Some of the best memories from my early childhood come from some of the great arcade juggernauts I used to play for hours on end. I used to be hooked on to DominoQQ, which was where I used to spend most of my time. Space Invaders, was one of the old classics, that set the standard for the future of gaming. Square Enix decided to take an old concept and not only improve it vastly, but evolve it to a whole other level.
Space Invaders Extreme 2 follows the same principal as it’s old retro cousin. The player assumes the role of a lone star ship (I guess because Earth only has one), taking pop shots at the oncoming alien invasion. Evasively, only being able to move vertically back and forth in a symmetrical horizon, while taking heavy fire from the menacing alien horde, is your only means of defense. This would go on endlessly for hours, until bitter submission or boredom finally caught up, when the aliens finish you off, eventually landing to take over. The only true victory in defect, was how many enemy ships you take down with you, calculating a score that was hopefully higher then your friends.
SPI2’s graphic output clearly diffuses the old charm of its retro ASCII text based graphics. The bright flashing lights illuminating from the players ship and the enemy horde gives the spirits more vibrance, alongside moving backgrounds, and strobe light effects creating a rave party setting. Any club kid would feel right at home, however, anyone who is ecliptic would probably drop their Nintendo DS from the all of the moving objects and blinking lights,falling to the ground, foaming and shaking uncontrollably.
The music in this game is out of this world. As I am typing this review, I put the game on pause to enjoy the cool techno/trance tracks playing in the background. I wish the DS would glow as I played, because I feel like twirling glow sticks. Not only is the music cool, the sound effects that pitch in as shots are fired and enemy ships are destroyed, keeps a beat following the music, complimenting one another. The game also has a narrative voice over, reminding me of a DJ keeping the party going. “Nice Job Maverick”!!
The game is structured into five sub levels. Gone, is the same level time and again, giving the game a little more variety. You can actually save earth and finish the game after finishing level five. There are also score and time attacks modes to keep yourself challenged and with the DS wifi you can link online to compare scores to other players.
Game play does not deviate to far from the classic, The enemies dance back and forth per usual, however, it is not the same monotonous battle tactics from as the original. Using the double screen structure of the DS, enemies approach from both screens making the challenge of evade and destroy a lot more complex then previous. Not only have their numbers increased, Alien technology has evolved as well. Baddies come in all different shapes and sizes. Using bright lights to distract, firing relentlessly. You have to hope your retinas can retail light and movement fast enough to keep up. Enemies also can change pitch and speed to confuse the player, while putting up barriers to keep your weapons at bay. Boss characters make appearances at the end of every level in attempts to enslave humanity. So have the aliens finally found a way to defeat the lone savior of the human race, as alien technology has evolved so has Earth’s defenses.
Armed with a simple yellow flashy laser, you cut down alien ships one by one. Some ships, after they are destroyed, leave behind colored cubes temporarily giving the player a weapon boost. The blue cube is a cool cutting laser, red cube arms the player with spread nukes, a green cube with a spread shot and a black cube with a damage doubling projectiles.
All of these improvements and add ons not only makes Space Invaders more enjoyable, it gives the concept new life. Goes to show, that a negative outcome does not always follow when a company wants to modify an old idea. So pick up your DS, tune in, blast some aliens and join the rave party.