home > review > archive > Alien Hominid
GamesFirst! Online since 1995

View Image Gallery || Get Prices

Alien Hominid
review
archive
game: Alien Hominid
four star
posted by: Laurie Taylor
publisher: O3 Entertainment
developer: The Behemoth
ESRB rating: T (Teen)
platform:
keywords:
date posted: 12:00 AM Sun Jan 2nd, 2005
last revision: 12:00 AM Sun Jan 2nd, 2005


Advertise on GamesFirst!


Click to read.

Alien Hominid combines incredibly stylized graphics, a smart back story, and classic side-scrolling action like that of Metal Slug or Contra. For those who haven't played Metal Slug, it's characterized by hordes of enemies, tons of bullets, and intense action at all times. Like it, Alien Hominid's game play is extremely straightforward - run and shoot, with the emphasis on shooting. While this basic play could be boring to those who don't favor endless killing sequences, the graffiti-esque graphics (similar to that of goth comics like Johnny the Homicidal Maniac and Courtney Crumrin, and cartoons like Invader Zim), catchy music, and funny storyline make for an enjoyable game.

For Metal Slug fans, for anyone looking for great 2D action, or for anyone looking for visually exciting graphics, this game is perfect. For those who are less interested in 2D and Metal Slug type games, the game is still worth playing, but it may not be as thrilling.

The game begins with you, as an alien, flying over Earth and getting shot down by the FBI. You then have to fight the FBI, the KGB, other operatives, and various monsters to escape with your spaceship. You'll fight in various areas, all of which are brightly colored and superbly illustrated. In battle, you get to fight with guns, grenades, a sword, and by driving vehicles - including bulldozers, cars, and more - over your enemies. The guns and cars are fairly standard, but your sword chops enemies into clothed chunks of red meat with a cleaved bone in the center. If those aren't fun enough, the alien can also eat enemies, and grenades are also capable of turning enemies into chunks of meat and flesh.

The background features signs and buildings with absurd and funny statements such as, We kill Aliens? and Nothing to see here.? Other signs, like Mommy Day Care,? on a pink building decorated with skulls, help to set the bizarre scene. Buildings, statues, and other objects can sometimes be destroyed to reveal weapon upgrades, or simply for devastation purposes, adding depth to the background. The satiric slant makes each action-packed moment of gameplay an exploration of the imagery and humor.

The imagery also manages to avoid being overly repetitive, even with the side-scrolling format that tends to encourage repeated images and settings. The super cartoony, yet sometimes grotesque monsters and operatives attack from below manhole covers, from helicopters, from cars, and more. Even their attacks are creative; they attack with guns, grenades, robots, and vomit. You'll even die creatively, including being simply shot by an FBI bullet, other times dying on impact with the road after your car explodes, and other times by being frozen and shattering. This sort of imagery isn't the usual fare for videogames because most games are either more cartoony and aimed at a general E? for Everyone sort of rating, or they're more visually elaborate and earn a more mature rating for that visual accuracy. Unlike those, Alien Hominid offers a refreshing combination of iconographic and violent imagery which makes for a satiric and humorous game that appeals to the T? for Teen in all of us.

Alien Hominid allows up to two players to play simultaneously, like Contra. When we played, we thought it was more fun for one person to play and one person to watch in order to concentrate on all of the funny signs and bizarre smaller images. However, for our pure Contra-nostalgia desires, two player was also a great way to go.

In addition to the multiplayer mode, Alien Hominid also offers several minigames for enjoyable, quick play.  One of the minigames focuses on hitting a piņata for points. Another pits two players against each other by having them make goals for their competition, while also being able to kill each other, which is a nice twist on the more common soccer or basketball minigame.  The PDA minigames even include a section where you can use stick figures to design your own little games.  The minigames are nice additions, but they don't add too much to the overall game except in terms of ease and speed. They can be played in quick bursts and they're easier for players who don't have the ridiculous twitch skills required for the full game.

The visuals are more than just appealing though. On our first play of Alien Hominid, we immediately noted how much Alien Hominid looked and played like a Flash game. With a little research we learned that it was in fact a Flash game, made originally by the independent developer The Behemoth for Newgrounds.com. Alien Hominid's incredible popularity online led to its development for the PS2 and GameCube. While Alien Hominid does look and play like a Flash game, it plays like one of the best Flash games available. While Alien Hominid has been recoded for the PS2 and GameCube, at points in our game the load times and movement did seem to catch slightly. While gameplay is extremely clean for the majority of the game, the constant action makes any glitches problematic, and the intensity of the action is probably more than the casual gamer can handle.

Overall, Alien Hominid is an important game for anyone wanting a bit of nostalgic play with relentless 2D side-scrolling action. Even more important than its individual gaming experience is that it shows that independent games can be popular and succeed in a mainstream market. Alien Hominid, like Katamari Damancy, shows that gamers want games that are interesting and innovative. Let's just hope the gaming industry notices.


Click images for larger version

Click for larger. Click for larger. Click for larger. Click for larger. Click for larger.