly so. Although the individual firing rate of each pistol isn't any faster than the solo version, with two guns operating in tandem you can pump a fair number of rounds into the target relatively quickly. That makes this pair much more effective on aliens, and in the longer hallways up to 2 or 3 can be safely taken on at one time. Naturally, less formidable targets also become that much easier to dispatch. Combined capacity is 24 rounds.
Although the shotgun has only a moderate range, it is hands-down the best weapon to be holding when you get ambushed in very tight quarters. The sheer stopping power of a volley of buckshot from this gun is the only thing that will actually knock a charging alien back on its tracks, and if you catch one in mid-air, the shotgun is unique in being the only (non-explosive) weapon that can vaporize an alien with a single shot. (Careful timing can definitely save some ammunition this way.) When dealing with multiple aliens, however, this gun's low shell capacity results in dangerously frequent reloads. The shotgun also does nicely for eggs and facehuggers (when you're too close for pistol work). For human enemies that fire back, though, stick with a longer-range weapon. The shotgun does possess one deadly foible: the apparently random pellet spread (or "pattern" to you real-life scattergunners) is so broad that occasionally the intended target can be completely missed, even at point-blank ranges. If you've tried to crack open a reinforced crate at a scale range of 5 feet and missed, you may actually have reason to blame the shotgun. On livelier targets, the aftermath can prove deadly. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does you might just realize that you weren't the one that did the missing (several times I've had to pump 4 dead-on, point-blank salvos into a warrior before he went down). The "Aim for the head" tip does not seem to apply to this weapon for this reason. NOTE: HiveSeeker recommends against using the shotgun to open the reinforced crates that the pistol won't handle when you have a more potent weapon available, especially if ammo is dropping to critical levels. Why? It's a matter of alien-killing ammo conservation. A single shotgun blast represents a full half of the two volleys required to down this ubiquitous enemy. However, a quick tap on the trigger from the laser, pulse rifle, or electric gun will open up the crate just as effectively and use much less than half the ammunition needed to down an alien. (In other words, for the price of one dead alien you can only open two crates when using the shotgun, but you can open around three or four using the other weapons mentioned.) If you really start running low, this tactic may save you just enough rounds to make it alive to that next ammo cache! Weapon capacity is 4 shells.
If there's a single best all-around weapon in the game at any range, this is it. Although it seems to lack the enemy-stopping "punch" of the pulse rifle, it can kill an alien in half the time. Along the same lines, however, this weapon rips through energy clips at an alarming rate. It is therefore well worth the trouble to experiment with just how long you need to hold down the trigger to kill an alien, but without wasting any ammo. You'll get mauled a few times during the learning process, but your ammo counters will thank you as the game progresses! Clips hold 40 units of ammo.
Thankfully, the pulse rifle is very similar to the excellent laser in combat use and is also a great all-purpose weapon. The limited availability of the laser means that the pulse rifle becomes the real workhorse weapon in Alien Resurrection. Like the laser, the pulse rifle can chew through ammo pretty quickly, although not at quite the same breathtaking rate. Experiment to learn just how much is enough, especially to kill aliens, and you can save a great deal of ammunition. This is your stock weapon for dealing with all the more dangerous enemies; aim for the head to halve your ammo usage. The gun will also fend off hordes of facehuggers when you don't have a flamethrower handy. Do not use this weapon for destroying eggs, as the facehugger will almost always emerge before the egg is destroyed. By the time you "open" the egg and kill the emergent 'hugger, you've wasted more ammunition than you would expend on an full-sized adult alien. A single clip holds 60 rounds.
This weapon can be as annoying as it is effective! The electric gun works by building up an electrical charge while the trigger is held down, and then releasing that charge when you let up on the trigger. A fully charged shot will soak up 18 units of ammo, and this is what you want to use for aliens and the newborn. Unfortunately, in close quarters (or when opening doors) you often won't have time to charge up a full shot before an emerging alien is on top of you. You'll either want to have the shotgun handy in these spots, or replay the level until you can remember which areas to "pre-charge" the electric gun for. Unfortunately, this brings up another major disadvantage of this weapon: hold down the trigger too long, and the gun begins draining ammo. The weapon will charge up while the counter drops from 100 to 82; at this point, the charge drain pauses for about a second (the gun will also begin to crackle audibly as it reaches maximum charge.) This is the time to fire if you want to exert the maximum damage without wasting a spark, and good timing will save a lot of ammunition. Smaller foes are much less troublesome. For destroying eggs, it will take a fully-charged shot followed up with a quick tap on the trigger. However, if you have the working space it is "cheaper" to first cause the facehugger to emerge from the egg, and then eliminate the 'hugger (and empty egg if you wish) with a single quick trigger-tap each. The electric gun does pose two advantages here in that it is somewhat less likely to cause 'huggers to emerge before the egg is destroyed, and "zapped" facehuggers are nearly always actually dead (and not just playing so). The final advantage of this weapon is that this is the only one that will stun or knock down the newborn, although it won't kill it. Energy packs hold 100 rounds.
This weapon's weak performance (it will barely open crates) and extremely limited range (actually shorter than the shotgun's) relegates it to a single role throughout the entire game: facehugger patrol. Don't use this gun for destroying eggs, as the facehugger nearly always emerges before the egg is destroyed. Occasionally you'll manage to scare a lone alien away with the flamethrower, but the beast is just as likely to keep right on coming for you; when this happens, it's almost more likely to kill you than you are to kill it. And the flamer never seems to scare aliens away if they are travelling in numbers (meaning: more than one). For its intended purpose, however, this gun is indispensable. A single tap on the trigger will usually stop dead a facehugger otherwise capable of running through a continuos stream of dual pistol or pulse rifle fire to latch onto your mug (although sometimes not even the flamer will halt it). However, singed 'huggers seem to be simply playing dead almost as often as they actually are dead, so always hit them with a second squirt of napalm (or better yet, pistol fire) just to be sure. Canisters hold 100 units of fuel.
Despite it's undisputed power--in fact, because of it--this weapon is not as useful as one might wish. The splash damage from the explosive grenades is so great that this weapon can be dangerous to the user out to even moderate ranges. The chief uses for this weapon are underwater enemies, clusters of ceiling-hanging aliens, and an occasional lob or two into an egg-infested hole you need to drop into. You might be able to take out a few active aliens in one shot from time to time, but this is quite difficult with uncooperative moving targets. An undisturbed "nest" of the aforementioned ceiling-hangers will provide an opportunity for much more efficient results. Since this is the only weapon besides the rocket launcher that works underwater, you will also occasionally need to use it for the grunt-ly task of opening crates. Lobbed grenades have quite a trajectory, and it definitely takes practice to hit your target, especially if you have to shoot over or under an obstacle en-route to the intended destination. Capacity is 6 grenades.
The rocket launcher is a low-trajectory version of the grenade launcher. It's destructive characteristics are identical to its near-twin's, and just about all the information above applies to this gun as well . . . especially the cautionary notes about close- to medium-range use. The much lower trajectory and faster projectile speed make it easier to hit targets (moving or static), although you still need to exercise care not to inadvertently clip any obstacles that might be encountered en-route. Another difference is entirely subjective and arbitrary . . . this weapon just seems like a lot more fun to use, and I found myself actually disappointed that there weren't more underwater aliens to use it on! Holds 4 rockets.