Alien Hominid Review - The Next Level

Game Profile

System:
PlayStation 2
Release date:
November 16, 2004
Publisher:
The Behemoth
Developer:
O~3 Entertainment
Players:
1 - 2
Genre:
Shooter
ESRB:
T

Alien Hominid

Welcome to the new age of run 'n gun shooters!

Review by Aaron Drewniak (Email)
January 3rd 2005

Not all levels have you sprinting running from left to right dodging a barrage of gunfire. AH tries to mix up that formula...with mixed success. The highway level where you can perch on top of autos or take to the wheel to smash yourself a clear road through is a high speed thrill, but the vertically scrolling level where the screen moves at the rate of molasses in winter will leave you just wanting it to end. There are two unique levels that put you in the seat of your small spacecraft, charged to bring down all manner of airborne baddies in an Asteroids-like fashion. It's a surprisingly fun diversion from the more gravity-bound stages, though I only wish the view had been zoomed out a bit more to allow more of the action on screen at the same time.

Run 'n gun games are, by their very nature, as short as our lemon-headed hero. They usually overcome this by crafting exciting encounters you'll want to play again and again, especially if you wish to reach the elusive one-credit victory. Unfortunately, the fast pace and sometimes obscured fatalities of Alien Hominid can make that goal almost unobtainable. On the upside, most of the stages are just as interesting to watch as they are to play, which you can select at will once you've cleared them. Though outside of the final boss battle, Area 51 that makes up a third of the game just didn't have the same spark that the initial city and Russia did, so I won't be revisiting it very much, especially the level that's nothing but endless scorpions and patterned buzzards.

Don't feel like slugging through the main game? There's still a number of mini-games to hold your interest. The PDA game is a simple yet fun single screen platformer done in sketch style, complete with a stick figure hero. If you manage to clear the two hundred levels, which thankfully saves your progress every five levels, you can still make your own in the editor, or challenge up to three of your pals. My only minor issue is this is all played on a virtual PDA, so the game itself only takes up half the screen. Most of the other mini-games are two player competitions that reuse the game's flashy engine, sure to be a blast at extra-terrestrial parties. The exception is Missile Master, which is a nuclear-powered Atari-like throwback that's hilarious at first, but a little too simple to hold anyone's interest for long.

The fact that a group of independents could put together a game this far out, get it released on two major consoles, and carried by videogame retailers all over the US is an amazing achievement all on its own, especially in a market that treats 2D like an elderly uncle who's far behind the times. The fact that it's more polished and just plain fun than many of titles that big name publishers have churned out this year is out of this world. So give the flash original a try and see if you're ready for its bigger, better older brother.

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