Hostile Spawn


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Rating: 4.3/5 (46 votes)
| Comments (20) | Views (69)

JamesHostile SpawnWhen the UFE loses contact with the Hammerhead, a spaceship sent to check out a distress call on a distant planet, guess who is sent to investigate? Yes, you, space marine! So lock and load — chances are good you will be facing more than a few Hostile Spawn.

Hostile Spawn does not carve a new genre. The whole "send a military-type out to fight hostile alien creatures from another world" bit has been done a few times before (Aliens, Starship Troopers), but, really, does that matter so much? Taken from a top-down view, you control the marine with directional keys (typically the [WASD] keys) and manage firepower with the mouse. Recently, the addictive Robokill 2 set the benchmark for this kind of game, so how does Hostile Spawn fare? It's worth comparing the two, even though fans of the one will enjoy the other, they are quite different games.

In Robokill, you eradicate aliens for the sake of space colonial peace room by room. In Hostile spawn, you explore the entire base. It is much more objective-driven: find a computer, blow up a reactor, etc. After accomplishing the level objectives, you make your way back to the elevator and a floor deeper into the infestation (in the event of taking out a reactor, you run). Initially the ship, which serves more as a prelude, has to be cleared, then you hit the planet and dash to the facilities. It's no surprise that those places are also overrun and need some bug removal. To do the job you use weapons and ammo you find in the levels, as opposed to Robokill's shop system. There is also no upgrading, just ranks you achieve as you stack up kill points.

Analysis: Hostile Spawn's pros outweigh its cons, but it's not an outright win. This is a fun game, no doubt about it, and a bit more fleshed-out than most of its peers. Visually it stands out, thanks to its use of Java to give it a bit more power (though Flash Alchemy could achieve the same results) and there is something about the old-school aesthetics, such as an armory that includes shotguns, railguns and rocket launchers, that makes this an engaging experience. It's not very easy, either, because there aren't any health packs lying around (despite their appearance in the help menu) and dying means you restart the level, regardless of the objectives you had achieved.

Hostile SpawnOn the downside, you pretty much do the same thing over and over again. With the exception of the planet surface, all the maps feel the same, the monotony only broken by increasing signs of alien stuff growing against walls and minor variations in the facility decor. Fortunately the loaded atmosphere keeps you far too busy peeking around corners and trying to stay alive to really bother writing a pithy letter to Home Decor Monthly — but some more variation across the ten levels would have been nice. Once again we can compare to Robokill, which also changed its decor about as often as a government office, but that game was not focused on exploration. Hostile Spawn is, which is perhaps why it also has very few enemy variations. You need to go through quite a few levels before you see something other than the monsters that keep attacking you. As with the decor survival is more important than cataloging the invaders, but when both are static it can get a bit samey.

The game does a good job using dark areas and hidden corridors to keep our marine on his toes, while distant screams from the aliens alert you of their approach. The sound design is great and the weapons in particular are very satisfying, not to mention the eerie ambient soundtrack that fades in and out. If a final comparison has to be made, The Robokill series is firmly rooted in arcade traditions, whereas Hostile Spawn is a slightly more cerebral horror experience. This ends up being its vindication: you forgive its repetition and lackluster enemy roster because it blankets itself in a nice atmosphere.

Ultimately Hostile Spawn is a safe game: it has a lot of good ideas that it executes very well, but it keeps innovation trim and feels a bit shallow. That said, it is well worth playing through once and if the developers add a bit more spice to hint at what the expansion can deliver, I'd more tempted to consider the recently-added commercial expansion.

Play Hostile Spawn

20 Comments

I have yet to beat the free game. I don't remember what all changed from the old version to this one.

Hmm, is reviewing Funorb gonna become a regular thing now?

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On my keyboard, it only used WASD, not the arrow keys. That's bad for me, since I always use the arrows keys. Somewhat basic option being missed there.

Secondly, it seems you can walk through walls. I suspect it was some kind of steps/walkway but it really looked like I just walked through a wall into a passage I could turn down, and then walked through the opposite wall into the next room. Which makes the plan very confusing. What's a wall and what isn't?

Got killed after exploding the reactor. Not going back.

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Waaaay intense and extremely cool. I can't get past the crash landing yet. We will see.

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I looked forward to playing this, but each time the window opens it almost immediately closes. I suspect they have a server problem, perhaps they got 'jigged'.

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I beat the game. Only took me maybe 30 minutes to an hour. Its fun. Its annoying at some points when there are 10 enemies on each side of you and you know you are going to lose health. I don't like how there is a dark corner and then 3 enemies are around it and you can't see them until you lose health. I like the game still though. Nice range of weapons

I used shotgun primary and railgun secondary as my weapons and it got me through the game quickly.

Not a wide range bad aliens though. The ending is OK but its annoying how you have to rush through mazes to get out of areas.

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Brainstorm Author Profile Page January 27, 2010 6:44 PM

I'm always surprised to see a FunOrb game on here :P Hostile Spawn is one of their stronger titles for sure, more so since the recent graphics revamp and expansion. I haven't been a paying FunOrb member in a long time, but if all new releases are at this level, just maybe...

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Hostile spawn was always one of my least favorite Funorb game. That and escape vector. The game is a little bit better since it was updated, but I really don't want to shoot these new lizard things. I wanna shoot those green humanoid things.

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I had fun for a bit, but once in a while I encountered a strange problem: my character would "freeze"--he wouldn't be able to run around anymore, and he would be unable to fire a weapon. He could still spin around and the monsters could still move (and eat him), just no way to escape or fight back. This would last for a few seconds and then he'd return to normal. If monsters were nearby, this "freeze" usually resulted in an untimely death. The game is moderately enjoyable for me, but not enough to convince me to fight through this or even to try to figure out why it's happening. Like the reviewer said, there's not much innovation here; I feel like I've essentially already played this game.

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I enjoyed as much as I played of it (though it's not crazily innovative or anything)... I just wish it emphasized that I'd lose my progress after I died if I didn't create an account.

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So I've been trying to load this game for the past three hours and it just goes nowhere.

Shows the loading bar and "Loading Graphics" message for about 20 minutes at a time and slowly counts up to between 10 to 20 percent and then resets itself.

Annoying!

Poor show! Rewrite in flash - or maybe I'll just go and play Robokill instead...

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Tobberian Author Profile Page January 28, 2010 8:51 AM

Haven't anyone played the Alienbreed series?
This is VERY similar, even the music is alike. :P
Nice game...but the steering often have delays making it hard to navigate. Maybe it needs a faster comp? (although it shouldn't really).

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Um, whats the point of an account system if I still lose my weapons when I restart the game?
Had to do mission 8 from scratch and barely made it through (after several tries) without any ammo left.
Now I'm at the beginning of mission 9 without any ammo and I'm completely f.cked as I'm dead after a few seconds. What now? Restart?

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What a dull pile of dull. Frustrating website had me register thinking that would allow me to use fullscreen before informing me I had to pay a monthly fee for the privelage of seeing a larger version of their rather ugly little game. Graphically out of date for the browser-shooter genre, but without the innovation or fun to excuse it.

A poor attempt at making money online, not a game >.>

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Any game that wants me to open a port in my corporate firewall (hey, gotta have some fun during work time) isn't going to get played. Also, the security warning isn't very encouraging either...

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Woah, woah, woah. You convinced Funorb to let you review one of their games? Wow. Nice going :D. They are a site that doesn't let anyone else have their games. Exclusive, so to speak. Their games are brilliant, and so its great that they are getting more coverage.

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I played Hostile Spawn through to Level 10 when it was first out on FunOrb, a year ago or so. It's good. It's all about the secret passageways: after a few levels in, you want to treat the map and initial view of the level as a rough guide to where the walls might be, rather than anything saying where they actually are!

All the levels can be beaten from the start, though Level 10 is exceptionally hard to do from a shotgun start. Level 9 has a few good weapons hidden down massive long secret passageways. From the shotgun start you have to take it extremely slowly and cautiously, taking out enemies one or two at a time, and figure out where the extra weapons are hidden and how to work your way around to those places. If you get there from a previous level then you don't need to bother with about half the level (the invisible half).

I think Terra Phoenix is a better single-player FunOrb game, as is Miner Disturbance, but Hostile Spawn's pretty good.

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Oh yes, I forgot to say: Hostile Spawn is very clearly "inspired" by Alien Breed, but that's a good thing. Likewise Terra Phoenix is clearly "inspired" by UFO Enemy Unknown (known as XCom in the USA), but that's also a good thing :)

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gzAAbunny May 8, 2010 10:07 PM

I loved this game since I laid eyes on it. Fairly easy to beat on the free to play mode. Primarily there are a few patterns as to do what where in your firing tactics. The goal of a perfect run making this ADD gaming at its best. Keep those fingers limber!

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When you think of computer games, you think of free games being solitaire or internet chat rooms, and the buyable games are laggy, poor 3d platforms like world of warcraft or runescape. Funorb definetly made the right choices in making this game (update) like going low-res to eliminate lag, then hide it with non-stop action. I played the game once before the update and hated it. a few days ago to give it another shot, and it was amazing. It wasn't run and gun, but more staying alive. i really hope they make more like this and cant wait for my membership to play the vengeance add-on.

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Who on earth could have thought that making you walk through walls was good game design? If it was just to find secrets, that would be okay, but on the second reactor mission, you're trapped by fire and the only way out is through a wall! And not in an obvious "hey, look over here" way, it's just a random wall in a random dead-end room. I spent half my escape time running around like a headless chicken to find a door, and I only spotted this once I saw an alien walk through the wall. This is not good design! At all!

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