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Playstation 2



Side-scrolling Action



O3 Entertainment



The Behemoth



T (Teen)



Q4 2004



- Pretty darn fun

- Fast action

- Goes beyond mindless blasting

- Interesting art

- Tongue-in-cheek humor



- May be too difficult for some



Review: Alien Hominid (GC)

Review: Ikaruga (GC)



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Alien Hominid

Score: 8.0 / 10


In a gaming landscape where there are polygons, Metal Gear Solid clones, and a dozen instances of a game developer trying way too hard (and ultimately releasing a convoluted piece of trash), it’s nice to have a game that gets down to basics.  Taking a cue from the Metal Slug series, The Behemoth have released a very nice horizontal 2D shooter.  With some very unique art direction, a good sense of humor, and making sure players are spending their time blasting legions of G-Men and their cohorts, gamers can find a title that emphasizes fun far more than many titles out there.


alien hominid preview          alien hominid preview


Right from the little animation sequence prior to the first level of Alien Hominid, it becomes blindingly obvious that this is going to be a fun little romp.  The artwork, as handled by Dan Paladin, is really unique with its cheerful half-scribbled look.  The way the characters have a cute, yet silly, yet “uh-oh, this guy looks like trouble” motif, it melds together in a way that makes it hard not to smile while watching what’s happening on screen.  What also helps is that despite all of the explosions, the piles of FBI corpses piling up, and nutty laser beam special attacks that may sometimes be simultaneously flashing around the screen, the game never slows down.  It just keeps on truckin’, not missing a beat.  





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This just isn’t just nice to look at, it’s also very fun, if a bit hectic.  The action of the game picks up very fast, as the sheer number of enemies attacking increases very quickly.  Players will find themselves flailing away on the shoot button to blast down the waves of incoming enemies.  However, Alien Hominid doesn’t limit itself to nothing but brain dead blasting, as there are some other clever moves at your little yellow alien’s disposal as well, such as being to dig underground, and yanking enemies down with you as they pass 


over head, as well as the option to jump on an enemy’s back, then slash off their head.  These extra attacks are a welcome addition, as they give the game a little more finesse, avoiding being little more than a mindless shoot ‘em up.


Adding to the argument that this is by no means a mindless game, is the high level of difficulty found in Alien Hominid.  This game is far from forgiving, as there are quite a few tricky platformer-esque jumping sequences that have to be traversed while a number of enemies are running at you, usually with guns blazing.  Trying to make the jumps, while dealing with the enemies can definitely be a handful.  Other times, the difficulty simply comes from the sheer number of on-screen enemies attacking, as there can be swarms of them there, coupled with heavy gunfire that will leave players thinking, “Wow, I’ve got a lot of stuff to dodge and shoot at, this is going to be scary.”  But despite the high degree of difficulty in the game, it never feels cheap.  There really aren’t any instances of questionable deaths, as it is easy to see why the death happened, and players have a good idea of what they need to do to try and avoid it in the future.  Better still the way the difficulty of the game is set up, finally passing a tough part feels incredibly rewarding.  Even more so when in two-player mode, when you and a friend can pat each other on the back for a job well done.


alien hominid preview          alien hominid preview


The story is also a rewarding experience, as the tongue-in-cheek humor throughout the game is a very welcome change to the unyielding deluge of “dark, gritty games” saturating the market, where everyone wants to be the next Solid Snake, Master Chief, or dude from GTA.  Basically the game follows the story of a little alien flying around space, who gets shot down when flying too close to the earth, consequently crash-landing on the planet.  When he comes too, he notices that the FBI has stolen his spaceship, and has to go get it now.  From there all manner of silliness ensues with little jokes spread through the backgrounds of levels, and during the cut scenes of Alien Hominid, which keep the tone of the game light.


If you are looking for a game that provides ample opportunity to blast the tar out of legions of enemies, that challenges your fingers dexterity, isn’t afraid to challenge its players, and, most importantly, keep a smile on its players’ faces while all of this is happening, Alien Hominid is well worth buying.  The $30US price tag doesn’t hurt either.


Mr. Nash

(February 14, 2005)

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