Review by iceman505
"Metal Slug Meets Invader Zim."
The Metal Slug series is considered by many hardcore gamers to be right up there with Contra. At least the first three are, after Metal Slug 3 the series went downhill. Now we have Alien Hominid, it began as a flash based fan game on New Grounds, and has become a cult hit since coming to consoles. It's extremely close to Metal Slug in game play, but brings a double helping of the humor Metal Slug is known for. It is the Invader Zim vibe this game has, and it's humor that really set it apart.
If you've played Metal Slug then you know what to expect. Your ship crashes on Earth, and the FBI has stolen it. It's up to you to fight your way through mobs of agents to get it back. You start off with a simple blaster, and a handful of grenades. Along the way you pick up other weapons such as laser blasters, flame throwers, and even a freeze beam. The game does a good job of mixing up the game-play to keep the game from getting stale. While most of the game you will be on foot, there are levels that have you flying your spaceship in battle, one where you jump from car to car on a highway, and even one where you are on a jet-ski chasing a train. It is these occasional change-ups that save the game. The environments in the game aren't all that varied, but are all fun. You'll go from a typical US City, to Russian Siberia, and to the desert.
Alien Hominid is notoriously hard, especially on, well, hard. Beginners should be able to plow their through Easy with little difficulty. Medium is a good test for those experienced with the genre, and hard is reserved for those who have mastered these types of games. On Easy you are given seven lives,, and seven continues. Medium gives you five lives, and five continues, and hard five lives, and three continues. On Easy you start each life with a protective shield that can take two hits, the third will kill you. Collecting weapon power-ups will restore it. On Medium you start without said shield, but you gain it when collecting a weapon power-up. It is not present in hard mode however, it's straight up old school, one hit, and you're dead. Thankfully, there's a level select, once you beat a level it's open to you to jump straight into. Your lives, and continues are restored to defaults as well.
Aside from the main game this game offers some entertaining mini-games known as PDA games. As well, as several other game modes that help add a bit of needed variety. A couple of these extra game modes have online co-op, but sadly the main game does not. All in all it delivers a solid experience for $10. As of the writing of this review all major issues that were present in the game when it released have been fixed by an update.
This game started out as a hand drawn Flash game, and the attention to detail really shows. In high-def this game looks especially gorgeous. This is certainly one eye pleasing game that even the most staunch "graphics don't matter" type gamers will have to sit up and take notice of. The game has been completely re-worked for high-def, and supports true widescreen. Sound wise the game is faithful to the original console release, any issues you may have previously heard of have been fixed with the update.
The controls are well done, as long as you've fixed your d-pad. Of all the consoles the 360 controller probably has the best button layout for these types of games. They work really well, and should not give anyone any major issues. Story wise, this game is as basic as it gets. Your alien one day wanders a little too close to Earth and is shot down by the FBI. He then goes on a quest, or better yet, a rampage, to get his ship back. Which will have you facing off against the FBI, and even the KGB.
Overall this game should please any Metal Slug fan, and scores big points with it's humor, and Invader Zim type feel. It has a variety of weapons, and plenty of action to please hardcore Slug fans. It has it's problems, for some people anyways, but those are going to be addressed very soon so it should not detract from the experience. It feels like you are getting a full fledged console title, and not just some XBLA mini-game. They managed to pack a lot of content within that 50 megabyte limit. If there is any other must own XBLA title outside of Geometry Wars, this is it. Fans of Metal Slug should not find themselves disappointed.
Overall 10/10 *not an average*
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 03/12/07, Updated 01/11/08
Game Release: Alien Hominid HD (US, 02/28/07)
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