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"You can't escape the invasion from within."
Scurge: Hive is a 2006 action-RPG Platform Game released simultaneously for the Gameboy Advance and DS. The gameplay is quite similar to the 2D iterations of the Metroid series, but unlike them uses Isometric Projection.
Stop me if any of this sounds familiar. The player takes on the role of Bounty Hunter Jenosa Arma, on assignment from the Confederation. Her mission is to seek out the high security Confederaton Research Lab 56, on planet Inos. 48 hours prior to the start of the game, the base sent out a distress signal. No further contact could be established. Now here's the kicker: the base was designed for the containment and research of a potent infectious life form called the Scurge.
The Confeds are reasonably sure that the Scurge has escaped containment and likely infected or killed everyone on base. Therefore, it is stated in the game's introduction/Jenosa's briefing that her mission is one of data retrieval. They've outfitted her with one of the infection-resistant suits used at the base and special energy-projectile gauntlets, as apparently ordinary firearms could be infected by the Scurge.
Jenosa arrives in orbit around the planet only to be blasted by a ground-to-orbit energy cannon, which somehow transfers the infection onto her ship. After the game's first boss fight, her ship's AI, Magellan, informs her that she herself is infected. A new meter appears on your HUD, indicating the level of infection present in Jenosa's body, thus setting up a time limit for the game. Her infection level increases as you play, and if it reaches 100%, will quickly tick away her health. If Jenosa dies in this manner, she transforms into a Scurge host. However, the infection meter is easily reset by visiting a Save Point.
Jenosa flees her ship in an Escape Pod to Inos' surface. What follows is a fun little isometric action-adventure as Jenosa attempts to accomplish her mission and save herself from the Scurge infection.
Scurge: Hive provides examples of:
- Abnormal Ammo: In addition to your standard energy blast, Jenosa's gauntlets can be upgraded to project fireballs, electromagnetic pulses, and "dissipator" blasts.
- Action Girl: Jenosa is a determined female hero in the vein of a certain other platforming bounty hunter.
- After Boss Recovery: Upon defeating a boss, you are rewarded with a large purple blob that confers fully restored health and a generous portion of experience.
- And Your Reward Is Clothes: For completing the game once, you are rewarded with the ability to choose from a variety of recolors for Jenosa.
- Apocalyptic Log: The first few messages you find are about business as usual at the base, frequently mentioning an upgrade you will soon acquire. However, you soon come across logs made by scientists and security personnel hiding out from the Scurge, in increasing states of fear and despair. One log was left by a man who says that his infection containment system in his suit has failed. He says he will try to use his remaining hours of consciousness to delay the Scurge's escape from Inos.
- Arm Cannon: Two, built into Jenosa's gauntlets. Though she only ever appears to be firing one of them.
- Badass: Hey, you would be too if you fought your way through a government research base crawling with hostile infected life forms, whilst coming near to succumbing to that same infection far too many times.
- Battle in the Center of the Mind: The Final Boss fight.
- Beyond the Impossible: Did you think Normal mode was challenging? Try Hard or Insane.
- Body Horror: Once the Scurge infection takes control, you lose all cognitive ability and become a slave to The Source.
- Boss Arena Recovery: A few bosses spawn lesser enemies you can kill for health.
- Broken Bridge: Many areas are inaccessible to the player until after Jenosa acquires a given upgrade.
- Building Swing: Well, cliff swinging, really. Jenosa's magnetic tether receives a grappler upgrade, allowing her to use specific grapple points to slingshot across longer gaps.
- Bullet Time: Courtesy of the Adrenaline Booster upgrade. Used to negotiate areas of falling rocks and to complete some of the timed challenges.
- Character Level: Jenosa gains experience by picking up green globules of biomatter left behind by defeated foes. Leveling up confers a higher maximum HP and increased damage from her projectiles.
- Copy and Paste Environments: Somewhat. There are a handful of scenery sets made up of predefined components. (Every area has the same doors) There's enough to appear somewhat samey, but not enough to annoy the average player.
- Critical Annoyance: Two different types. One is the standard low-life beep when Jenosa's health runs low, the other is a heartbeat sound that begins at 60% infection, then gets much faster at 90%. Quick, get to a Save Point!
- Crowning Moment of Awesome: Jenosa's final victory against The Source in her own head!
- Crowning Music of Awesome: Take your pick, there are many good tunes in this game.
- Demonic Spiders: Rare, but there are a few enemies that can really pose a problem, due to your being limited to moving and shooting in only eight directions while they have complete freedom of movement.
- Determinator: Jenosa isn't about to let a little thing like a mind-eating virus stop her.
- Doppleganger Attack: Subversion: ( The Source's final form summons up to three duplicates to attack you, but these duplicates are of Jenosa rather then the boss. It is vital you destroy these duplicates quickly, if all three are around long enough The Source can use it's most powerful attack and drain a significant portion of your health.
- Double Jump: Possible, with the aid of an upgrade.
- Elaborate Underground Base: Portions of the Research Facility are underground. The entire base is mazelike, and the underground areas are no exception.
- Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Not the standard fire/ice/lightning arrangement so much as fire/EMP/"dissipation". The mechanic is identical, however. Each type of enemy (biological, mechanical or energy-based) is weak to one weapon, is strengthened and sped up by another, and takes damage equal to the basic shot from the third.
- Eldritch Abomination: The Source seems to increase in intelligence and maleficence as it absorbs everything around it. Allowing this thing to escape Inos would not be a good idea.)
- Everything's Better with Spinning: Jenosa flips when she jumps in any direction save straight up, sending her impressively-long ponytail into a spindash-like swirl.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The title.
- Exposition Fairy: Jenosa's suit's onboard AI, Magellan.
- Expy: Jenosa Arma to Samus Aran. Hell, the names are similar.
- Fan Nickname: Isometroid. Pretty self-explanatory.
- Fire, Ice, Lightning: Well, Fire/EMP/Dissapator, but still.
- Fiery Redhead: Jenosa, natch.
- Final Exam Boss: Well, not the final, but the second-to-last boss requires you to constantly change beams to keep dealing maximum damage to him.
- Freeze Ray: Though less of a ray then an area-of-effect attack. A purely defensive measure, as the frozen enemies become impervious to attack. They can be dragged onto pressure plates to activate devices in the environment, however.
- From a Single Cell: All it takes for the Scurge to become a problem.
- Fungus Humongous: The Scurge infests whole areas of walls and ground throughout the base. Touching this red Creep-like substance slows you down and causes your infection meter to tick far more rapidly.
- Ghost Planet: Not once do you ever encounter a researcher face-to-face. Well, uninfected, at any rate.
- Goddamned Bats: Most weaker enemies until you acquire the beam they are weak to, which is thankfully early on. However, the tentacles that emerge from the red goo to shoot poison gas at you continue to be annoying throughout the game. The little floating balls of fire are also annoying, as they are often positioned to screw up your jumps.
- Grappling Hook Pistol: The magnetic tether, the first upgrade in the game. Used to drag blocks and frozen enemies onto pressure plates and to sling across gaps once you acquire that upgrade.
- Isometric Projection: The game's viewpoint. Looks cool, but can make platforming a pain due to the lack of perspective shifting.
- Late to the Party
- Latex Space Suit: Jenosa's suit is rather form-fitting.
- Kill It with Fire: Possible, once the Combustion upgrade is in your possession. Lethal against biological enemies, but only makes mechanicals stronger.
- Male Gaze: Every cinematic shot of Jenosa emphasizes the junk in her trunk. Even her sprite emphasizes it.
- Nightmare Fuel: Like any setting involving an invasive virus that can assimilate other lifeforms, it's there. Some of the ApocalypticLogs provide some, but the creepiest moment comes when Jenosa confronts (The Source
- One Woman Army: Jenosa is one tough cookie, but she probably had little real idea what she was getting into. Didn't stop her, of course.
- Palette Swap: Many enemies, as well as Jenosa herself, as an option after completing the game once.
- Personal Space Invader: The titular parasites, as well as a floating jellyfish-looking enemy that latches onto you and saps away your life.
- Powered Armor: Jenosa's suit.
- Power Crystal: Lensman-like hand crystals on both of Jenosa's gauntlets. Serve as the emitters for her beam weapons.
- Rapunzel Hair: How does Jenosa avoid tripping over that impressive ponytail of hers?
- Redheaded Hero
- Save Point: Triply vital, as in addition to saving your game, they refill your health and reset your infection meter. Referred to as sick bays or decontamination platforms in the map and by Magellan, respectively. The first thing to be marked on your map upon entering a new area.
- Shout-Out: The entire game, to Metroid.
- Standard Status Effects: Jenosa can be poisoned by several biological-type enemies, turning her a pulsating green. But she takes only trivial damage from this.
- Sole Survivor: In the end, only Jenosa remains.
- Swiss Army Weapon: Jenosa's gauntlets. They can also fire grenades in addition to the aforementioned beams and freeze blast. Where do these grenades come from? Same place as Samus Aran's missles, one might venture.
- Timed Mission: The whole game minus the ship introduction and first boss fight, due to your infection meter. Also, the timed shoot-the-targets challenges you must complete to obtain the upgrades.
- That One Boss: The Source, in it's final form. Shoot the duplicates or die.
- The Virus: The eponymous Scurge, capable of infecting and taking control of not only organic lifeforms, but robots and energy-based beings as well. Controlled by a Hive Mind and capable of learning.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Possible, using the Palette Swap feature.
- X Meets Y: Metroid meets... an isometric perspective.