Genre: Side Scrolling Shooter
Platform: PS2 (Also On: GC)
Publisher: O3 Entertainment
Developer: The Behemoth
Release Date: 11/21/04
Newgrounds.com has for years been a forum for no-budget Web-based gaming and animation. This is where Alien Hominid, the debut game from the independent development studio The Behemoth, began its life. Now it has made the crossover to the PlayStation 2 and GameCube. How was the transition?
You play the role of an alien who has crash landed on Earth and must retrieve their precious space ship from the evil FBI whom it seems has a large vendetta against aliens. Helping you along the way is some kid who gives you power ups and a your alien gun along with the alien knife to cut people.
That’s the story, simple and unobtrusive. There are varying modes of play, a few mini-games, but really the meat of the game is the Metal Slug-lite action.
Alien Hominid the PS2 game is just about the same as Alien Hominid the Newgrounds flash game. The visuals fit the tongue in cheek motif and are aptly done in a very cartoonish urbanesque style with requisite attitude. The colors are both bright and drab at the same time. The FBI agents are gray, black, and white while many of the games background characters are dressed in a more pastel color set. The main character is a bright yellow which not only makes him easier to see but also reminds the player that this character is an alien and thus sticks out from the rest of the critters on your screen.
Nothing too spectacular to write home about but not exactly crap either.
One word description of the audio of AH: loud. Alien Hominid is very loud and with the right audio set up you can shake what your momma gave you and your distant cousins. The music is forgettable though and the audioscape of gunfire, death, and destruction eventually becomes a drab backdrop that only serves to alert the rest of your neighborhood that you are, en fact, playing Alien Hominid. There are no really catchy tunes in the game and the characters mainly just yelp. Then again you aren’t buying this game for a symphony.
The PS2 really shows its lack of 2D friendly control options as you are stuck using the stiff and rather unresponsive digital pad to control your little yellow alien friend on the screen… without the benefit of diagonal shooting. The absence of this feature really makes the game much harder than it should be. With only four shooting points (up, down, left, right) positioning your character to be able to kill baddies is needlessly difficult. The end result is often times death by cheap shot because you cannot hit a character easily. While the pattens of the CPU enemy is nothing that will give Kasparov nightmares making up for the lack of proper enemy AI by giving a player handicaps is unforgivable.
Aside from this glaring fault the controls are nothing to write home about. They do their job and occasionally you don’t die thanks to getting caught in a shooting pattern.
AH can be obscenely simple and then suddenly become a deathtrap on par with anything out of Detroit in the last half century. You will die. You will die often. You will die a cheap death. You will be stuck in a position where there is no way to escape death. You will become annoyed. I will continue to write you will sentences even after this review.
The way AH addresses balance issues is not to fix the underlying game play problems, a noble thing if you’re still just making a little flash game. The solution is to give you more lives at the end of each level, attempting an artificial counterweight to the laziness of the creator after getting a distribution contract.
There are sub-bosses that will end up getting you stuck in a spot where there is no conceivable safe zone, but that is okay. You have been given 7 extra lives before this level and will burn through 4 of them in a matter of seconds. Balance by placation is just as bad as balance by omission. I don’t want extra lives easily, I want to be able to use skill to get through tough jams, not attrition (unless it is true troop attrition in which I build 1000 cheap units and send them to their death because I’m sadistic like that).
There is quite a bit of ground to cover with the little mini-games and side scrolling shooter-lite action. You can see who can get the highest score with your mates or try to beat every single level on every single difficulty setting. Just like classic arcade twitch fests there is just enough to make a person pop this game into their PS2 more than once.
Replay Ability: 6/10
Fans of the original flash games, fans of classic 2D side scrolling shooters, and people who like aliens will probably dig this game. Those who think that 3D is the only way to fly, most of humanity, those who hated the original, and X-Files fans probably won’t like this (one of those listed that will not like this is false).
An alien, shooting things with attitude. Is this a middle 1990s cartoon rehash? ATTITUDE. Is this a late 1990s rehash? Alien. Where’s Alf or those V things?
My pal Steve stopped by and we both tried to play this game. The only reason we continued to play this game is so I’d have enough to write a review on this game. This game is not really that addictive. It is more like those daytime soap operas in terms of general addictiveness. Those that like it will probably gorge, those that don’t will probably groan and hope that those that like it come down with serial foot fungus or crotch rot.
I sometimes wonder what I should put in this category. I did like the ability to cut people with a knife but didn’t like being sucker shot because I couldn’t shoot diagonally sometimes. The menus were kind of nice. The cover art wasn’t that bad. The Newgrounds logo is prominently displayed. The disc is shiny. There is nothing really about this game that sticks out for this category.
Replay Ability: 6