Where else can you fight the instant pudding monster?
November 9, 2004 - Brief quotes from recognizable media outlets often serve as testimonials and really help drive interest in videogames, so here come the one-liners fit to be printed on any box...
"Alien Hominid is what Neo Contra should have been."
"It's a new Metal Slug with more style."
"I like hominids and Cap 'n Crunch!"
"This game is so much fun, Ed's brain hemorrhaged while we were playing together and now he's stuck in one those poses that are usually reserved for victims of The Joker."
"I used to dream about being a member of the Stargate program. Now I dream of owning a UFO, a tractor beam, and a wood chipper. Thanks, Alien Hominid!"
Well, maybe the last few wouldn't be such good descriptors. The point is, Alien Hominid is a great game worthy of a purchase. Unfortunately for us, it's one of twenty great games worthy of purchase this holiday shopping season. Still, it has its place and it has it for a reason.
This 2004 shopping season brings us our fair share of platformers, action titles, adventures, flight combat games, sports games, and RPGs, but we lack the precious conventional shooters that serve our memories so well. We lack those games that hearken back to an age when reflex ruled and responsiveness was not to be taken for granted (especially where quarters were concerned). Alien Hominid is that game. It's a side and top down shooter with exquisite style, brilliant art, lots of action, slick animations, interesting boss fights, and innovative gameplay mechanics.
Me and Friend Kill You!
For the unfamiliar, Alien Hominid
was originally free and for the browser on your computer. In fact, the prototype was first released on Newgrounds.com
way back in August of 2002 and has since been downloaded approximately six million times. Only now you're going to pay for it and be happy! Don't fret, though, it's not really the same game. Alien Hominid
for consoles features new everything.
Let's talk gameplay. You can walk left and right and you can shoot. Enjoy! There's also a jump, a crouch, crouch-walking, a charge shot, multiple weapon types, and multiple grenade types that are dependent on weapon power-ups. Hominid
also adds a left or right quick roll, the ability to jump on the heads of enemies to direct them around or throw them, and a burrow maneuver that enables the little yellow protagonist to hide from attacks and pull foes into the ground. These new mechanics play out all the time too, particularly in patterned boss fights that boast such outrageous creatures as the destructive metallic bee, a series of over anxious Soviet bears, and an Area 51 robot that's really, really hungry. It makes this expanded shooting experience quite interesting.
The bee fight actually takes place on the tops of cars speeding down the freeway. You have to jump from one exploding car to the next, hit the bee with everything you've got, and then duck into the cars when he lowers his stinger to scrape their roofs. It's a great use of the varying mechanics presented, and it's not the only example. Later on you'll race snowmobiles alongside a speeding train. This involves ducking under and jumping over trackside obstructions while simultaneously contending with the baddies onboard. It's very hectic, but it's just another level for Alien Hominid
All told, Alien Hominid
features about 15 of these insane levels, which means there are roughly 15 boss encounters (all very distinct) and tons of mini-bosses dotted along the way. Even when you're not fighting them, just moving from the beginning of a level to the end is enjoyable.
It's an ultra cute, hilarious kind of action that features some of Itchy and Scratchy's explicit cartoon violence. Your little alien (and a friend's alien if you want to play together), are stranded on Earth and you have to kill things...lots of things. It starts with FBI agents but later moves to Soviets and then eventually other aliens. Throughout the killing you're rolling, burrowing, shooting, lobbing grenades, mounting heads, and slicing people in half. And the whole time you're doing it all, your little guy keeps giving off the funniest expressions (I'm especially fond of his face pressed against the glass of the Area 51 walking tank). This makes driving a tank, a car, or a Russian Yeti pretty amusing. When you consider that it's all backed by some truly challenging, frantic gameplay, you can understand the appeal.