Space Invaders Extreme
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2008-07-20 PSP Arcade E (Everyone) Taito / Square Enix

Celebrating the 30th anniversary of this old classic, Taito has released a revamped edition of Space Invaders. How does this three-decade old game fare on the PSP? Extremely well, actually!

Space Invaders Extreme combines the original game with a futuristic and colorful look and upbeat music, plus a bunch of power-ups that make it even more fun.

You control the little cannon at the bottom of the screen, shooting and moving it left and right, dodging the enemy projecticles coming from above as the hordes of aliens slowly come down towards you. And that's about as close to the original you will get.

You will first notice that there are no barriers at the bottom to protect you. The little aliens come in different sizes and a variety of colors, in all kinds of formations, sometimes having shields or coming down to attack you. Each level ends in a boss fight, which is a giant space invader composed of several blocks that requires a lot of hits to take down. Actually, the boss fights remind me of Arkanoid in the sense that the blocks making up the alien need to be hit several times before disintegrating.

But the game is more than just shooting enemies and dodging their attacks. You get extra points if you hit several aliens of the same color in a row. Power-ups such as a laser cannon that destroys an entire column, a spread shot or a shield can fall down as you destroy the swarm of aliens. The little UFOs that fly above activates a bonus Round when you manage to hit them.

Rounds are like mini-games, and they can have a series of goals, which have to be completed within a time limit. The goals vary, ranging from collecting falling items or shooting down a certain number of aliens. Achieving these goals takes you into Fever Time, again with a time limit, a super-duper cannon and even more bonus points.

I really enjoyed how the sound effects from shooting and destroying aliens seem to be perfectly in synch with the music, adding to it to create more complex beats.

While the overall presentation still has the original blocky look, and the constantly moving colorful backgrounds may not be elaborate, they actually pose a fairly good challenge. The moving words and shapes end up distracting the player from the actual gameplay.

Unfortunately, there is no online multiplayer nor leaderboards in the PSP version (you might want to pick up the DS version just for that). There is an ad-hoc multiplayer, though it requires both players to own the game. But the single-player is entertaining enough to keep you coming back for more, even if you can go through the five levels fairly quickly.

What's even better is that if you have a newer PSP model and the right cables, you can play this little gem on your TV and it still manages to look very sharp.

It's great to see some classics age gracefully. Space Invaders still manages to be as fun, fast-paced and addictive as it was on any arcade around the world thirty years ago.

Special thanks to Klee Kuo and Square Enix for providing a copy of this title.