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Platform

GameCube

 

Genre

Side-scrolling Action

 

Publisher

O3 Entertainment

 

Developer

The Behemoth

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q4 2004

 

 

- Great presentation

- Wicked soundtrack

- Loads of mini-games

- Multiplayer action

- Intense twitch play

 

 

- Sudden death happens a lot

- Lifts a lot from other titles in the genre

 

 

Review: Ikaruga (GC)

Review: Viewtiful Joe (GC)

Review: Metroid Prime 2 - Echoes (GC)

 

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Alien Hominid

Score: 8.4 / 10

 

Alien Hominid was just joy-riding in his ship through Earth’s atmosphere when the FBI blasted him (or it) out of the sky.  The goals are simple at that point: survive, find your ship, and get off Earth.

 

alien hominid review          alien hominid review

 

The setup is a simple one and matches the side-scrolling plots of yesteryear, including more up-to-date sidescrollers like Viewtiful Joe 2 or the Metal Slug series.  Alien Hominid easily matches the frenetic twitch play of the best side-scrolling shoot ‘em ups.  Although Alien Hominid occasionally has use of an energy shield, it’s the traditional “one hit and you’re dead” mechanism that makes for much challenge and allows you to hone your swearing.  Once you understand fully the abilities of Alien Hominid (e.g. burrowing underground for short periods, riding the shoulders of FBI agents then biting their heads off, jacking vehicles, the advantages of two-player, etc.) the action becomes more varied but it’s still high-intensity twitch gameplay (with controls that allow you to keep up).

 

Besides the non-stop action, the aspect that will suck you in is Alien Hominid’s style which seems to combine elements from The Simpsons (bold, solid colors), the old Calvin & Hobbes comic strip (whacked character designs) and a third element that feels familiar but that I haven’t been able to identify.  (Though Alien Hominid lifts aspects of the Metal Slug series, including the slashing sound effect, that’s not the 

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third element.)  It’s great fun to just watch someone else play. The environments are varied and mid-level and end-stage bosses are huge.  Incoming bullets can be completely obscured with the amount of carnage on-screen, but once you get in “the zone” avoiding enemy fire and anticipating enemy movements becomes easier.

 

(Alien Hominid is pretty liberal with extra lives and continues – depending on the selected difficulty setting – so some of the frustration is lessened.)

 

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If you do get tired or frustrated with the main game, Alien Hominid includes a raft of mini-games, some of which can be played with up to four players.  My favorites are Pińata Boss and Neutron Ball, although I’m sure many will get a kick out of the PDA levels.  The PDA levels reminded me of the old Load Runner games, not in the gameplay sense, but the way it looks: a crudely drawn stick man has to overcome challenges.  Replay with the PDA levels seems endless because a level editor is included.

 

alien hominid review          alien hominid review

 

Many props to the sound guy – Alien Hominid has a great soundtrack.  Pumping through a decent set of speakers you’ll have to fight the urge to crank the volume.

 

Considering Alien Hominid’s humble beginnings as a web-based flash game, the game we get here is as good or better than most side-scrolling shoot ‘em ups in recent memory.  It shamelessly lifts elements from other titles in the genre but that doesn’t make it any less original (yeah, that makes sense) or less fun.  For a measly $30US you can own a solid game and a title that’s sure to reach cult status among hardcore gamers.

 

- Omni

(January 3, 2004)

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