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Alien Hominid Review





Developer: The Behemoth Publisher: O~3 Entertainment
Release Date: November 18, 2004 Also On: GCN and PS2

In a day where realistic graphics and deep gameplay rule the day, it’s nice to see a company release a game that has neither. Alien Hominid is a game that, while deep for what it is, does not need to be deep if the player doesn’t want it to be. A port/remake of a flash game by the same name, most people would probably look at it and think that it is a low-quality game, and games such as Elf Bowling 1 and 2 for the DS would only help such thinking. However, Alien Hominid is a surprisingly entertaining game along the same vein as the Contra series.

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The concept behind Alien Hominid is simple. An alien is passing by Earth in a spaceship, and the FBI shoots him down and steals it. Now he’s trying to get it back, and he’s willing to go through the entire FBI to do it if he has to. This may seem a simple concept, but it’s enough to explain what’s going on, and a game like this doesn’t need a long, complicated backstory.

Graphically, Alien Hominid did get its birth as a flash game, and it shows in the graphics. If I were going to comment on its graphics solely based on what the GCN is capable of, this game would not score very high since its graphics are very sub-par by GCN standards. However, this game wasn’t aiming for GCN standards. The graphical style used in this game is very nice and very creatively done, and certainly is more original than most games in terms of graphical style. Possibly only Viewtiful Joe comes close as a parallel.

The game is a bit cartoony in graphical style, to say the least. This goes for everything: the characters, the backgrounds, and even the explosion effects, which are quite well done in my opinion. As a flash game, this is probably the best they could do, but it is no less appropriate for the GCN version. I should mention, however, that some of the death animations do contain blood, although the gore can be turned off in the options if one so chooses. This all goes to say that, although the graphics aren’t the best from an objective standpoint, their creativity and, to a certain extent, cuteness, more than makes up for that.

In terms of sound, I confess I didn’t pay much attention to the music. The sound effects, most of which consist of guns firing, people dying, or things blowing up, are, once again, not the epitome of realism, but, once again, that doesn’t matter. The things sound like they would sound in a cartoon, and, since the graphical style also suggests cartoon, they sound appropriate in that regard. What few snippets of music I do remember hearing sounded like good compositions, but I was too busy most of the time trying not to get killed to pay too much attention to that. Overall, the sound in this game is done quite well.

In terms of gameplay, if you consider this game a Contra clone, you would be on the right track to a certain extent, but this game has so much more than that. The alien does have a gun that he can fire forward or straight up (no diagonal shooting in this game, as useful as it would have been). He can also fire straight down if he’s in the middle of a jump, but it would be nice if he could fire straight down when standing on a higher ledge also. The loss of diagonal shooting capability from the Contra series will be inconvenient in many places. Other than that, nothing’s different from the Contra series so far. The alien also has a limited supply of bombs each life that do more damage to bosses or other powerful enemies.

But it gets better. Are you tired of shooting FBI agents? You can jump on them and eat their heads off. Or you can jump on one and throw him at others. You can even dig under the ground and pull an FBI agent under with you to kill him. So many options for killing your prey means that you don’t have to just run and shoot all the time. Also present in this game is the option, occasionally, to populate vehicles and run down FBI agents with them. Most vehicles allow you to shoot your gun while you’re in them, and some of them have their own more powerful guns in them that you can use.

For defense, you have more than just movement and jumping to use to dodge enemies and enemy bullets. You can also roll left and right using the L and R buttons. On top of that, most of the time when you pick up a weapon enhancement, you also become shielded from damage for a brief period of time. There are many different weapon enhancements to find, although it would seem that you can lose them, not only by dying, but also by running out of ammo for them. Still, there’s a fairly wide range of them, and they all are helpful.

In terms of difficulty, make no mistake about it. This game is hard. I think this game rates right up there with the Contra series in difficulty, which, in today’s world of relatively easy games, could catch some gamers off guard. Still, the added challenge means that, although the game saves your progress after each area, you can spend extra time going back and trying to clear more levels at a time with one set of lives and continues.

So far as replay value is concerned, beyond what I just said, there are some mini-games that can be played, although they aren’t as engaging as the main game. The main game and at least some of the mini-games can be played multiplayer as well. Overall, this is one of those games where, although it is a simple game, it is not so simple as to be repetitive and boring, but is rather simplistic and entertaining. If you’ve been holding out on getting this game for some reason, and you’re a fan of Contra, hold out no longer. This game is definitely worth what you’re likely to pay for it.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 7.7
Written by Martin Review Guide