Stupid Invaders (Dreamcast) review
"OK, cards on the table time. I really enjoyed playing Stupid Invaders. I found it an extremely entertaining game and spent a very pleasant couple of evenings completing it. "
OK, cards on the table time. I really enjoyed playing Stupid Invaders. I found it an extremely entertaining game and spent a very pleasant couple of evenings completing it.
But I also went to make it clear straight off that this game has some serious flaws and is very, very short to boot. It also has a very limited appeal, it will not win over anyone who has never played a point and click game before. For those who are fans of the genre this doesn't measure up to the greatness of the Monkey Island series, Grim Fandango or Broken Sword either.
However, having said all that, I personally found a lot to like in this game and I think if you go into it knowing exactly what to expect you will not be disappointed.
First then to the plus points of the game. Stupid Invaders is a point and clicker which sees you take control of a group of dim aliens who have crashed on earth and need to repair their ship and escape. This is accomplished by taking control of one alien at a time and exploring every inch of your surroundings. Items are collected, combined and then used on other objects to solve puzzles.
This is generally a fairly simple process, there are not many things to interact with, so testing out objects and combinations doesn't take too long. Also there is nothing as difficult and obscure as the infamous ''goat'' puzzle in Broken Sword (thankfully). How much you enjoy this style of gameplay again depends on your feelings towards the genre as a whole. This is not a game of constant action. This is a game that requires lateral thinking and patience - A LOT of patience.
The graphics and sound are excellent. Lush cartoony scenery, humourous and well-animated characters, great voice acting and almost seamlessly integrated cut-scenes. There are a couple of niggles. Sometimes the FMV cut-scenes drop in resolution, giving the impression the PC port of the game was done a little sloppily. Also the loading times as you enter each screen area can become annoying, but not excessively so.
Kudos must also go to Ubisoft for the excellent humour and writing. This game is above all like playing a rather rude cartoon. There are lots of puerile bum, poo and toilet gags as well as slapstick, sarcasm and surrealism. This won't appeal to everyone, but it did to me (mind you I think people falling off chairs are funny). I laughed quite a bit while playing and had a smile on face most of the way through.
So it looks good, sounds great and is funny. So why the low score and dire warnings at the beginning of the review?
Well Stupid Invaders does have one MASSIVE gameplay flaw. You are rarely given any clues on how to solve alot of the puzzles. Combining and using items at random is often the only way to progress. Worse still the game has been designed so that you can only figure out the solution to some puzzles by dying - Game Over - then restarting from your last save.
I'll use an example from the game to illustrate this more clearly. At one point you are surrounded by chickens. Interact with the chickens and your character will say something that causes one to explode. This results in your death - Game Over. So you restart and this time leave the chickens alone.
A little later you are faced with a manhole you need to open. Standing over it is a huge chicken. Your character talks to the chicken and then dives for cover AS IF HE KNEW IT WOULD EXPLODE!
But how could he? We only found out by dying and restarting. It's illogical even within the bizarre logic of this game. Many puzzles can only be solved this way. You die and its frustrating as their were no clues or warnings that a particular action would result in your death. It's this aspect that really brings the game down. Although you can save anytime, anywhere it becomes disruptive having to access the save menu every time you want to touch/use something new.
This is a shame as overall, within the limitations of the genre this game is alot of fun. I defy anyone not to crack a smile at Candy, the male alien who longs for a sex change. One of your tasks is to get him safely away from a creepy man in a pink bunny suit (with the butt cut out!), who calls you ''darling'' and wants to video you doing jumping jacks on his bed - oooer!
It's the engaging characters and humour that save this game from being not worth bothering with. It is a very, VERY short game as well and has a lot of FMV. I finished in just a few hours.
Overall then this is a game that I would recommend you rent rather than buy, have an evenings fun with it then forget about it. For a few hours of off-beat, immature, unpretentious fun you could do alot worse than Stupid Invaders.
Community review by falsehead (March 08, 2004)
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