Who the hell doesn't love Aliens? If you're one of those people..well, actually I kind of understand. The series as a whole hasn't exactly been stellar, especially if you're younger and didn't start at the start. Let's face it, after Aliens, the sequel to Alien, the series can be described as pretty hit or miss and the AvP movies shouldn't even be mentioned. Blech. Regardless of this, the first two Alien films are absolutely freakin' fantastic and paved the way for many, many copycats in the future. Needless to say, when I had the opportunity to look over the Aliens Colonial Marines Technical Manual, I jumped at the chance. This bad boy is written by Lee Brimmicombe-wood, and is a really cool love letter to the series' marines.
The whole purpose of this manual is simply to add depth and context to everything the Colonial Marines do. You learn just about all there is to know about these guys and this includes how things were founded, the weapons they use (and how they work), their attack strategies, and so on. The book is written from the perspective of the Weyland-Yutani corporation, and it's sometimes fun to read about how foolish and headstrong the company was as represented in the films. Lots of funny in-jokes and subtle humor, if you're looking for it. Another cool thing is that there is more than one perspective offered here, sometimes you'll read the description of a "perfect functioning weapon" and then you'll read what the marine had to offers as comments, saying that the weapon didn't work at all. And it's surprisingly well written, too. I'm a pretty detail-oriented guy (although admittedly, I don't know much about the technical specifications of weapons.
I was undoubtedly impressed by the level of detail in terms of the weapons that were presented in this book. It's really well fleshed out and clearly was painstakingly put together. Have you always wanted to know how fast the Nostromo can go? Well, check this out. Need to know more about the pulse rifle? Oh, you can do that too. How about the different types of grenade ammunition the Marines use? Well, that's all here too (there are 6, by the way..and they all have descriptions). Illustrations range from being large and colorful (lots of cool mock-ups of various infantry suits) to small and sketched out. They're all well done though. There's also a section near the end of the book full of cool transcriptions of some employees you may remember as they discuss the potential Alien threat. These secret memos between company executives are must-reads and pretty impressive. Really cool addition.
I don't know what else I can tell you about this Manual. You might think that it's just another throwaway piece of fanboy fluff, but think again. In fact, that might come as a bit of a warning to those who are simply casual fans of the material. This isn't something that says "Technical Manual" and then interviews Sigourney Weaver. Instead, it plays it straight and delivers what it promises. You'll find out everything you wanted to know about the Marines, their ships, their procedures, their weapons, their enemies and the money-grubbing company that runs the show.
So, if you're looking to really dig into some technical facts (and I mean pages of stuff dedicated to Marine Infantry Tactics), then pick this up. It's super cheap on Amazon, and totally worth the dough as long as you want to get meaty and detailed with stuff. If you want it glossy and shiny, avoid this manual. I really think that if you removed the cover and tossed this manual to someone who didn't know better, they might think it was legit (except for the Alien stuff, of course). This is your chance to immerse yourself in all things USCMC, a great way to find out all you wanted to know and more. For the price, it's well worth the dough.