GAMECUBE REVIEW: ALIEN HOMINID

Score one for the little guy.

Alien Hominid was developed specifically for the net by The Behemoth several years ago and had enjoyed a relatively, popular cult following since. Upgraded and updated for its debut on the next-gen console, the game is loaded with action, humor, horror and above all, personality.

Doing it old school, Alien Hominid is of the classic side-scrolling variety with tons of enemies, power-ups, difficult bosses and limited lives. It's a really tough game where losing your life…is a fact of life. Fortunately you can continue from the last level as opposed to having to play the game over again. The game is relatively short, if you're really good, but having to replay some of the levels over and over again is certain to add plenty of replay value. There's also a two-player co-op mode that shouldn't be overlooked as well as a four-player mode complete with PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) mini games.

Taking control of an alien, the object of the game is to get your UFO back from the FBI. This will require fighting hundreds of FBI and KGB agents as well as a contingent of monsters and robots. You have various means at your disposal to accomplish your task. Power-ups are available in the form of weapons and shields. You can lob grenades at your enemies or unleash a deadly screen-clearing ball of destruction.

You can also jump on some heads and bite them off, or you can pick them up and throw them at even more enemies. Another tactic you can use is to dig a hole and hide in it until the enemy passes over it and drag him, her or it down. When you can't fight offensively you have to preserve your life at all cost. One hit and you lose a life. Occasionally you will find a shield power-up but at other times when you're vulnerable you will have to dodge projectiles. The shoulder button allows you to perform a roll to the right of left. The screens are very busy with all kinds of characters and details making it difficult to keep track of everything going on. It's also a little difficult to make out some of the bullets and other deadly projectiles coming at you as they can be hard to distinguish against the colorful background.

The developers have done a really good job of making this game interesting. It's very challenging to say the least but it becomes addicting. You'll be saying to yourself, "I know I can do this. Just one more time."

To break up what might otherwise be considered repetitive gameplay there are vehicles available that you can drive. From a standard car to giant earth-movers you can plow through some areas of the levels leaving all kinds of destruction in your wake. In a few levels you will even get back control of your UFO, but it's doubtful you'll be able to hang on to it for long.

Playing through the game in co-op mode isn't much easier but it's way more fun. Not to say that the single-player mode wasn't fun to begin with but it's great to have another person that you can yell at and blame when things go bad, as they often do. More than 200 PDA mini-games are available which can be enjoyed by up to four players. These games make Pong look like Myst but they pack a punch. They may be simple in design and concept but they are as challenging as all hell.

The unique look of the game may be a little too much for some anime fans. It's busy, colorful and unlike anything you've seen before. It's like a bizarre comic strip come to life. Once you get used to it you'll find yourself immersed in the charming and violent atmosphere. There is some slowdown and sputtering of the framerate but you'll get over it. The characters are well rendered. Even though they appear somewhat distorted that's the way they're supposed to look. There's not a lot of voiceacting but the tunes are unique and help to keep the game from feeling empty.

Anyone looking for a challenge is destined to meet his or her match in Alien Hominid. The ability to start over at the last level gives casual gamers a chance at completing the game while increasing the replay value. With the multi-player modes you'll find that you've got a lot of game on your hands.

Preview By Vaughn

For some gamers, 2D is king. If that desribes you, let me tell you about Alien Hominid. It started out as a Flash game, available on Newsgrounds.com and eventually was downloaded about 6 million times. That's like a million, but multiplied by six! The dudes who put it together were approached and asked to port it over to the consoles. And they said yes. Given the popularity of Viewtiful Joe last year, who showed us that 2D gaming can still be king if done right, Alien Hominid has a good chance of survival.

The gameplay looks as frenetically paced as Metal Slug and allows 2 player Contra style action. Think giant bosses, lots of things to blow up, vehicles to use and again, 2 player simultaneous play. Shooter fans are going to be really busy this October.

Alien Hominid's backstory isn't Robert Ludlum material. Our poor yellow alien protagonist was shot down by the FBI while cruising his UFO a little too close to the ground. The FBI (the bad dudes in the game) added insult to injury by confiscating our heroes UFO. Not surprisingly, he wants it back and decides to shoot anything that stands in his way.

Visually the game looks cute, and doesn't shirk it's original designs in favor of something flashier (excuse the pun). How that will translate to gamers used to the eye candy effects of psuedo 2D games like Viewtiful Joe remains to be seen. Personally I think it's financial suicide to release this game in the 4th quarter of 2004, nevermind the same month as Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Alien Hominid is also available on the PS2), but everyone has to learn from their mistakes.

Will the console version of Alien Hominid capture the imaginations of shooter fans? Behemoth is counting on it. Remember, this IS NOT the version you may have downloaded. More animations, levels and other tweaks exist in the console version that were not present in the original. Not sure on a price point for this game, but if it's budget conscious, it could make Behemoth a contender indeed. Look for the game on the GC and PS2 this October.

Features:

  • Completely redesigned from the original PC Flash version
  • 16 levels complete with mini-bosses and main bosses
  • Bosses so huge the camera has to zoom out
  • Trucks, cars, tanks and other offensive vehicles
  • Pilot your UFO in several levels
  • 7 power up weapons including the ability to charge for more destructive power
  • Grenades
  • Defensive moves such as digging into the ground and then pull your enemies under
  • Shoulder buttons allow your character to backflip and roll
  • 2 player simultaneous action at any time during gameplay
  • Hidden easter eggs and mini games
Click For Media
System: GC, PS2
Dev: The Behemoth
Pub: Q3 Entertainment
Release: Oct 2004
Players: 1 - 2
Review by Dean
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4.0
GRAPHICS
4.5
CONTROL
4.0
MUSIC/FX
4.5
VALUE
3.0