Alien Hominid Review

Imagine that you’re an alien cruising through the galaxy, minding your own business when all of a sudden KABLAMMO! A U.S. missile hits you. Your spaceship spirals down to the ground, crashing into the hands of some super tough FBI agents who haul it away. These men in black are only interested in two things: your spaceship (which they just jacked) and your life (which they can take away with a single bullet). What a crappy way to start a day. Such is the life of our hero in Alien Hominid.

Because the game is completely hand-drawn and hand-animated with character design by artist Dan Paladin (AKA synj), it’s easy to get attached to your expressive little alien character. You want the little bugger to succeed, so you’ll spend hours slashing, blasting and biting through your enemies in order to attempt to get your spaceship back.

While I do have a special place in my heart for killer Next-Gen FPS games, I’ve been aching for a game that follows the tried and true, old-school linear gaming recipe. Luckily, Alien Hominid filled the void. This game picks up where 2D gaming left off in the mid-nineties, giving the simple, mini-boss-big-boss-advance-to-next-level shooter formula another chance to shine in HD.

Originally released as a web-based game, Alien Hominid was downloaded over ten million times from its original home on Realizing they were on to something big, the Behemoth began development of a full console title. Over the next four years, Alien Hominid was released on four different consoles: GameBoy Advance, PS2, GameCube and most recently the Xbox 360 through the Xbox Live Arcade.

One of the down sides to downloading the XBLA version of Alien Hominid is not having access to an instruction manual. You get a picture showing what your button controls represent and the ever so helpful "How to Play" section which reads: "They’ve got your spaceship and you’ll blow up anything in your path to get it back!" . The rest is up to you to figure out on your own; there is no tutorial section. The only tips you’re going to get will show up during loading screens, so make sure you read them!

The single-player campaign takes you to three locations: the U.S., where you’ll battle the FBI; Moscow, where you’ll battle the KGB; and Area 51, where you’re up against the Green Berets. In total, you have 16 areas to beat. To defend yourself, you’re armed with a gun and limited grenades. As soon as you start exploring the first U.S. area, you’ll run into "The Fat Kid," one of your few dysfunctional friends. The Fat Kid will hook you up with different types of orbs. These orbs come in several colors and each one represents a specialty bullet. The red orb, for example, turns your gun into a torch blaster. A pink one (my personal favorite) gives you a powerful semi-automatic. Each orb can help you win battles, but if you get hit just one time while you’re equipped with one, not only will you die, but you’ll lose your specialty weapon as well as any grenades you may have picked up since the last time you croaked, and you’ll start back at the very beginning of the level you were playing. The whole "starting back at the beginning of the level" thing was killing me in 3-3 — the longest level in the entire game. (The good news is that once you finally beat it, passing the next level is a piece of cake.)

If you get stuck in a battle without a specialty weapon or grenades — and you will — you’ll need to use one of your other defensive strategies. To fight your enemies, you can knife them, pick them up and throw them, bite off their heads, fire downwards to briefly propel yourself off above them, hide underground until you run out of breath, or fire charge shots. Charge shots are one of the most crucial moves in the entire game. To fire a charge shot, hold down the fire button until your little alien dude is surrounded by an electric-charged orb, then let go to blast your opponent with a little extra juice. Just like an alien Mega Man.

As you advance through the campaign, you’ll unlock two other game components: hats and mini-games. The 31 unlockable hats are a fun way to customize the look of your little yellow alien character. From an afro to a red bandanna, the choices can completely change your character’s personality. The 8 mini-games are hit or miss. In one, you use the alien’s PDA to play a game reminiscent of early platform games like Pitfall. This game has 200 levels and is very cool. On the other hand, "All you can eat!" — a mini-game where you repeatedly mash one button as fast as you can without cramping up to try and win an eating contest — isn’t so great.

Other than brief appearances from The Fat Kid, a hungry Yeti, and some blue, bile-spewing, man-eating aliens, you’re on your own in your attempt to get your spaceship back. When things started getting really hairy in the third chapter, I tried out the co-op option to see if it might make things a little easier. It didn’t. Seeing two little yellow aliens on screen can get a little confusing. If you’re going to play co-op, I recommend that both players choose noticeably different hats. Otherwise you’ll have one helluva time trying to figure out who’s who on screen.

If you ignore the missing game guide, my only other minor complaint about the game is the way it displays your number of lives. Basically, you’ve got eight sets of seven lives for each game. What?! Exactly. I never knew how many lives I had before I was going to see the Game Over screen. Because you have to load the level from the beginning and you lose your weapon stash every time you die, I don’t see any need to limit the number of available lives in the first place. In any case, those gripes shouldn’t keep you from checking out the game.

If you have a special place in your heart for 2D side-scrolling action leftover your days with the Mario Bros., or if you’re just looking for a simple shooter filled with some clever content, you should check out Alien Hominid. For just 800 points (U.S. $10), this game is definitely worth buying. A free trial version is also available if you’re a cheapskate.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.