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Video Game / Evolva

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Evolva is a third-person action game developed by Computer Artworks, published by Virgin Interactive and Interplay Entertainment, and released in 2000. The player leads a team of four "Genohunters" exploring a planet; each of the Genohunters can develop new abilities by incorporating and altering the DNA they've absorbed from the creatures they have killed. The Genohunters will change their physical appearance (change colors, develop spikes or horns) based on the DNA they've used to mutate themselves. Your Genohunters can punch, jump, super jump, breathe fire, vomit flammable liquids, shoot explosives, scramble enemies brains and spawn small alien offspring that injure enemies.

The game has 12 large, linear levels populated with alien insect-like creatures known as the "parasite guardians". There are different types of these alien creatures. In some of the levels there are "Bosses" at the end which your team of Genohunters must defeat.

Not to be confused with the similarly named Evolve.

Evolva provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Absurdly Sharp Claws: Genohunters are able to get claws able to slice rock walls to pass through them.
  • Action Bomb: Flame Parasites catch fire, and explode after a few seconds, when they're killed.
  • Alien Kudzu: The Parasite proves to be able to fill the whole planet with its mooks. Seriously, just compare the huge number of aliens and the number of indigenes you see in each level.
  • Alien Sea: The sea that appears during levels 9 and 10 is mentioned in the manual as being made of acid, and it proves it by being instantly lethal, should you dive into it.
  • Arm Cannon: Switching into several of the weapons, like the Spore, makes the Genohunters' hands transform into this.
  • The Assimilator: A rare heroic example. Your Genohunters absorb their enemies' bodies to obtain their DNA and use it to get their attacks and skills.
  • Badass Crew: The four Genohunters are able to fight an entire army of aliens by themselves.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: You're forced to do this, as you must mutate to get the defeated enemies' attacks and use them against the enemies, if you don't want to complete the game only with your fists. It's still not recommended to use an attack against the enemy that gave you the attack in the first place.
  • Bee-Bee Gun: The necrocyte weapon allows you to throw spiders that chase your enemies and explode when they touch them. OK, they're not bees, but there's not a trope for spiders...
  • Deflector Shield: One of the skills you can get allows you to use it. It makes you invulnerable during the time is turned on, except against lava (you'll still catch fire as normally, although you won't lose health until the shield wears off) and sea water.
  • Dual Boss: The bomb which is about to blow up the planet during the final level is guarded by two identical giant parasites.
  • Elite Mook: The Genedisruptor Parasites. Appearing only during the two last levels, not only they are significatively larger than any other mook (to the point that their small version is about the same size than standard mooks), but they can take a lot of damage, and their main attack is a beam that drains life fast as hell and confuses your Genohunters (if the affected Genohunter is the one being controlled, it inverts the controls; on non-controlled Genohunters, it makes them start attacking each other).
  • Genetic Adaptation: According to the backstory, the Genohunters are used to exploration tasks because of this trope. They somewhat show it in the actual game: the DNA you acquire from the native wildlife will improve your physical condition, thus allowing you to perform better across the levels.
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: Your Genohunters will change their physical appearance (change colors, develop spikes or horns) based on the DNA (acquired from your enemies) they've used to mutate themselves.
  • Grimy Water: Not the river water that appears in most levels, but the sea water that appears in levels 9 and 10. It drains life quite fast if you merely touch it, and diving into it causes instant death (in contrast to lava, which takes a few seconds to kill you). Oh, and the shield skill doesn't protect you from it.
  • LEGO Genetics: Your Genohunters are able to use their enemies' DNA to transform their body and acquire their attacks.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: You're forced to split your four-men party several times. Level 5 forces you to split it into two groups, as at least one of your Genohunters (and it's recommend two) has to stay watching over a tunnel entrance. In level 6, two Genohunters are initially apart from the others, and in levels 9 and 11 each Genohunter starts on his own.
  • Locked Door: Starting from level 7, you'll need to find some coloured disks (either lying on the ground or dropped by enemies) that serve to open the doors with a circle on its top of the same colour.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: You are supposed to dismember enemies after killing them if you want to collect their DNA for leveling up.
  • Man on Fire: Use the mucus attack against your enemies, then the flame weapon. Hilarity Ensues. Your enemies can do the same thing to you if a mucus and a flame parasite stick together, though. Thankfully, such a situation can only happen at the end of level 11.
  • Manual Leader, A.I. Party: You can only directly control one of your four Genohunters at once. You can switch the active Genohunter at any time. While controlled by the AI, the other Genohunters tend to follow the active one and attack any nearby enemies, although you can tell them to go to a place, attack a specific enemy, or stay where they are.
  • Meat Moss: The towers you have to destroy in several levels? If you watch the initial cutscene, you'll see that the Parasites creates them through dilatations from its tentacles. What means they're made from the same matter as the tentacles.
  • Mini Mook: A few of these appear, especially at the Parasite's headquarters, where they're supposed to be created. They're basically smaller and weaker versions of the regular enemies.
  • Misbegotten Multiplayer Mode: There's a multiplayer mode, but it's kind of tacked on: plain deathmatch that allows you to use your characters from the single-player campaign if you like. Also, finding players is somewhat difficult and the best option is to try to find another player via the Internet protocol. The handful of maps aren't bad (the multi-player maps are medium to large in size and include some of the strangest designs of all the maps in the game), but Evolva multi-player is mostly an afterthought.
  • Mission Control: The player is actually playing as the human briefly seen flying the ship in the intro. The Genohunters are non-sentient constructs controlled remotely.
  • Organic Technology: The Parasite is able to create a good number of towers connected among them and a whole army from their tentacles.
  • Overheating: You have unlimited ammo for your attacks once you get them, but you must wait for them to charge again if you use them for too much time.
  • Planetary Parasite: The Parasite. A giant egg comes to the planet, develops lots of tentacles, creates an army of aliens, and uses the planet's resources to make new eggs, supposedly to send them to other planets.
  • Production Foreshadowing: A very early concept video for this game (titled "Evolva X") appeared on, of all things, a PlayStation demo disc (keep in mind that this game is PC-exclusive) right at the start of 1996, four years before the game was eventually released. Observe.
  • RPG Elements: You must absorb the DNA from your enemies to mutate again and improve your weapons, making DNA something like Experience Points. Besides, you're allowed to customize your characters and choose which attacks and skills you want to improve.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: The genedisruptor beam allows you to make enemies fight against them. Unfortunately, your enemies can do the same thing.
  • Shapeshifter Weapon: All of the weapons you can get. The genohunters' limbs (sometimes the neck or the back) transform each time you select a weapon, as you shoot at the enemies using the transformed limb.
  • Spread Shot: The Spike weapon's secondary attack allows you to throw several spikes at a time, much like a bow multishot.
  • Squad Controls: You can tell the Genohunters to go a certain place, hold, follow you again, pick up an item or attack a certain target.
  • Status Effects: The genedisruptor beam, which has two effects: on your party members that you're not controlling at the moment, it makes them attack each other, something like Confusion; on the directly controlled partly member, it inverts the controls.
  • Unstable Genetic Code: The Genohunters are able to change their DNA (and thus their shape) in mere seconds.
  • Utility Weapon: The first five weapons are also used to cross several obstacles. The Claws can be used to break rock walls, the Flames to burn plant walls, and the Spore to break giant boulders blocking paths. The Spikes can be used to drop explosive spores which are hanging on walls, and the Stealth technique to cross plant doors that close when approached.
  • A Winner Is You: The ending? After you destroy the Parasite's bomb and defeat the two bosses guarding it, the final cutscene just shows the Parasite agonizing and the spaceship leaving the planet. End.
  • Womb Level: Level 12 takes place mainly inside the Parasite's body.
  • Zerg Rush: Seriously, play this game and you'll be amazed at the great amount of numbers of enemies that attack you at the same time every single battle. Sometimes you may enter in combats against twenty enemies or so.