Alien Hominid (Game Boy Advance) - Review by Andrew
For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past few months, Alien Hominid is the first release from The Behemoth. Staffed by a group of industry veterans, the company was formed when redundancies hit the industry some years ago and rather than sit at home playing video games they decided to produce their own. The result of this was originally a web-based game, which now is out on just about every platform possible, and after this GBA version there's even a PC version. Regular readers will know we've been following this game for some time. Also any development team that puts everything on the line (including their houses) is definitely worthy a gamer's attention. Let's hope the game was worth the wait...
In the old days of shooters things were kept simple and there was little distraction outside of your left to right action. This was, of course, in the days when 2D ruled and the thought of roaming around a fully realised world was a mere pipe dream. That's not to say gamers weren't happy though and this is exactly what Alien Hominid replicates perfectly. The classic left to right, running and jumping shooter. It's a simple case of blasting everything that comes at you. Shoot first; ask questions later, which I'm almost sure is a line from a Hollywood movie. You start out with a standard alien weapon but you can quickly equip yourself with more powerful, and more inventive (ice gun anyone?) armoury as you progress through the levels. You will occasionally be stopped whilst you destroy a tank or two or even blow apart a reinforced gate but these cause little problem especially if you still have some grenades handy.
Slightly more challenging are the incredibly inventive end of level bosses and some of these really have to be seen to be believed. If you've ever encountered a shooter before it's all about discovering your enemies' weak spots and one of our favourite bosses seemed to have none initially. Best described as a huge pile of mud (at least we think it's mud) this creature not only continually throws rocks at you but also pounds you into the ground with his oversized fists. Nothing appears to hurt this being until you discover he doesn't like water so knocking the top of the nearby fire hydrant soon decreases his health. The mini-games are also a blast. They generally take the space battle route but it's the fact that all the high-score are saved which really shows that the developers know what gamers really want from their retro shooter.
This really is arcade simplicity at its best with one button controlling the weapon whilst the other is for jumping. More importantly though the excellent collision detection is always spot-on and never feels unfair.
Highly original is probably the best way to describe the visuals which initially seem more at home in an average notebook doodle than in a computer game of any description. This is all due to Dan Paladin's unique hand drawn visuals. In an age where we appear to have gone polygon mad it's nice to see a developer even attempting something different. The animation also deserves a mention with the main character in particular demonstrating a level of understanding for visual comedy not seen for some time.
The audio in Alien Hominid is nothing short of exceptional with both the sound and music enhancing the on-screen action. Most of this is due to the sheer inventiveness of the weapon sounds. Ever wanted to know what a freezer gun sounds like, for example? It's all here.
Put simply Alien Hominid is about as close as you can get to a perfect handheld shooter both in terms of gameplay and overall challenge. There's absolutely nothing new here either, although swapping the latest computer rendered visuals for these highly stylised hand drawn graphics definitely separates Alien Hominid from the rest of the pack. There are also the rather enjoyable mini-games, which not only add replay value to the whole package but also help to split up the main game. All this apart however, what will keep you coming back is just how satisfying the overall experience is whether it's your first attempt or you're just trying to push up that high score. Recommended for retro enthusiasts and new gamers alike. You won't be disappointed!
Pro: Original Visuals and Animation, Mini-Games, Great Shooting Action.
Con: Maybe Too Difficult For Some Gamers
Final score: 8.5
|Platform:||Game Boy Advance|