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RevolvingDork Space Invaders Extreme (XBLA) Review
Fri, May 22, 2009 2:41pm EDT
By RevolvingDork

Space Invaders Extreme is a re-imagining of the original arcade classic released in 1978 ( yes, Space Invaders came out over thirty years ago. You can start feeling old now ). Smartly opting to hammer home nostalgia, the backbone of the game’s visual design has been left unchanged. The enemies and the protaganistic cannon are all styled as blockily as they were in 1978.

Space Invaders Extreme was originally released for the DS and PSP in 2008. This version adds an HD presentation and numerous multiplayer modes to last year's offerings.

At its core, the gameplay has not changed from the arcade original. You control a cannon positioned at the bottom of the screen that can be moved horizontally. Above you, a wave of aliens measuring up to 12 pixels long moves laterally and slowly descends toward your cannon, firing lasers and missiles sporadically. Your task, of course, is to survive as long as it takes to rack up a high score.

Space Invaders Extreme deviates from this familiar template by including intricately scripted enemy patterns, a deeply complex scoring system, and weapon power-ups. There are boss fights, bonus rounds, and invaders holding tiny reflective shields.

The "extreme" icing on the cake is a soundtrack consisting entirely of PULSE-POUNDING TECHNO MUSIC. Every shot you fire is marked by a jarring synth orchestra hit sound, which gets annoying rather quickly. I found myself looking for an option to switch the sound effect voicing to something less overbearing, but no such option exists.

The scoring is quite complex and difficult to actively manage as it's based on many factors: the types of invaders you destroy, their colors, their formation, and the number of enemies you've hit in rapid succession. Attempting to nail all of these arbitrary markers while not dying is a tedious juggling act. I felt like I was missing out on the strategy whenever I had to dodge bullets to stay alive.

The multiplayer modes are a nice addition, but online play is hampered by an omnipresent lag that slows your actions down to almost a full second after gamepad buttons are pressed. If Capcom was able to get Street Fighter 4 working smoothly over the tubes, you’d think that it would be possible for Space Invaders to do the same.

If the scoring system was a little more balanced, Space Invaders Extreme could have been a truly great retro game on par with the likes of Geometry Wars 2. As it stands, it’s merely a pleasant short-term distraction.
I don't even think I played the demo for more than five minutes.

How're you getting screenshots? Taking them yourself or just grabbing 'em somewhere?
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2022 Chris Maguire