In 1978 Space Invaders was the talk of the town, people were lining up in their droves to part with pocket change for a turn on this new groundbreaking videogame from Taito. Of course as videogame technology moved on this humble game was surpassed by many cocky new contenders to the shoot-em-up throne, the rest is history.
In light of this it is questionable why Taito saw fit to release this game 16 years later in 1994 on the SNES with hardly any new modes to speak of. In case you were wondering if this is a reinvention of the classic arcade game with snazzy graphics, music and gameplay tweaks such as Galaga ‘90, let’s be clear, it isn’t! This is the same old Space Invaders from three decades ago.
Now this may not be such a bad thing for those with rose tinted specs firmly in place. After all the original game can still be fun, yes it is slow paced by today’s standards but there is nothing fundamentally wrong with it. Sure some may extract a sense of nostalgic bliss from this game, but most others will be left questioning why they wasted 800 precious Wii points on something so outdated.
For those who grew up in an Amish community, the basic idea of Space Invaders is to guide your cannon at the bottom of the screen to take out all the rows of descending aliens. They take turns to fire at you; in turn you fire back at them. You can also hide behind bunkers which gradually get eroded by alien fire. Occasionally you will see a “mystery ship” which flies out of formation, hit this and you will get bonus points. This continues until the aliens eventually overrun your cannon and take over earth!
You can play 4 modes which are all basically the same with no music, just sound effects like the original arcade: Upright cabinet screen (detailed background, the nicest looking mode), black & white (the 1978 classic), black & white with cellophane (this simulates the ultra tacky technique using thin strips of coloured plastic to give the impression of real colour!) and colour (whoa Nelly!).
The game plays exactly the way it always did, which is by today’s standards slow and bland. Almost as if Taito felt a twinge of shame for releasing this lazy cash-in they included a two-player, split screen competitive mode. You can battle over 1, 3 or 5 rounds. You get infinite lives but are penalised for when you lose one with another row of aliens popping up to make life tougher. The game ends when one player gives way to an alien invasion. This won’t entertain you for very long, it is not as much fun as it might sound.
All being said, this is a disappointing game. Taito had the chance to reinvent their classic franchise and took the easy way out instead. What may have been great back in 1978 really shows its age now with its comparatively slow and repetitive gameplay. If you want to enjoy Space Invaders nowadays, do yourself a favour and track down Space Invaders Extreme on the DS or PSP, this up-to-date remake retains everything good about the original and mixes it up with modern shoot-em-up elements to make for a far superior game.