“ Stupid Invaders is a hilarious 3D adventure starring five rather dim aliens and a supporting cast od 50 fully interactive characters the game follows the adventure of the hapless extra terrestrials as they flee an evil scientist who collects alien rac „
Stupid Invaders really deserves to be held up as a prime example of how good CGI artists can really get within the computer/video game field. It also deserves to be held up as an example to other adventure game developers as to how sound effects, music and voice acting should be done in adventure games. Thirdly, it deserves to be held up to as a prime example of how not to structure the puzzles of adventure games. Two out of three ain't bad? Well, maybe... Let's talk about the basics. Stupid Invaders is based on a French animated series called 'Space Goofs' and Stupid Invaders the game is a return to the point and click days of yore, as championed on the PC by such titles as the Monkey Island series, the Broken Sword pair of games and the various Kings Quest games. In the game, that spans two discs, you will take control of a bunch of aliens who have crash-landed on planet Earth and have just repaired their UFO ready to leave, when the evil Doctor learns of the presence, decides to capture them for his own nefarious purposes and despatches a hitman named Bolok (which doesn't seem to be pronounced as you might think...) to get 'em. Suffice to say the UFO take off doesn't go smoothly. Stupid Invaders is graphically stunning. There are a lot of CGI cutscenes and they are all well done. These days I'm normally jaded by CGI, after all it's not the Dreamcast that's rendering these images so being impressed technologically is like thinking a great movie is purely down to the power of your video recorder, but this is very well done CGI. The backgrounds are pre-rendered Final Fantasy VII style, but look like hand-drawn 40's style cartoons. Animations are not just limited to the characters, but occur in the background as well - upon entering one corridor a great host of cockroaches or similar ran away from the door all over the walls, such a realistic effect that I felt my skin crawl! The so und is excellent too. No weak voice-overs in this game, each voice has it's own personality. The first alien you use sounds like Barney from the Simpsons, and Etno sounds just like British screen actor Michael York (Logans Run, Austin Powers etc.). The music is well done, and gives an unhinged feel to proceedings, but some locations use a very short snippet of music looped over and over. If you find yourself thinking things through for a few minutes, then you will be reaching for the MUTE on the remote before long. Unfortunately the gameplay of Stupid Invaders falls down on two points. Firstly there are far too many death traps scattered around the game. Pull one lever in the submarine and Candy dies (admittedly in an amusing fashion). Pull the other, and guess what? Candy dies in a different fashion. Although amusing deathscenes are part and parcel of cartoons, there is no OOPS or Back one Move to recover. Some adventure games such as Kings Quest VII would show you a grisly death scene and then go back in time to the 'turn' before you undertook the fatal action. Stupid Invaders does nothing of the sort you have to return to a saved game. You therefore find that you are continually saving the game which is disruptive to say the least. The meat and drink of any adventure is of course it's puzzles. The puzzles in Stupid Invaders vary between the illogical and the spoon-fed. At their most obscure, you will be head-scratching even after completing the puzzle, but with the limited numbers of inventory items and on-screen 'hotspots' making the leap towards the kind of lateral thinking required isn't actually that hard once you get into the flow of the game. What is bad is that some of the puzzles almost complete themselves. For example, (SPOILER ALERT!) in one area there is a fishbowl containing a singing fish with a step-ladder next to it, obviously put there to allow the stupid invader t o reach to top of the bowl. To get the fish it has to be swopped with a fish skeleton from a pile of rubbish. In any other game, the player would have to use the ladder, then use the skeleton on the real fish to swop them. In Stupid Invaders though, the player merely has to click on the ladder - the game notices the fish skeleton in the inventory and automatically goes on to solve the rest of the puzzle. I'm sorry but that gives none of the satisfaction of completing a puzzle! (END SPOILER ALERT!) It's a symptom really of the trend in modern adventure gaming towards the simplification of the user interface to the point where the traditional verbs (TAKE, DROP, OPEN etc.) have been abandoned in favour of a universal, one-size-fits-all-puzzles INTERACT control. Stupid Invaders' interface is much less sophisticated than many graphical adventures and far less so than even the oldest text adventures. To be fair, this problem isn't exclusive to this game. So, I don't like it then? Well, no actually I found myself enjoying Stupid Invaders quite a lot. Apart from the puzzles, adventure games rely upon the interest they summon up in their locations, the fun of exploring and of trying little things to see what they do. Stupid Invaders does all of this in spades. The backdrops are stunning - the house the game starts in is very reminiscent of Day of the Tentacle, but later locales show a real streak of imagination - I thought the mould-stained aquarium section of the game was a masterpiece of originality and the Paste Bros. factory is clearly the product a highly deranged (but extremely entertaining) mind. There is plently to do, not just in solving the puzzles but in playing with the environment, such as switching TVs and radios on and off, flipping light switches and eating things. Doesn't sound that interesting in black and white but while in the game it gives the a good illusion of depth and hints that there a re plenty of secrets to uncover. Of course, a lot of playing with the enviroment will kill you repeatedly in diverse and usually funny ways so saving often is highly recommended. If you are a big fan of PC-style adventure games, then buying this is a no-brainer really, as like me you will have been so starved of adventure fare recently that a new one is a breath of fresh air. If you aren't an adventure fan, then the lovely graphics and CGI may tempt you into adventures, but the puzzles don't show the genre at either it's fiendish best or newbie-friendly easiest. However, Sega have recently announced that many new Dreamcast games will be released at the £19.99 mark and Invaders is one of the first to do so. If you think £19.99 is value for three or four evenings gaming entertainment then perhaps you should be tempted.
Ubi Soft brings back the point and click adventure, this time for Dreamcast. Our early review gives you time to save up all those pennies. I like point and click adventure games. Sniff, there I admitted it, are you happy now? They may be simple and randomly interactive, but point and clickers are a nice break from big guns and breakneck speed every now and then. It was with much anticipation that I awaited Stupid Invaders. It grabbed my attention at last year's E3 (after I got past drooling over Grandia II) with it's absurd brand of humor and promise of top-notch animation. Stupid Invaders is a pretty game for certain. The backgrounds are detailed, the character models are superb and the animation is silky smooth. The game features a full hour of integrated cinematics triggered by certain actions or played between scenes to advance the story. As beautiful as the graphics are, they don't hold a candle to the sound. The background music mixes perfectly and never overwhelms. Sound effects are also very authentic to the cartoon canon. Most impressive is the voice work. There are few games on any platform that can hold a candle to Stupid Invaders. The pacing and characterization are near perfection. Speaking of characters, you get to control them all. Etno, Candy, Bud, Stereo and Gorgious all have their own wacky personality. There's no difference in function between the characters, just a new perspective on the jokes. The jokes are hit and miss, but if you're in the right state of mind you can appreciate the sheer "space madness!" of it all. The only real sore spots are the lack of depth and some very illogical puzzle sequences that spit in the face of reason. There is a full day's worth of gaming here, but it's mostly a result of the frustrating puzzles requiring a fair amount of backtracking. Thankfully you can save at any time and the number of saves are limited only by open space on your memory card. Once you've seen the game though you've no reason to go back other than to watch the CG sequences again. More troubling is the frequency with which puzzle solutions seem very forced and arbitrary. A typical sequence goes like this: you enter a room and the only three interactive spots are a mousetrap, a light switch and a position at the bottom of the stairs. If you go up the stairs to leave, a baddie is waiting to shoot you dead. If you turn off the lights, the game won't allow you to walk to the bottom of the stairs despite the text over the area suggesting you can. You must pick up the mouse trap, place it at the foot of the stairs, then make the logic leap that if you turn off the light switch this time it will coax the baddie to come investigate (despite the fact it triggered nothing a second ago) and get caught in the mousetrap, clearing your path. Other sequences require you to fumble in the dark for a hidden switch, tie pantyhose to a chest of drawers (for no reason other than the fact it's required) and make a chicken implode. Imploding chickens? As you can tell, this game is a big departure from sanity. You will either love or hate the gross-out humor and perverse comedy. There are moments where Stupid Invaders even out-Conker's Conker's Bad Fur Day. There's one room I like to call the Crap Factory. What is it? A silo with portals in the walls through which cows have their butts shoved so they can poop constantly (poop is a commodity here). A couple minutes later a man in a bunny suit is propositioning you with an exposed bum. Okay then... For it's beauty, amazing voice work and sheer absurdity, Stupid Invaders is definitely an above average affair. Some very frustrating and crap-tacular moments hold it down, but this is a fine effort that is worth y of anyone looking for a respectable point and click adventure game. Pros: Amazing graphics and sound. Unique personality. Cons: Illogical puzzles. No replay value whatsoever. In conclusion, this game is bound to go far on all platforms, its humourous strtline will keep you playing for ages! Rating: 8/10