Space Invaders Extreme 2
Posted 3 years ago By - Joe Law
Ah the arcade. Oh the number of quarters I’ve blown and time I’ve wasted away playing those wondrous machines. Back in 1978, quite a few years before I was born, the first Space Invaders game came out in arcades. Luckily the game made the jump to consoles which gave me a chance, at a very young age, to play the game. Now Taito thinks they can re-invent the arcade classic with the Extreme series on DS. The big question though is did they do a good job at re-inventing such a classic?
With classic arcade games, there really is no extensive plot to go by other than a basic catch-all. With Donkey Kong, it was rescuing your girlfriend from a giant King Kong wannabe, in Space Invaders you’re a tank or, in Extreme 2’s case, a space fighter who’s trying to thwart an alien invasion. But hey, these are classic arcade titles, if you were looking for a compelling story you’re barking up the wrong tree.
The gameplay is fairly simplistic and really only constitutes of scrolling from side to side and mashing the A or B button to shoot. On the topic of shooting I found it rather odd that you can only use the A or B button to shoot. While that may not seem like a bad thing at first, due to the location of the A and B button any extended play of this game with generously-sized hands is a surefire way to get thumb cramp. Simply allowing the use of at least the Y button would have made playing this game for longer periods of time more bearable.
There are two primary game modes in Space Invaders Extreme 2: Score Attack and Time Attack. Both game modes are relatively the same and only really differ in principle. In Score Attack, your goal is to just get the highest score possible in each stage via destroying aliens, getting Fever Time, and completing Bingos. In Time Attack, the principle is flipped around and instead of a score you’re simply focusing on completing stages in the quickest time possible for higher scores while still trying to nab Fever Times and Bingos.
I like the addition of power-ups to the game as well as the more diverse range of alien formations. The boss battles also add a very interesting and fun element to the gameplay. While most of the boss battles are fairly fun there are some that are just pathetically easy while others, such as the last boss of Stage 5A, can be fairly annoying. For the most part however the boss battles are a welcome addition and break up the monotony of just scrolling side to side and shooting aliens.
Speaking of shooting aliens, two features have been added to Space Invaders Extreme 2 that was not added in previous games: Fever Time and Bingo. With a variety of multi-colored aliens, Taito added a mechanic where, if you shoot a certain number of same colored aliens in a row, you get a specialized color combo going. Kill two sets of four like-colored aliens in a row and you get a “bonus” feature which appears on the top screen and usually consists of larger aliens you have to destroy. These range from destroying aliens consisting of black to smacking small black aliens into a large blue one and more.
Completing this bonus feature will unlock a very brief bonus round called Fever Time, where upon every alien you kill spawns quickly falling gold pick-ups which grant you extra points. You have to act quickly however, as not only does Fever Time not last very long but you also have to try to maneuver yourself to catch as many of the falling golden extra points pick-ups as you can. To complicate matters your enemies will still fire at you, making the odd occurrence of you dying during Fever Time a possibility.
This brings us to Bingo. Every time you complete a Fever Time, a color combination is stored on a three-by-three chart on the top of the screen. If you can make a line with these blocks it activates a special uber-bonus round called Bingo. Bingo varies in severity and payoff depending on how the chart is filled but, more often than not, only consists of a bunch of gold aliens and spaceships flying around that drop a very generous amount of gold points. There are some pink ones flying around as well which give you an even greater point boost.
All in all, the gameplay, even with the new additions, stays very true to the original game and doesn’t break the feel any. All of the additions are welcome ones and just add some depth to what was once a very simplistic, albeit difficult, game.
Graphics & Audio
Well there’s not much to say about the graphics. The game maintains the original games 8-bit feel right down to even the giant bosses in all their square pixilated glory. Frankly it wouldn’t be space invaders without it and even so they still manage to do a great job on the visual effects. However, with that being said, the background images and activity was incredibly annoying and put me off a bit. While I’m sure they looked nice during development, during actual gameplay they’re distracting, annoying, and just make the screen feel much too busy to the point where often projectiles from aliens can go unnoticed.
The sound, on the other hand, was very nice. It kept the retro feel of the game intact while adding a bit of an electronica sound. Even the sound of the blaster from your ship has variance to break up the repetition. The game has also been given a male announcer which I actually found was pretty cool, it makes an old arcade classic feel like it would be right at home in today’s arcades. With that being said though there’s really nothing spectacular about the sound and nothing that really blew me away, even for an arcade title. But that may just be me being picky.
At first glance, this game doesn’t really look like one that would be worth the $20 price tag, however looks can be deceiving and one really can’t judge a book by its cover. With the game’s three modes, varying difficulties, multi-path gameplay, multiplayer, and uploadable high scores it really makes itself worth that price tag in sheer replay value. The game continues to make itself worth every penny of that price via having single-card download play, allowing a friend with a DS to play alongside you even if they don’t have their own copy of the game.
For $20 this game is pretty much a steal. Most arcade-style games can only dream of having this much replay value yet the game is simple enough that even a novice can dive into it with little trouble. If you’re looking for something to cure boredom on long car rides, wanting something to cure that nostalgia itch, or simply are looking for a great game for cheap than look no further than Space Invaders Extreme 2.
+ Interesting use of the dual screen for Fever Time and boss battles.
+ Great replay value for an arcade title.
+ Great price point.
- No allowed use of Y or X make thumb cramping almost guaranteed.
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Release Date : 2009/10/20
System : Nintendo DS
Publisher : Taito
Developer : TAITO
Category : Arcade
ESRB : E
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
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