|System: PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Taito||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Taito||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 17, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
It's your favorite aliens' 30th anniversary. What did you get them? If you said more improved weapons with which to blast them back to where they came from, then you're not the only thoughtful defender of the Earth.
Welcome to Space Invaders Extreme: the latest iteration by Taito of the incredibly popular Space Invaders arcade game that is celebrating its thirtieth year in existence. There are literally hundreds of different versions of Space Invaders available, from officially updated versions to bizarre emulations. It's a revered premise that is whispered in the same breath as classics such as Pong and Pac-Man. It's a true classic in every sense of the term. If you haven't played a version of Space Invaders in some time, you simply should not miss getting your hands on this title. The premise remains unchanged, but the gameplay has been updated and upgraded to give you more variety and more intense button mashing than ever before. And at twenty bucks, you are definitely going to get your money's worth, as you tell yourself, "Just one more time. Okay, one more. One more and then I'm done. I promise. Alright, this is the last time. Just let me try to finish this #$%&*~ level once and for all " You know the drill.
First the bad news (now that I got the "gush-fest" out of the way). Space Invaders Extreme is an amalgam of classic gameplay styles. Combining elements of Centipede, Galaga, Breakout, and the somewhat obscure Rez (exclusive to the PS2), Space Invaders Extreme offers nothing new at all. But like a Boston cream pie, standard ingredients are blended together in such a way as to create a decidedly delicious digital delight. I'm not so sure that I agree with the term "Extreme," as a more apropos description might be something like Space Invaders - Now With Lots More Things to Do to Keep You Interested.
Hopefully I don't have to describe the gameplay to you. Even if you need a refresher, you had better check the time and the bottom right of your computer screen, as it's probably past your bedtime gramps. Let's just all agree that we have a cannon that only moves horizontally, while shooting at aliens that descend in formation. Virtually every aspect of the original game has been changed in some way. There are more weapons, more power-ups, and different aliens with different characteristics. The music and visuals have been upgraded, but that doesn't necessarily mean for the better. While the game is presented in color, it's still in 2D. There are some pseudo-sci-fi-psychedelic background graphics that pulse and pound in the third dimension, but that can really be distracting. The music is reminiscent of the new style casino slot machines. You can even score jackpots in this game, which indicates the developers are aware of the similarity.
Before I get a little deeper into an explanation of the gameplay, I want to mention that if you play your cards right, you could grab a copy of Space Invaders Extreme for under twenty bucks. When you take into account the hours of addictive gaming you'll get out of it, and then add the multiplayer component into the equation, you'll see you've got a great value on your hands. Sure it's nothing new, but then again there's nothing new about a T-bone steak, but it's still friggin' great.