The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Alien Hominid Invasion and Alien Hominid HD Review – Beaming light onto the “run and gun” genre

Review copies provided by The Behemoth.

“Alien Hominid Invasion” and “Alien Hominid HD” are frantic, over-the-top “run and gun” action games that keep players on the edge of their seats.

From its gradual difficulty that eases players into the mayhem to the tight controls and colorful art style, “Alien Hominid” keeps fans of the series and its developer, The Behemoth, satisfied.

The surprising return of the beloved series is finally here, amid the 20th anniversary of the original flash game and console version.

“Alien Hominid Invasion” is the newest installment in the series, whose release is accompanied by “Alien Hominid HD.” Originally released for the Xbox 360 Live Arcade in 2007, the latter will now be accessible through the Nintendo Switch, PC and newer Xbox systems.

For those unfamiliar with the series, “Alien Hominid” is the first game from The Behemoth, the studio famous for classics including “Castle Crashers,” “BattleBlock Theater” and “Pit People.” “Alien Hominid” falls in line with the underrated “run and gun” genre of games, being the most similar to games like “Metal Slug,” “Contra” and “Cuphead.”

Alien Hominid HD

“Alien Hominid HD” is about an alien who strolls through space in its spacecraft, until an FBI agent sees it and shoots it down. The FBI immediately covers up the crash site, forgets about the alien and steals the comically-named “Fat Kid’s” ice cream cone in the process. The “Fat Kid” immediately retaliates, giving the alien a power-up to take care of the agents, starting the game.

The gameplay is mostly similar to the aforementioned “Metal Slug,” as the player combats waves of enemies, progresses through a level and loses a life if the player gets hit with one bullet. This is the definition of “running and gunning,” which is also why the genre gains the reputation of its challenging difficulty. However, “Alien Hominid HD” offers plenty of lives, giving the player about 7 credits with 5 lives each.

The player is able to evade attacks by rolling left or right and digging into the ground, easing players into the difficulty by knowing when to crouch under bullets or when to jump over a boss’ attacks.

Alien Hominid HD: Local co-op where players are fighting against the final boss on-foot boss of the “Urban” section. Image courtesy of The Behemoth.

The game has a distinct, early 2000s feeling, with iconic art by Dan Paladin providing a zany, humorous style, contrasted with the blood and gore from killing the FBI agents. The game’s origins as an Adobe Flash sidescroller shine with the expressive animations of the FBI agents and the Alien’s wacky animations bullying Fat Kids, who help with power-ups.

Local co-op with a friend can make the player breeze through levels and excel in fan-favorite minigames. This includes the Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) game, where players progress through simplistic platform levels that keep them wanting to play the hundreds of bite-sized levels.

However, “Alien Hominid HD” features no online functionality, a feature that most users expect in most games these days. This means players cannot team up with friends to play together, limiting it to local co-op. The re-release is unchanged from the Xbox 360 version, originally released 16 years ago.

Any fan of this classic genre should get their hands on this must-play title.

Alien Hominid Invasion

“Alien Hominid Invasion” is a welcome breath of fresh air to the classic genre, providing a new and fast-paced take on the series.

The game takes place 19 years after the events of the original. When the alien from the first game gets shot down by bumbling FBI agents in 2002, their species immediately retaliates and prepares for the invasion of Earth. However, it takes them 19 years to get to Earth which provides a comedic turn, acknowledging the gap between the new game and the original.

It revamps its controls while simultaneously retaining the basic jumping and shooting all so familiar in the genre.

The new aspects are a dive-and-roll button that lets the player evade enemies and bullets, and allows the alien to dig into the ground to briefly move to give the player breathing room. The mechanics of the feature are different from the first game, as the diving is much more intuitive, giving players the edge in battle. Even the floaty controls after shooting toward the ground make the gameplay feel fast-paced and keeps players on their toes.

Constantly dodging projectiles, firing at enemies and completing objectives all add to the new flavor of “Alien Hominid,” keeping pace with games recently released within the genre. The eccentric gameplay is amplified with a four-player co-op where friends can gather, online or locally, to exterminate FBI agents and take over the world.

The weapon variety has been expanded, from alien blasters and laser guns, to shotguns. The wide range of weapons spice up the gameplay, making players want to try out all of them. The new mutation button starts off as a grenade, but now allows for new unlockable mutations such as enabling a deflective shield, adding a fiery dash or calling in an alien ally to help take care of the pesky FBI agents.

Alien Hominid Invasion: Co-op gameplay of players gathering intel and defeating enemies. Image courtesy of The Behemoth.

The game progresses on a world map, whereas the original was just a linear level to level progression. This provides a slight strategy on how to encounter new levels. It is also reminiscent of old-school arcade games like “Rampage,” where players fight enemies on a compact screen with a short time limit to complete objectives. The goals in “Alien Hominid Invasion” include killing waves of enemies, conveying intel to beacons and delivering ice cream cones to “Fat Kids” for power ups.

This gives the right amount of challenge, and while it may be overwhelming at times, tools like the dig and dodging give players ample time to think and react to enemies. Those looking for a harder challenge can play the permadeath mode, seeing how long they can last against the onslaught of the FBI.

Borrowing from “Castle Crashers” is the character progression system, which allows players to customize their alien with new loadouts, including headgear that provides RPG-like enhancements such as 5% higher rate of fire, shorter spread on shotguns, etc. Aiding the aliens are the friendly “Fat Kids” who have an underground society and help out the aliens in any way they can. They can help by providing new weapons, new cosmetic items, and let players buy items in the middle of a mission.

The graphics are a tad bleaker than the original, which falls in line with the enemies who are now bulked up with armor, shadow agents with night vision goggles, and an assortment of robots and drones all out to stop the invasion of Earth.

The art style remains true to the original game, but is greatly improved. Players are able to see all the animations, from enemies entering the screen to when they get destroyed.

The frantic, arcade-like nature is heightened with these gameplay decisions, providing a refreshing sequel to the beloved classic.

“Alien Hominid Invasion” and “Alien Hominid HD” are great experiences for fans of the genre and for those who are looking for wild and unpredictable gameplay.

A very special thanks to The Behemoth for providing review copies for The Daily Sundial.

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