Stupid Invaders
Platform: Dreamcast / PC / Mac
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Xilam
Genre: Graphic Adventure
Format: GD-ROM / CD-ROM
Released: US 02/20/01
Japan N/A
Official Site: English Site

Graphics: 93%
Sound: 89%
Gameplay: 76%
Control: N/A
Story: 79%
Overall: 80%
Reviews Grading Scale
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Ever the TV addict, Bud impersonates an RCA ad.
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I'm melting!!!
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I KNEW the washing machine ate my left sock!
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Bud invades Candy's room.
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Neal Chandran
Stupid Invaders
Neal Chandran

Stupid Invaders is a game with very limited appeal. For one, it's a point-and-click graphic adventure, which is a dying genre of video game these days. And two, it is a comedy game that relies on slapstick, gross-out sight gags and a crapload of immature potty humor (pun fully intended). So if these two things are showstoppers for you, stop reading right now and look for something else to occupy your time. If, however, you like graphic adventures and toilet humor, read on.

Stupid Invaders tells a tale of five idiotic aliens who crash land on Earth outside an abandoned house. These aliens have no interest in Earth and just want to leave ASAP. However, the repairs to the ship take longer than the 'few minutes' promised by one of the aliens. Over the course of a few years, these aliens have decked out the old house into what the manual calls a 'swank alien pad.' Finally, after years of wait, the spaceship is repaired and the aliens can go home.

Unbeknownst to our alien pals, however, is that the evil mad scientist Dr. Sakarin has been spying on them from his remote lab in the desert. He enlists the help of a bounty hunter named Bolok to capture the aliens so he can do evil experiments on them. Play begins when the aliens discover Bolok in their house and all hell breaks loose into a wild and wacky adventure that takes these five idiotic aliens to such odd locations as a cow dung factory and the inner bowels of Sakarin's crazy lab.

All in all, the story is not the most original of stories and its heavy reliance on potty humor gives it limited appeal, but the stupid invaders themselves are appealing and likeable in their own rights, and I grew fond of them.

The five alien protagonists are each an archetype of a bumbling idiot. We have Bud Buddiovitch -- the slim, orange, slow-talking couch potato who wastes his life away rotting in front of the TV. Gorgious Klaatu, the pudgy blue alien, is the gruff and grouchy old man. Etno Polino, large of lip and purple of hue, has a somewhat snooty accent and fancies himself more intelligent than the others -- only he's not. Stereo Monovici, the red alien, has two heads jam packed full of useless and inane facts. And finally, we have Candy Caramella -- a histrionic little green alien with less-than-stellar piloting skills and a wish to have a sex change operation so he can be a she. All of them get a good amount of screen time and dialogue, except for Stereo who gets very little. This is too bad, because there was much potential for humor out of him. Actually, come to think of it, during the latter portions of the game, there is very little dialogue, period.

The most impressive area of Stupid Invaders is its graphics. These are among the best visuals in a Dreamcast game. The colorful backdrops look sharp and have a lot of detail. The design is of the 'exaggerated cartoony' variety, and such locales as the aliens' house have a warped sense of style. Even though there are only three major locations in the game (the house, the cow dung factory, and the desert laboratory) the variety of crazy settings is staggering. The subterranean love nest under the dung factory is downright creepy in its disco-induced campiness. However, there are times when the graphics are a little too… graphic; particularly in the cow dung factory's Dung Museum.

The polygon characters also look sharp and have no noticeable seams or any kind of blockiness. They also have distinct postures and ways of walking which I found amusing. I attribute this to the character designs being rather simplistic, so more effort could be concentrated on the sharpness. Aside from our alien protagonists and Bolok, the character designs are not the most appealing. They are simplistic and do not display much artistic originality.

The 2 GD-ROMs that comprise the game are packed to the gills with CG FMV sequences. FMVs occur frequently and are often of substantial length. Many FMV sequences occur during 'Game Over' segments so many of those may or may not be seen by some gamers. Those moments provide the funniest FMVs. However, a few of the FMV sequences are a bit grainy.

Sound is another impressive area. All dialogue is fully voiced, and the voice acting is consistently good across the board for both the playable and non-playable characters. The voicing was professionally done with trained actors whose voices you will easily recognize from various cartoons. My personal favorites were Danny Mann, who did the gruff voice of Gorgious, and Charles Adler who voiced Candy. Normally I find Charles Adler's voice work on Cartoon Network annoying (he's Cow in Cow and Chicken), but thanks to Jim Gomez's terrific voice directing, Mr. Adler excelled as Candy.

The MIDI-synthesized music is another story altogether. It's sparsely used and not at all memorable or original. I do recall a really cool Eastern sounding piece with synthesized sitar, but I only recall it because of the odd location where it played. I sure did not expect to hear sitar music playing in a hall of toilets. But perhaps that was the intent of the developers. After all, I found myself saying, "What the heck?!?!?!?" all too often while playing this trippy game. The sound effects are pretty realistic and sound how they're supposed to. The explosions are my favorite.

There really isn't much to the gameplay. The game plays like any other graphic adventure. You use your directional pad to move a hand-shaped pointer to various things on the screen. The pointer changes its shape to a hand holding an eye, a gripping hand, or a 'talking' hand to show an object or person you can look at, use/grab/manipulate, or talk to, respectively. If the hand is a normal pointer, you can use that to move your character. The A button confirms your selection and the B button changes the pointer. It's also used to put a freshly grabbed item in your inventory. The Y button accesses your inventory. To use an item with another in the inventory, press and hold down the A button and drag the item to combine it.

The puzzles also are pretty standard fare. You manipulate items in your surroundings and inventory to get yourself out of sticky situations. It's in your best interest to click on anything and everything, lest you miss a critical item needed later on. And like any graphic adventure, no item is useless. Some puzzles are tougher than others, and there are times late in the game when you have to navigate areas like a giant maze or a desert. If you've played a graphic adventure before, you know what to expect, puzzle-wise. Also, every single one of the puzzles was well integrated into the plot and not one felt superfluous. However, for some puzzles, the solutions are not very obvious, so use trial and error to see you through. Or there are hints in the back of the manual.

There are times, however, when logic is defied completely. I'll give an example: In one early segment, Gorgious is being chased by a group of baby chickens. If you choose to interact with them, Gorgious picks one up, says a line, and the chicken blows up in his face resulting in a game over. Later on, you find a chicken on a sewer grate you need to blow up in order to proceed. Gorgious says his line and then backs off as if he knew the chicken would explode when he said his line. There are many many instances in the game like that, where you have to die and get a 'game over' in order to figure out what to do next. Sometimes the deaths can be annoying, so save often. You can save anywhere and any time you want so there's no excuse not to. However, the 'game over' segments are usually very funny and have their own independent FMVs.

In the game, you control one alien at a time, as they seem to get separated at every turn in the plot. There is no difference in gameplay regardless of which alien you're controlling. This takes away from some of the individuality of these aliens, particularly in the latter portions of the game where dialogue is sparse. I would have liked for each alien to perhaps have an individual usable skill so they wouldn't seem so alike. The only differences in gameplay were the appearance and the dialogues of the aliens. And as I said before, Stereo gets very little airtime (pun intended once more) and almost no dialogue, so I really wanted something to remember him by besides his two heads.

Oh, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the length. Stupid Invaders, despite being on two GD-ROMs, is short. A gamer with a busy schedule could probably beat this game in a couple of weekends. However, I think the length is perfect. Slapstick toilet humor can only be carried so far and Stupid Invaders quits while it's ahead so the joke doesn't grow annoying or stale. And even despite the shortness, the game does not feel rushed or anything. It was quite satisfying to finish, and the ending is a hoot.

But when all is said and done, I had fun with Stupid Invaders. Sure it lacks the polish of a finely crafted Lucas Arts adventure, but it's still a fun little game. So to reiterate: If you like point-and-click adventure games AND immature, lowbrow toilet humor, Stupid Invaders is a must-play.


© 2001 Ubisoft. All Rights Reserved.

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