|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|
The aliens have a few different tricks up their sleeves this time. Instead of moving from one side of the screen to another and dropping down to the next level in a predictable manner, some of the aliens will move at different speeds on different lines. Some will have protective armor that will shield them against the first direct hit. Others will be able to turn sideways to reveal their true 2D profile, which is incredibly thin and difficult to hit. Other aliens will drop more destructive weapons, while some will split into two when hit.
An interesting assortment of power-ups are available. You can acquire new weapons by hitting four like-colored aliens in sequence. Target a combo of four blue aliens and you'll get a special laser that last several seconds; long enough to run from one end of the screen to the other. Red aliens will give you a cluster bomb capable of taking out multiple aliens, as it branches through the formation like a streak of lightning. All of these new elements combine to form a new level of strategy never before presented in this game. Hitting a combo of red and blue aliens will release the mothership UFO that does a flyby at the top of the screen. Hit it and you'll unleash a Galaga-style bonus round in which the aliens will swoop at you in various formations. Making combos and activating the mini-game fever modes are great ways to increase your score.
Unlike the DS version, the PSP does not offer an online mode. Included are two-player modes which are a lot of fun, but will require another copy of the game. The game runs smoothly in single or two-player mode. It manages to use the PSP's screen to good effect so that everything is easy to see. However, you may want to turn off the distracting, undulating background. Despite the modern casino-inspired soundtrack, the music pulses perfectly to the onscreen action, essentially marrying the audio with the visual. I found myself going into a musically inspired trance, allowing the beat to complement my timing of the weapons. The controls couldn't be easier. Move left, move right, fire. A more complicated control scheme does not a good game make.
I hope I'm around for the 30th anniversary of Space Invaders Extreme. Not only would I like to see what Taito can do to top it, but that would also mean that I'm still alive.
CCC Senior Writer