Stupid Invaders Preview
Combining a fluid mix of 3D cartoon worlds with full-motion cinematics, Ubisoft's Stupid Invaders seeks to kill us all. No, not with fright, but with laughter - pure, unadulterated hilarity.
Prepare your whoopee cushions, because Ubisoft is about to release the stupidest game ever. In this case however, that's not an insult; it's a compliment. Well, a stupid compliment. With two years in development time and millions of dollars' worth of studio-quality animation, Ubisoft's Stupid Invaders looks like it's going to turn the Dreamcast world upside down. "Why?" you ask. Fart jokes, explosions, and alien mishaps - the stuff dreams are made of.
Loosely based on the Space Goofs animated series, Stupid Invaders seeks to assault the senses with a blend of high comedy, lowbrow humor, and an ample mix of drama. The plot focuses on five aliens, aptly named Gorgeous (ugly!), Candy (older than dirt), Stereo (two headed), Etno (dumb), and Bud (ugly and dumb). One day, for some unspeakable reason, these five cohorts decide to build a spaceship. Unfortunately, they're dumb as rocks, so the whole kit and caboodle crashes to Earth. Your job is to help them rebuild their ship and survive the crash and rescue them from the megalomaniacal Dr. Sakarin, who intends to dump them all into jars of formaldehyde.
The interface itself will be a mixture of directional-pad movement and point-and-click interaction, with an emphasis on exploration and puzzle solving. The game has 120 unique locations, where you can interact with almost anything. If there's a cabinet in view, you can open it, and inside you'll find a rabid, hungry monster that'll bite your arm off. If there's a button, you can push it. For that matter, if there's a toilet, well, you know. In many ways, the game's interface resembles that of Neverhood, a game whose subtle comedy was ahead of its time. Stupid Invaders, though, isn't about subtlety. It's about hilarious, horrific, almost stunning bouts of laughter-inducing comedy. The developers wanted to give a notable "Britcom" feel to things by mixing in a few universally funny jokes, and early looks suggest that they've succeeded. Opening a cabinet only to get pummeled by a hammer or being dropped into a biohazard level manure factory is always funny, no matter how many Tom & Jerry episodes you've seen.
Xilam, the folks in charge of animating the game, are pulling out all the stops, creating a game that perfectly mixes a 3D environment with full-motion cinematics. It's still early yet, but so far they've managed to blur the line between game and video so well that Stupid Invaders makes SquareSoft's Final Fantasy IX seem amateurish. On the one hand, you get vibrant, colorful cartoon animation. The characters don't walk; they amble. Bugs flitter to and fro, curtains sway in the breeze, and, where appropriate, running human waste flows like a river as only 60fps animation can will it. On the flip side to this, you have uproarious cinema scenes, which show people being run over by lawn mowers, smashed by falling objects, and, more often than not, accosted by exploding chickens. Most importantly, you really can't tell where the game ends and a cinematic begins. Tying it all together, Ubisoft has enlisted the voice talent of the cast from Fox Television's hit show Futurama, to imbue the game with over 2000 lines of side-splitting dialogue.
With 50 characters to interact with, adult-level humor, and envelope-pushing animation, Stupid Invaders looks like it may have the power to go all the way. The game is set for release this December, just in time to crash-land under everyone's Christmas tree... or in everyone's toilet, as the case may be.
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