Review - Space Invaders Extreme (JP/USA)

June 4, 2008 · Print This Article

After I heard about this remake, I couldn’t resist getting an early copy via my Import store. This game, and perhaps one other (Pacman) has a deep root in gaming history for me. Also, like Pacman and Tetris, it started an obsession that has yet abated after all these years.

Since this was being made for the DS, I was overjoyed but also discouraged since I forwarded my DS Lite to my younger brother who longed for one of his own. Let it be known, DW is merciful. Then news of a PSP version scorched my ears. Taito could not have made this old gamer any happier.

Everything about this game reeks retro, but, with a dash of psychedelic mayhem. The female announcer, a nice touch, that reminds you of the female host for Lumines, gives the menu system a slick feel. The inclusion of a wider color scheme, and the onslaught of an insane scrolling-parallax-effect-filled-backgrounds, and its techno music are great additions to this old shooters’ overall experience.

The game doesn’t go into any of these avenues heavily to break the original presentation of Space Invaders, but adds to it. It’s a common thing to take an old game like this one and turn it into something so new, that it takes away from its original visual appeal. In short, it looks damn good, regardless of the fact that the title is 30 years old!

Let me say this: I love fever time, JackPot, and bonus rounds. Fever time occurs ever so often during gameplay and gives you the chance to rake in the points. JackPots occur when you best all the foes on the screen as soon as possible. Bonus rounds seem to occur randomly giving you new objectives throughout the stage and levels. This includes taking out everything on the screen or something more specific.

Shooterfans will rejoice because SIE remains cautious where additions like these do not break the experience in any way. The remixed soundtracks updates the classic theme and gives the in-game sounds, and soundtrack, a fresh but familiar feel. Power-ups, though cheap at first, turn out to be a much needed asset in the later stages. Fever time, bonus rounds, and boss battles will have you wanting these more and more. If you can’t keep up stage after stage with the alien onslaught, you have the option to continue from your last stage after a system shutdown. Nothing new, but for Space Invaders, it’s like the holy grail.

Should I explain what needs to be done: destroy everything in sight, as fast as possible, without letting anyone escape. Sounds easy right? This is why games like these shine. The simplicity of their gameplay make you realize - “what the hell is all the graphics in the world for anyways?”

After all my years of gaming, I was hoping that I would way more skilled at this title but it can still put up a challenge. If you miss your foes, they swipe again, but the real object is to get them on the first swipe, and in most cases to gain insane bonus points. Killing a column of the same foes yields your power-ups where each set of the same colored aliens derives a different type of power-up. Among the power-ups include a bomb like upgrade, a laser beam that expands to to the top of the screen, an extra ship that shadows you, and others. Each power-up will last for a given amount of time but you take it a step further by homing in on the red glowing foes. Once hit, these guys blow up, taking out any near by buddies.

Then there are the speeding space ships that lay above the alien hordes. I was half expecting the game to allow me to fly all over the screen to catch these guys, but was shocked that you could only move on its classic one line axis. “This is how the game is played” I reminded myself. I later realized it is also a pivotal element of space invaders. Other modes included Versus, which has match play, and practice (you’ll need it, trust me), and Stage Mode. Also, if you don’t like the scrolling backgrounds, you can turn it off with the Movie Mode setting option.

What more can be said? If you were a fan of this title all those years ago, or if you’re just curious to see what the big deal is, then this game is worth it. Newer gamers may find this title very frustrating given the high levels of endurance it expects from you. Especially if you want to achieve insane points. Classic gamers, like myself, are just happy that Taito decided to update the game.


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