Sawbuck Gamer

Tripod Attack

Oh, The Inhumanity

Mankind never seemed so fragile as it does in Tripod Attack.

By Tasha Robinson • April 25, 2012

Plenty of video games ask players to kill human opponents, sometimes one-on-one, sometimes in vast hordes. But there’s something extra-disturbing about Tripod Attack, which has players mowing down human soldiers en masse. Maybe it’s because the humans are so hopelessly outclassed that it’s easy to respect their bravery; after all, they’re taking on a gigantic, heavily armed and armored alien tripod (that’s you!) with nothing but their piddly handguns. And given that your heat ray makes short work of tanks, helicopters, and other heavy gear, fragile little humans don’t stand much of a chance. It’s also disturbing how they go down in wet sprays of blood. Tripod Attack isn’t for the squeamish, or the empathetic.

That said, it’s a terrific browser game. Pounding, foreboding music sets the tone for an epic confrontation between mankind and your John Christopher/War Of The Worlds-esque tripod, a slow-moving monstrosity that slinks across the side-scrolling screen with brutal implacability. It’s up to you to make sure its unrelenting advance isn’t halted by the increasing waves of human resistance, which send new, heavier weapons with each level—weapons that explode beautifully, leaving well-rendered burnt-out husks and detritus all over the battlefield. It’s a little unfair that you can go back and replay earlier levels to earn weapons, armor, and shield upgrades—humanity doesn’t have that option, and by the end of the game, even their best technology seems outmoded compared to yours. Still, while Tripod Attack is simple—select target, fire heat ray, repeat—there’s a methodology to prioritizing targets, particularly when it comes to taking out kamikaze fuel trucks before they reach you, shooting missiles out of the air, and especially taking out that horrible shield-destroying boss on the final level. Turns out fragile humanity does have a few worthy tricks up its sleeve. Maybe we could all just respect each other’s technological accomplishments and species differences, and learn to get along?

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564 Responses to “Oh, The Inhumanity”

  1. Xtracurlyfries says:

    First contact!

    • LimeadeYouth says:

      Point of order: In celebration of the new Gameological site, but while still honoring its connections to AV Club, we really need an appropriate way to wish something similar to “canceraids” to failed and or lame firsties, but being distinctly in a gaming flavor.

      I’m gonna go with “Continue? n/n” just to start you all out.

      • Xtracurlyfries says:

        I’m honored to be part of such an auspicious event.

        I’d suggest that I get an arrow in the knee, but I think we’ve all already had enough of that meme.

        How about “May you forever have too many sheep yet be surrounded by enemies with an abundance of wood and bricks who are unwiling to trade”? Too long?

        Oh, and my firsty wasn’t lame, it was awesome. Though I understand your confusion.

      • Aaron Riccio says:

        Just do what I always did for annoying characters in The Sims. Remove all the doors and just watch them starve themselves to death.

      • HobbesMkii says:

         http://www.onemetal.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/loading_screen.jpg

      • caspiancomic says:

         This guy are sick… with cancerAIDS.

      • Merve says:

        I vote for “YOU’RE WINNER !”

        May Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing never be forgotten.

  2. AuroraBoreanaz says:

    *grins* Die, ants!  Die!

    This is almost as fun as putting a dome over a small New England town and seeing what happens!

  3. Destroy Him My Robots says:

    Too bad it preserves Walker’s “presentation over gameplay” mentality while simplifying its already lackluster mechanics even further without arriving at some sort of distilled brilliance.

    Agreed on the violence, though. I got Walker at the height of my “violence in media is awesome” phase in adolescence and even then I thought mowing down legions of largely defenseless humans was maybe a bit much. I guess Hollywood just never romanticized being a gigantic ED-209 enough when I was younger.

  4. HobbesMkii says:

    It reminds me of Rampage. Minus the destroying buildings and multiplayer elements. So, I guess it doesn’t remind me of Rampage at all.

  5. The_Misanthrope says:

    WAAAANG!  It looks like the Reapers have some new friends…

  6. Effigy_Power_also_plays says:

    I played it, didn’t care much for it. If I am to be a monstrous uber-machine from space, I want to feel uber-powerful. This game didn’t deliver that. I had to replay level 5 or 6 or so about 10 times, because a huge crowd of guys with machine guns tore through my walker like wet tissue paper, after I erroneously had assumed it would be better to take out the heavy jeeps first.
    It just doesn’t deliver on the expectation. Now, if you made the enemies much weaker, but gave a lot more to fight… eh, it’d still just be “move mouse-pointer here to kill”… I’d give it a solid C for effort at best.

    •  That was about my take on it too.  Needs more mechanics, weapons systems, something other than click-and-hold-the-mouse-button-until-things-blow-up.

      • AuroraBoreanaz says:

        Yeah, definitely needed at least one other gun, or some sort of special attack for when you got overwhelmed.

    • ShitMcFuckensteinAVC says:

      Nice to see you on this site, effigy.

      • itisdancing says:

        Slowly and slowly they’re filtering over. Luckily I don’t think Lobsters plays video games.

      • Effigy_Power_also_plays says:

         Yeah, this site seemed to be lacking a bit of me.
        Also I don’t think Lobster has electricity. (He posts on the AV Club with his coconut computer.)

  7. trilobiter says:

    Is it a terrific browser game?  It’s terrifically animated I suppose, but I didn’t have fun when I played it.  I didn’t really care about my giant tripod of death, and once it was dead (do I suck because I died on Day Three?) I was definitively done.

    • Effigy_Power_also_plays says:

       I barely made it any further. If the Aliens field titanic machines that can be destroyed by about 1% of all the guns in Kentucky, we should be okay.

    • Channel_8_News says:

      I was stuck on Day Twelve for a while before I realized you can go back and play previous days to earn credits and upgrade your tripod. Then it becomes almost too easy.

      • Effigy_Power says:

         Oh… well… that does explain a bit, mind you, games shouldn’t rely on replaying already completed levels… it’s bad economical planning.

  8. Effigy_Power says:

    Well, after @Channel_8_News:disqus told me that you can in fact replay the same days, I went back to play this some more and, well… actually have to rate it even worse now.
    What the game-designer has done here is relieve him/herself from the stress of balancing the game. Instead it falls to the gamer to decide how hard (in this case impossible) or easy the game is supposed to be.
    A game this short should not require someone to constantly go back and replay the same levels, especially if the outcome is always the same. Since levels can only be completed with 100%, there is no reason to go back and improve on anything. Replayability is merely tedium.
    The problem is that the gamer can’t possibly know how many upgrades make the game too easy. In my case, the difference between frustratingly impossible and mind-dullingly easy consisted of only 2 or 3 updates.
    If you get to the tanks, you better have a strong shield or a strong gun, which you can’t have if you spent points on the heat-radius upgrade, without which the countless foot-soldiers in level 2 will make your life hell.
    This is extremely lazy. All the game comes down to is replaying the same stuff until all upgrades are achieved and then blowing you way through the last levels.
    It’s just bad game-design and deserves a pretty ugly D… mostly because on second look the graphic isn’t that great and the repetitive music is par at best.

    PS: Couldn’t even spring for a custom cursor to aim with? Bla.