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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Adventure

 

Publisher

Ubi Soft

 

Developer

Xilam

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q1 2001

 

 

- Old school adventure game

- Fantastic graphics

- Some oddball humour

- Dead simple interface

- The coolest box this year

- Flex that brain!

 

 

- Old school adventure game

- No clues as to what you should do next

- Not a lot to interact with

- Huge full install

 

 

Review: Escape from Monkey Island (Playstation 2)
Review: Syberia (PC)

Review: Drunna (PC)

 

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Stupid Invaders

Score: 7.9 / 10

Iím one of those closet adventure gamers that is glad for the chance to escape into a game where logic and creative thinking is emphasized over quick and accurate mousing. Stupid Invaders (SI) gives adventure gamers a chance to flex their minds Ė almost to the breaking point.

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SI puts you in control of five aliens that have crash-landed on Earth. The bounty hunter, Bolok, is hot on their trail, acting under contract to Dr. Sakarin. Your job is to escape Earth. Any adventure game is supposed to have a plot and puzzles. Without the Pís, youíre left with nothing. SI has both but it should still have the power to annoy everyone to varying degrees. Whatís most annoying is that it seems to get under your skin Ė not irritating like a rash, more like an itch that needs to be scratched. You feel you must complete the puzzles.

And there are puzzles all over the place (all instrumental in getting off Earth) but their solutions are obscure at the best of times. The problem is that the characters donít say much outside of the cutscenes. As a result, they donít offer much help or provide any nudges as to what you should be doing next. I found myself often wandering around, trying to figure out what I should be doing. (Itís a reminder of where adventure games were and how far theyíve come.) This is alleviated slightly by the limited number of interactive points in the game. If the cursor changes to the use or look icon, you can be pretty sure that youíll need that item or have to do something to it. There are many things to look at but most of the time it just gives you a close up picture of that item. Whatever alien youíre controlling gives no description or explains its significance in the game Ė itís just there. Then there are some items that are totally out of sight but you need. Case in point (and the most extreme), thereís a can of chili that is essential to progressing in the game. But in a strange bug, the chili cannot be found anywhere. I come to this conclusion after beating my head against the wall for two hours searching for the damn thing, then 

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finally breaking down and looking at a walkthrough. I was looking in the right place and actually doing the right things but the can of chili would not show up. No chili Ė no progress. Frustrating to say the least. However, to remedy the problem I went back to an earlier saved game and was able to get the chili and be on my way.  There are moments that seem to say "You wanted to do that, right?" with control taken out of your hands.

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Then there are all those instant death situations that old-school gamers will be very familiar with. You walk into a room and die horribly, which smacks you with the statement, "No, stupid! Find another way!" If youíre stuck there is always the tried and true method: Click on everything with everything.

The graphics are fantastic! Everything is high-res and filled with colour. The style of the artwork and animation is reminiscent of Ren & Stimpy and Toejam & Earl. The cutscenes are especially well done. Some of the locations make getting turned around easy because the camera angles change so radically. Itís usually a simple matter of reorienting yourself but with a little more planning this could have been avoided altogether. I recommend that if you can afford the harddrive space, do a full installation. Transitions between screens and cutscenes are much quicker if all 4 CDs are loaded, plus you avoid having to switch discs in the middle of gameplay.

On the whole, sound is very good. The tunes arenít overbearing and theyíre enough you can hum along. The voice acting is good. The one-liners are delivered with that certain "zing" that comedy requires. Sometimes the dialogue is not that funny, coming across as merely amusing.

 

The game is fairly funny though. When the dialogue falters the sight gags and situations bring it up a notch. SI requires amoral behavior to complete Ė youíll kill more than a few people, including Santa Ė some of which is fun to watch. Some of the death scenes are an absolute hoot, however, once youíve seen them again and again they lose their edge.

Control is hit and miss. Hitting the spacebar brings up the inventory but I often had to press it twice. Same goes for navigating with the mouse. Sometimes it would take a couple of clicks to get anything to happen. Strangely, this problem isnít present at the menu, save or load screens. Itís slightly annoying but not enough to warrant loathing.

On the whole, I recommend Stupid Invaders, especially for those that longingly remember the days when adventure was king. Itís got enough non-sensical puzzles, sight gags, movie and TV references and outright wackiness to keep you interested.

Itís a fun but difficult game. Just remember the adventure credo: Save early, save often.

- Omni

 

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