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Platform

PSP

 

Genre

Action / Arcade

 

Publisher

Square-Enix

 

Developer

Taito

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

June 17, 2008

 

 

‑ Another triumphant retro redux return just like Pac-Man (in Pac-Man Championship Edition)

‑ Increasing difficulty as gamers progress to higher and higher levels

‑ Budget price for a high-quality game

‑ Fun Boss Battles

 

 

‑ Seizure inducing background (but thankfully it can be turned off)

‑ One of the main components of the original, attaining a high score, is less emphasized than progressing through levels

 

 

Review: Metal Slug Anthology (PSP)

Review: X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse (PSP)

Review: God of War: Chains of Olympus (PSP)

 

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Space Invaders Extreme

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

Just over 30 years ago, the Golden Age of arcades explosively began with the release of Space Invaders. Along with Asteroids and Pac-Man, Space Invaders began the journey of gaming that has evolved from plunking quarter after quarter into an arcade cabinet to the multibillion console and PC gaming industry of today.

 

space invaders extreme          space invaders extreme

 

What made Space Invaders the classic that it is was the duality of its gameplay. It was a simple concept: defeat row after row of unending waves of invaders from space. However, that simplicity was counterbalanced by the difficulty of actually shooting the onrushing creatures that moved faster and faster as they closed in on the gamersí laser cannon, the only line of defense from the never-ending alien horde. And gamers loved it, as they just couldnít get enough of Space Invaders back in 1978.

 

Now, three decades later, Space Invaders has returned with Space Invaders Extreme for the PSP (at a great budget price of just $20US). This isnít just a simple port of the classic game onto a current-generation gaming system, though. Just like Pac-Manís modern makeover with Pac-Man Championship Edition (which has nearly resulted in this reviewer having to consider attending a 12-step program to wean

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off the addiction of eating tiny yellow pellets and blue ghosts for hours on end), Space Invaders Extreme brings the old-school classic into the present, revamping the gameplay and graphics while still retaining plenty of the aura that made Space Invaders so popular way back when.

 

Again just like Pac-Manís contemporary upgrading, the simple yet highly popular

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gameplay remains essentially the same in Space Invaders Extreme. Wave of invaders cross the screen in various shapes and sizes and gamers must use their laser cannon to eliminate them. But there are a few new wrinkles in the gameplay. Shooting certain invaders releases a power-up from them that increases the laser cannonís firing power, from multiple projectiles all the way up to unleashing a devastatingly mighty laser beam. Using these weapons is a necessity as gamers move into the higher echelons of Space Invaders Extremeís leveling-up system, which is somewhat of a variation from the original arcade Space Invaders.

 

In the original, gamers were more concerned with achieving a high score to initialize for all to see instead of worrying about advancing to the next level. But the earliest games in the arcade Golden Age were almost all like that. Todayís gamers, however, want to have a sense of accomplishment of completing levels, even though thereís still a scoring system in Space Invaders Extreme.

 

The payoff for annihilating the invaders in each level is a final Boss Battle. This is a great finale to a multi-tiered level, requiring adept shooting skills against a fierce and wily large-scale invader with plenty of pressure-packed gameplay (if you run out of ďextra livesĒ in the Boss Battle, itís right back to the very first board of the entire level).

 

space invaders extreme          space invaders extreme

 

Much like the classic arcade game, what at first seems like simple gameplay is really deceptively challenging (and very addicting), as gamers will soon realize when they square off against the final boss on each level. There are also a few mini-game bonuses in the form of extra levels that are initiated by destroying certain invaders. This helps to freshen up the gameplay beyond the basic concept, although these bonus mini-games can get a bit repetitive as you traverse further and further into the game.

 

Visually, Space Invaders Extreme is much more colorful, using just primary colors. However, thereís a funky, almost seizure-inducing background thatís constantly moving and bouncing around the screen that is very distracting at times. Thankfully, there is the option to turn off the schizophrenic background for those gamers that find it too bothersome.

 

Space Invaders Extreme is a great retro redux of the original, bringing memories flooding back front and center to the conscious of those old enough to remember throwing many, many coins into Space Invaders cabinets back when arcades were where all the hardcore gamers fed their gaming addiction. At the same time giving, todayís younger gaming audience gets a glimpse of one of the games that was responsible for initiating the entire gaming industry in a completely new and highly entertaining incarnation.

 

‑ Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(September 12, 2008)

 

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