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GameCube Review: Alien Hominid

It’s a shame a game like this is now a financial risk. In a perfect world, Alien Hominid would sell millions as a great throwback to the previous generations. Now a 2-D shooter isn’t enough, and Alien Hominid is reserved for the hardcore gamer. That’s not to say this is a perfect game, because it’s not by any means.

Still, a game shouldn’t have to be perfect or controversial to sell. This is your basic 2-D platforming shooter, and the obvious comparisons to Metal Slug are necessary. Both games toss heaps of style on top of simplistic and wildly fun gameplay. Hominid’s biggest problem is the unfairness of it all. Bosses are ridiculously huge, with equally sized weapons, some of which are literally impossible to maneuver around even when you have the pattern down.

Those too frustrated by the difficulty have the option of playing the game with 99 continues, which is more than enough to just see the sights. Those who enjoy playing their games legitimately will be disappointed. Co-op gameplay doesn’t make it any easier. Instead, it crowds the screen with yet another character, and one more thing to make enemy fire harder to see.

When it works though, this is a near classic. The game’s internet Flash roots are apparent, with a barren graphical style and generic enemies. It’s a wonderful case of style over substance, and it’s probably the strongest asset. Gameplay is made to be picked up and played without long tutorials. There’s a variety of ways to mow down the brain dead enemies, which keeps this from becoming a basic game of running and jumping.

There’s gruesomely funny gore whenever an enemy is blasted, giving the little alien creature the player controls a stronger mean streak than without it. A few stages break it all up, including some space shooters that play like a variation of Asteroids. These tend to be confusing, with little idea of where the player is supposed to be going. With a little movement, you can generally find the spot where the game needs you to be.

There’s a surprising soundtrack underneath the brutal, yet funny, action. It’s orchestrated with a Hollywood blockbuster style. It doesn’t seem like it would fit, especially considering the rather archaic graphical package. It does, adding another layer to an impossibly loud title.

Don’t take Alien Hominid’s cover in like it’s for children. It’s a cartoon, sure, just not one you’ll want your family to be playing. It’s one for the target video game demographic, including those who grew up playing Konami classics like Contra. That’s the section of the industry that will find the most to like, and if you need an alternative to Metal Slug, this is the next best thing.

About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can follow Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.