Xbox Live Arcade roundup

Written by Wil Harris

April 2, 2007 | 11:17

Tags: #360 #arcade #doom #download #geometry-wars #live #marketplace #points #review #screenshots #street-fighter #worms

Companies: #microsoft

Worms

A game which has been around since the days of the Amiga and Atari ST, Worms has to be one of the most successful brands out there. However, not all versions of the game have been that good - Worms 3D was fairly atrocious, for example. However, the game really peaked at around Worms 3, where the visual style was revamped and some cool new weapons added. Worms for the 360 has basically taken that graphical style and gameplay, rendered it in HD and stuck it on the 360. This is a good thing.

Many of the weapons from later games make it in, which are some of the most interesting. The nuclear sheep is an obvious one, along with the Holy Hand Grenade, which sits alongside the stalwarts such as the bazooka, cluster bomb and airstrike. Landscapes are randomly generated and exist in that familiar Worms style.

Obviously, it's one of those games that is great for having your mates round after a night out, handing the controller round and watching who ends up in the water first. There's full multiplayer locally, and you can also go online and play against opponents there. However, truth be told, 'faceless' multiplayer against someone over Live isn't exactly compelling, because part of the enjoyment of Worms is the humour and ridiculousness of the gameplay, and sharing that with your friends - unless you've got a group of people that you know very well over Live, and some headsets plugged in, it's really not that much fun.

Xbox Live Arcade roundup Worms, Alien Hominid Xbox Live Arcade roundup Worms, Alien Hominid

The graphics are in the typical Worms style, and are rather fun. All the usual sound effects ("Stupid! Come on then!") are present and correct, and this just adds to the fun. All in all, the HD update of Worms is well worth the £4 it costs, purely in terms of the late-night drunken tomfoolery it offers.

Alien Hominid HD

This is not a retro game, in that it isn't an update of some classic from the nineties. However, it is a retro game in that it is a side-scrolling shooter with boss fights that could have come straight out of Gunstar Heroes.

It's actually an HD update of the original Alien Hominid, which appeared on the original Xbox to much critical acclaim (although lacklustre sales). That itself was a conversion of a flash game from Newgrounds, and this is a game that has a real 'indie development' flavour to it.

The game features a small alien who crash lands on Earth from another planet. His craft is confiscated by the FBI, and his journey through the game is to get back home. That is really just the thing that sits on top of the game, because it's the run and gun gameplay that really provides the entertainment here. The graphics are outlandishly cartoonish, with the art being something more like you'd seen on Adult Swim than Xbox. The animation is stunning, and the humour hilariously violent.

Xbox Live Arcade roundup Worms, Alien Hominid Xbox Live Arcade roundup Worms, Alien Hominid
The hominid has a little ray gun, which gets powered up as you progress, and a mean set of knives for slicing and dicing his foes (which include FBI agents landing from helicopters and mean-machine robotic monstrosities). There's plenty of blood and chopped heads flying everywhere, complete with brilliant death gasps and sound effects. You'll fly UFOs, engage in a car chase and play plenty of mini-games as you work your way through to the final levels.

Working your way through, however, will take you a while. The game is really quite hard, and whilst you have quite a few lives and continues, you will find that you can easily run through them all in a single boss fight, working out exactly what the boss' weak point is and how to defeat it. However, these fights get a little easy if you play in the neato two-player co-op.

Alien Hominid is a crackingly fun game that, whilst not strictly retro, features some thoroughly old-school gameplay. It's funny, gorgeous to look at and tough enough to keep you going well beyond the price point suggests it should. Definitely one to pick up.
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