Stupid Invaders is an adventure game based on a short-lived animated series called Space Goofs. Five aliens are trapped on Earth, and you must help them escape both our planet and the clutches of the evil Dr. Sakarine, a mad scientist residing in the bowels of a government lab called Area 52.
Bowels play a big part in Stupid Invaders, and the primary goal of the game seems to involve packing its four CD-ROMs with as many jokes relating to body functions as is possible. Almost every room in the game prominently features a toilet. If you don't think jokes about chili and its digestive effects are hilarious, much of Stupid Invaders will undoubtedly seem juvenile to you. On second thought, it will seem juvenile regardless. Whether or not it will be funny to you is another matter.
The game is obviously inspired by LucasArts' adventure games, and it includes the requisite wacky bit parts and locations. None of it is developed to a great extent, so you never feel a real attachment to any of the characters. In a LucasArts game, even the smallest characters are usually memorable. In Stupid Invaders, they'll have a funny line or two at best. Even the alien main characters are a bit flat. Candy, a transgendered alien obsessed with getting a sex change operation, is the most well rounded of the bunch. But even that situation is not fully developed. It's supposed to be funny that he wants to be a woman--and that's it. There are no jokes beyond that, other than the occasional reminder that, yes, he wants to be a woman.
The other aliens are rather flat. Etno is the scientist and seemingly obsessed with enlarged fruit. Stereo has two heads, Gorgious is a snaggletoothed glutton, and Bud is somewhat slow and talks like Tommy Chong. These are all funny concepts, but there's never much to say for them but these one-line descriptions. It's especially strange that you never feel very attached to the characters because much of the game consists of cutscenes. In fact, there are so many noninteractive parts that it's a bit overwhelming at times. Despite its four CDs, the game is quite short.
The cutscenes would be annoying if the game didn't look so good. The graphics are crisp and detailed, and the character and room designs are continually strange and appealing. The 3D engine is great, and it makes the cutscenes and the interactive sequences almost identical in visual quality. The developer of Stupid Invaders, Xilam, was also the animator of the TV series--so the visual quality is no surprise. The sounds in the game are also excellent. The voices are of uniformly high quality, which adds some humor that is lacking in the writing. The music is good as well. It adds to the cartoon atmosphere, though the repetition in the soundtrack becomes noticeable at times.
The shortness of the game is partly due to the low number of puzzles. The puzzles that are in the game are relatively easy, though a few will require you to perform some arbitrary action in order to trigger an important event. Fortunately, most of the puzzles are pretty fun, even if they are easy. So what makes the game difficult isn't the puzzles, but the seemingly limitless opportunity for death that awaits you. Performing even the most innocuous action (such as pushing an elevator button) can often be lethal, so saving often is very important.
More lethal, however, are the bugs and other technical shortcomings that can ruin the game for you. Most notably, we encountered a persistent problem that caused the game to crash whenever we tried to enter a key area. In addition, with the minimal install option, the loading times were incredibly slow. Considering that these loading times occur every time you move from one location to the next, this can be very frustrating. There is an option to load the entire game to your hard drive, but you'll sacrifice more than two gigs of hard disk space to compensate for the unusually long loading times throughout the game.
The easy puzzles and outstanding graphics make Stupid Invaders seem more like a lengthy exercise in computer animation than a fully realized adventure game. This isn't necessarily a setback, as the game does provide some great visuals and a few laughs. The Farrelly Brothers and South Park have both proven that crossing the line can be funny; Stupid Invaders has a few undeniably funny bits, but most times it seems to be crossing the line with no real destination in mind.