Alien Hominid First Look on Xbox Live Arcade

What happens when the Behemoth unleashes a voracious yellow alien on a next-gen console? Find out in our first look at Alien Hominid on the Xbox 360.

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It's been two years since Alien Hominid blasted its way onto the PlayStation 2 and the GameCube. The current-gen love letter to old-school 2D shooters was the first title to come out of Southern California-based developer The Behemoth. In the years since its well-received 2004 release in the US, the title has gone on to be released in Europe on the PS2, GC, the Xbox, and even the Game Boy Advance. The international exposure has gained the shooter a fair share of popularity and garnered The Behemoth a loyal set of fans. At this year's Comic-Con, the developer showed off a new version of the game running on the Xbox 360, where it's poised to blast its way onto Xbox Live Arcade. We had the chance to try out the early version of the game on display to get a taste of what happens when a small, surly yellow alien with a gun meets Microsoft's console.

If you missed the original Alien Hominid when it shipped in fall of 2004, we'll bring you up to speed on what the game is all about. Alien Hominid's story is a simple one that hearkens back to the old-school arcade days when aliens weren't mysterious and cryptic beings who quietly infiltrated earth; they were just here to blow stuff up. You'll take the role of a small yellow gender-neutral alien who has the misfortune to crash-land on Earth after slightly overzealous FBI agents shoot down its ship as it cruises by. To add insult to injury, the ship literally crashes on the doorstep of FBI headquarters. As if that weren't bad enough, some FBI agents make off with the craft. Our yellow hero, anxious to return home, sets out to reclaim its ship.

Unable to communicate with the locals, the small alien busts out its trusty green laser pistol and grenades and begins speaking the universal language of "blowing stuff up" to the scores of FBI agents and outlandish bosses that stand between the alien and its intergalactic set of wheels. While the odds may sound daunting for a tiny yellow visitor from space who's new to town, things aren't all bleak. Sure, the FBI is eager to take it out, and the local citizens aren't helping its cause, but, as always, children are on hand to help save the day. As the alien makes its way to the ship, fat kids will appear and offer help in the form of weapon power-ups, in much the same way the hostages in the Metal Slug series do. While power-up-dispensing fat kids aren't a replacement for, say, an enormous Martian death walker or a space tank, they're better than nothing, and besides, this alien is nothing if not handy.

For the Xbox Live arcade version, The Behemoth is converting the original game, which supports up to two players in offline co-op, and which also included an addictive platformer minigame for up to four players, as well as adding some exclusive touches to take advantage of the hardware's graphic muscle. The level on display at Comic-Con, the first stage of the game, was running on HD monitors that showed off its improved resolution and widescreen presentation. At the moment, the team is experimenting with different options to take advantage of Xbox Live, and it's not revealing those plans just yet. As far as how it plays, the work-in-progress game handled fine and retained the pick-up-and-play charm of its current-gen predecessors.

If you somehow missed the original Alien Hominid last year, the Xbox Live Arcade version will offer a nifty way to make up for lost time. The old-school gameplay and inventive visuals are a great fit for Live Arcade. Alien Hominid is expected to ship later this year for the Xbox Live Arcade. Look for more on the game in the coming months.

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