Stupid Invaders

Review by Jen

At the May 2000 E3, Stupid Invaders was hands-down the best-looking, most promising game that I saw. Does Stupid Invaders live up to its rich promise? It depends. Do you snicker when someone burps? Do you suffer paroxysms of glee when someone farts? If you answer "yes," then Stupid Invaders is probably your kind of game. If you're ultra-sophisticated, though, you're probably better off looking down your nose at the rest of us who think this stuff is funny.

This is not to say that Stupid Invaders consists of nothing but jokes related to the by-products of digestion—in fact there really is some more subtle and highbrow humor too: movie and literature spoofs abound. Yeah, that's it, that's the ticket. ... See? I really don't lack class just because I thought Stupid Invaders was the funniest game ever.

Stupid Invaders begins with five aliens (with six heads) crash-landing on Earth: Bud, Etno, Stereo, Gorgious, and Candy. They take up residence in an abandoned house while waiting for Etno to repair the flying saucer so they can return home. Meanwhile, deep in a remote area of the desert known only as (insert anticipation-building music here) Area 52, hidden away in a secret laboratory, the mad scientist Dr. Sakarine is plotting to capture the aliens so he can do some vivisection experiments on them. And it's not sex change operations (much to Candy's dismay)! Dr. Sakarine sends his henchman, Bolok, out to capture the aliens and their ship. Bolok shows up at the house where the aliens are staying just as Etno puts the finishing touches on the spaceship repair. Only by sheer luck, and TV addiction, does Bud escape Bolok's fearsome ice gun. As you can probably guess, Bud must then free his compatriots if they are to have any hope of going home again. The game then plays out over four chapters, and umpteen million locations, and each alien gets multiple turns at being the main character ("hero," if you will).

Gameplay is straightforward—Stupid Invaders is point-and-click at its finest. You must use the keyboard to access inventory (space bar), load, save, and quit. All movement and object and character interaction is via the mouse. The cursor action automatically changes according to the situation, although once or twice during the game you must change it yourself using a right click. Puzzles are all organic, every last mother-lovin' one of them, and they range from easy to fairly challenging. The game is completely linear; you must perform certain actions in a certain order to progress. There are lots of unnecessary things you can see and do in the game, and half of the game's entertainment value is found by looking at these things and trying them.

There is a lot of dying in Stupid Invaders. In an absolute first for me, though, I actually didn't mind dying. In fact, I saved lots and then sought out all the ways to die because the death scenes are almost without exception spectacular. Or if not spectacular, at least funny.

There is one gigantic drawback that bears mention, a maze! And what a horrendous maze it is! And then there's another gigantic drawback, a desert! And what a horrendous desert it is! I nearly went bald pulling my hair out over these two things, but you won't need any Rogaine because I thoughtfully provided solutions for these in my walkthrough.

The graphics in Stupid Invaders are, quite simply, the best I've ever seen in any cartoon game. The transitions between cut scenes and game screens are seamless; the only way you can tell which is which is by whether you have a cursor. The animation is movie-quality, even on the gameplay screens. The use of color is perfect in every instance, the graphic design is stunning and evocative, camera angles are positively cinematic. As you can see, I got a little carried away with screenshots; I would've liked to show you the whole game but you'll just have to play it and see for yourself how consistently good it looks.

The voice acting is not only above average for an adventure game, it is exceptional. You can tell these are professional actors. Every character is brought to life by his/her/its voice actor, be he/she/it sinister, dumb, snooty, or what have you. Same goes for the sound effects and music—they rival anything ever put out by the movie moguls in Hollywood.

Stupid Invaders is fun and funny, a masterful blend of high art and low humor. (I am glad that computer-generated odors are not yet a reality.) It is my new favorite game of all-time, displacing even The Longest Journey and Grim Fandango. I am, however, left with this scary thought: if I actually enjoyed this French humor so much, does that mean I have to start liking Jerry Lewis? Nooo! I would rather die! The End

The Verdict

The Lowdown

Developer: Xilam
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: January 2001
Available for: Dreamcast Windows

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System Requirements

Pentium 200

Pentium II 233

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