SYSTEM
PSX

PRICE
$39.99

DEVELOPER
Z-Axis

PUBLISHER
Activision

RELEASE
10/99

Space Invaders Review

By: John Doe


Oh oh, here I go again. Stop me if you've heard it...I remember running home from school in 1978 to play this game on my Atari 2600. I couldn't get enough as I recall. Those crafty aliens lining up in row after predictable row, me hiding underneath my tattered shields, the incessant droning of their engines that sounded like a furious electronic squadron marching on their way to the apocalypse, the crappy Atari joystick that wouldn't hold up against a wall-hucking, never mind a good biting. Oh those were the days. My pants were bell-bottoms, my hair was on top of my head instead of my back and re-runs of Happy Days were never more than 3 channels away. Now more than 20 years later, I return to battle with this relentless alien menace. Foes I had once thought destroyed forever, have regrouped and grew stronger. Their only goal? To destroy their most hated enemy, me, even if it brings the end of the universe. Get my bell-bottoms and toupee, it's Space Invader butt-kicking time again. Just let me tuck the kids in and I'll get right on it...


Highs:
Lows:

3:30 AM. The ringing of the phone, yanks me from my slumber. I rush sleepily to the living room to answer it's call, wishing that I had a phone near my bedside like everyone on television and in the movies. "Doe here," I bark into the receiver. The voice on the other end of the phone is a familiar one, although we haven't spoken in over two decades. It's a voice I hoped I would never hear again.

"Doe, it's happening again. Just like in '78," the voice whispers into my ear. "We've picked them up on radar. We need you down here right away."

"I told you guys that I was through. Remember, right after that marathon battle that took about 12 hours back in '78, when I said, 'I never want to do this again." What part of that didn't you guys understand?" I start to hang up the phone when a brilliant flash of light from outside, knocks me to the floor. Then I hear that sound...that crunching buzzing that almost drove me insane during that epic battle 21 years ago. When I get to my feet, I realize I'm not alone. At first I don't recognize my old nemesis. But when you've spent 12 hours trying to annihilate someone, you tend to grow a little familiar. "Hello Pixel-Boy, it's been a long time," I say to the figure in my kitchen. He hated being called Pixel-Boy. I've just thrown the first punch. Doe 1, Aliens zippo.

As Pixel-Boy moves into the moonlight that is creeping through my Dukes of Hazzard curtains, I see he's changed. "Call meeeee what you will Doe, but as you can seeeee, I've changed quite a bit since our lassssst encounter." As he opens the fridge to steal a pudding pop, his true form becomes fully illuminated. He isn't Pixel-Boy anymore. He almost looks like he's made of hundreds if not thousands of tiny geometric shapes that have been fused together to make this putrid, unholy carcass that stands towering over me. "Poly-gon want a cracker?" I crack wise to him, "It'll be better for your figure than that pudding pop, chubby." I'm being cocky, but underneath I'm scared. He's really changed. He looks much more powerful than he did way back when I was trying to carve him up a new as- But I can't finish the thought. In an instant he races over to the television and grabs something.

"I've found it! Ha Ha Ha! If you ever want to see it again, Doe, you had better come outside. A bunch of old friendssss want to killlllll, I mean, seeeeeee you."

"What have you got there?" I cry. But the words haven't even escaped my lips before I realize what has just taken place. I'm puzzled at his actions. Even for him, this seems lame.

"What's wrong Doe? If you won't fight, we'll make you fight. If you ever want to see your copy of Activision's super-fun Tony Hawk'sssss Pro Ssssskater, which received a 10 out of 10 rating from you, then you'll have to come and get it."

"You fool. I'm not going to fight over that game, which features 10 pro skaters, cool environments, great control and an excellent soudtrack. I'll just go and get another one. Did you think that retarded plan would actually work?"

The now-named Polygon-Boy hunched his back and hissed. "Good luck trying to find one, as we've now gained possession over every copy on this miserable planet. Your copy was the last, and I hope you didn't get your greasy fingerprints and drool all over it like those morons at your competition."

"Hey, watch it," I interject. "You can insult me, but don't you ever talk that way about, oh wait, did you say our competition? Oh that's okay. Continue."

"If you ever want to play the game again that you yourself called "...one of the best games I've ever played," then you had better get dresssssed. And if I may recommend going to the bathroom now, causssse thissss isss going to be a looooong fight." With that Polygon-Boy throws down a smoke pellet and tries to escape under the blanket of fog. Unfortunately for him he trips on the baby-gate and really cracks his head on the bottom stair. "Sonuva-" I hear him mutter as he smashes through the back door.

So it's come to this. Those inhumane monsters have deprived everyone of their basic right to enjoy a game that should be played by every fun loving Earthling. I call up HQ, but end up waking up some poor guy in Dallas. Hey it's been 21 years since I've dialed that number. I'm not frikkin' Rain-Man. Luckily I had it written down on my Farrah Fawcett poster. "Get the tank ready," I command. "This time it's personal. Well, kind of."

As I'm heading down the tunnels to the tank, my main man, X, explains that they've made many improvements to the tanks in the last twenty years. "We didn't just sit around and do nothing Doe," he says. "Well that's not entirely true. We had to get rid of some of the slackers and morons we had stinking up the place. I hear that those guys are over at your competition now. Hmmm... some companies will hire anybody."

"Hey, say what you want about me, but don't insult the hard work of, oh wait did you say, our competition? Oh, that's okay. Continue." As we speed down the corridor, my thoughts turn to Tony Hawk. How is he taking this? He must be pissed. I mean, finally someone makes an incredible skateboarding game, and now it's gone. And probably before the royalty checks started pouring in.

In a mere matter of moments I'm shown the controls. Pretty much as I remembered them. I can move left to right and shoot. Unfortunately the one fault the last tank had was that I couldn't shoot another laser beam until the previous one had hit a targer or been dissolved and this new tank is no different. Great, that'll make things easier I whine. Then X, explains the new and improved features. Based on organic-reproduction-fussion-empowerment, I will be able to power-up a new weapon by eliminating four aliens of the same kind. The powered-up weapon will be a one-shot deal but will help in the fight against the alien menace. For example, he says, if I shoot four green aliens, my tank will generate the Horizontal Burst Right weapon which fires straight up until it hits an alien and then travels to the right, taking out anything its path. Cool. X warns me that to build up the tanks power-up technology, I must shoot 4 of the same species of alien in a row, or my weapons won't be increased. The tank is capable of 11 different weapons like this, not to mention the alien technology that I can steal from their Motherships that fly overhead. These will provide the tank with shields, fill up the tanks energy meter, enable the life-saving doubleshot and one is even powerful enough to stop time itself for 5 seconds. X also mentions that they have even improved upon the blockades which act as a stationary fortress. He reminds me that they will slowly disintegrate if shot, but this time they can be propelled into the stratosphere and take out some scum. I'm beginning to like coming out of retirement.

"Lock and load people," I command. The technicians turn their heads and snicker. I overhear one of them say, "Who does this idiot think he is, Duke Nukem?"

I turn my head in their general direction and bark in an I-mean-business tone, "You better pray that I succeed or you'll be playing Street Sk8tr for the rest of your freakin' lives, Numbnutz." Then one guy throws a juicebox at my head. The youth today just don't have any respect.

When I arrive on the scene, it sure doesn't take long for Polygon-Boy's minions to show up. I slice through them with ease. What can I say? I'm a pro. I was doing this back before they had saxzserfhgi on their hrffzixzx. The first few squadrons fall easily. Then the Crush Boss appears. This was new. I don't remember them using these bullies before. No matter. He tries to crush me, but I've got something he doesn't; namely a fear that I'll never play Tony Hawk's Pro Skater again. Drawing on that emotion, I blast him into smithereens. He never had a chance.

Then the next squads show up and then more and then another. It's just like 21 years ago except my pants are a helluva lot bigger. These guys are relentless, just as I remembered. I'm pulling out all of my new tricks, but these guys haven't come all this way without learning a few new ones themselves. My shields are getting really low. One more hit and then I'm gone. This is it. They've won. All I can do is watch while the blast from a Burster Alien rains down me. I close my eyes, say a silent prayer and then...nothing. All of a sudden to my right I see another tank, in much better shape than mine speed over.

"Out of the way, Rookie," I hear crackle over my headset, "I'll take over and show you how it's really don-" But in his haste to be showy, Player 2 gets his head blown off in one shot. Poor sucker. But he did buy me some time and a continue. As I fight over these impossible odds, only one thing is for sure; I should have went to the bathroom like Polygon-Boy told me.

After a time, a heckuva lot less than 12 hours mind you, it seems like I've been through about 80 waves of enemies. I finally meet Polygon-Boy, but he's changed even since I last saw him snacking on my hard-earned pudding pops.

"How's your head, Polygon-Boy? You've got to watch out for those dramtatic exits. They'll kill you," I say into my heasdet, hoping that he's on the same frequency or a perfectly good insult would go to waste.

"The only persssson who'll be killing anyone, issss me killing you, Doe. I admire your tenacity though. The pathetic fools at your competition only lassssted about 10 minutessss, and then proceeded to tell everyone that they had reached me. I can assure you if they had reached me, they'd be dead right now."

"Leave those blowhards from our competition out of this. They're just pawns in your scheme. It's me you want, Polygon-Boy"

"Actually Doe, for once you are wrong. It really isssss Tony Hawk's Pro Skater that I want this time. You see, I'm opening up an EB on Uranus and we need sssstock. Oh and call me Golem, that'ssss my sssstage name."

"Howzabout I call you Burnquist? Huh Bob? I'm not stupid." Actually I'm not the brightest candle on the cake, but he doesn't need to know that.

"NO! How could you have figured it out? Damn you, Doe! Yessss, I admit it. I'm Bob Burnquissssst, one of the top pro skateboarders in the world. After you dessssstroyed my Ssssquadron in '78, I hid in Encinitas, Brazil where I inhabited a human baby boy. Using my vasssst intellectual powerssss it wassssn't hard for me to masssster the useless art of sssskateboarding and use it to take over the world. However, nothing prepared me for the freak that issss Tony Hawk. He wasssss able to land the 900 at the X-treme gamessssss. That drove me mad and shamed me. Then as a second blow to my delicate ego, he received top billing in that game developed by Neversoft and published by Activision. That game was my birthright Doe!!! And sssssooo if I can't get top billing, I thought maybe I'd just take all of the copiessss and leave the planet. Not a bad plan, eh?"

"You sick twisted monster. I'll see to it that you don't leave this planet alive. Or at the very least, I'll give you another headache. Too bad I didn't bring my baby gate, huh? Let's lock and load, " I commanded. Polygon-Boy/Golem/Burnquist turned his head and snickered. And then someone threw a juicebox at the tank. It was one fierce battle with, of course, yours truly coming out on top, otherwise how would you be reading this? I couldn't help but feel sorry for my fallen foe. To be driven mad over top-billing. As I engaged the tractor beam which locked on to all of the stolen copies of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, (which is now available again wherever videogames are sold), I smiled. Life on Earth would once again be peaceful because I had a used boatload of weapons to eradicate all sorts of advanced alien life-forms over a videogame.

Epilogue: It had been twenty four hours since I first received the call. I laid down, pulled my Joannie Loves Cha-Chi sheets over me and settled down for a long, well deserved sleep. 3:30 AM. I am slammed out of my slumber by the phone. It's HQ. It seems that all of the videogames I retreived from Polygon-Boy/Golem/Burnquists space ship have gone missing again. I say, "That's nice. Now don't bother me again." I hang up and head back to bed. The phone rings all night. I'm not surprised that he survived the battle. He's a tough monkey. But I don't have any reason to worry; Polygon-Boy/Golem/Burnquist will be lightyears away from Earth before he realizes that I replaced all of the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater discs inside the jewel cases with Hello Kitty Cube Frenzy, The Spice Girls and Elmo's Letter Adventure games. Oh he's gonna be mad. Revenge is a dish best served cold and if you rub some Hello Kitty into the wound, all the better. See you in another couple of decades. Now it's time to lock and load these blankets. Ouch! Hey, who keeps throwing juiceboxes?

OVERALL
7.0

GRAPHICS
7.0

CONTROL
7.0

MUSIC/FX
6.0

FRUSTRATION
3.0

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