Space Invaders, the game that swallowed countless quarters, consumed the spare change and cost the lunch money of many arcade fans in the early 1980s. Originally sold by Taito, the arcade game featured a laser ship defending itself against waves of invading aliens. After its recent re-release on the DS, PSP and Xbox Live Arcade, Square Enix and Taito have returned with the expected sequel, Space Invaders Extreme 2 exclusively on the DS.
The premise of the game is simple: Defeat the alien menace by destroying them with your laser ship before they inch closer to the front line to destroy you. Not content just to rest on their laurels, Taito introduced new features in the original game that have found their way into the sequel: The Fever Time, Bonus Rounds and the Break Mode. New features in this game are none other than the Time Attack mode, the Bingo Panel and competitive Wi-Fi gameplay. The three primary modes of this game are: Score Attack, Ranking Mode and the Time Attack mode just mentioned.
Bonus Rounds are awarded whenever you shoot down a flashing UFO. This takes you to a bonus round of sorts where you are required to shoot specific targets. If you are successful, you will enter a Fever Time mode where your laser power increases substantially, allowing you to deal lethal damage to the alien invaders on screen. Fever Time only lasts temporarily but is a great way to boost your score in the game to improve your overall ranking.
Also featured in the game is a Feature Panel. This panel reveals the colour and the enemies destroyed in a specific order. Depending on whom and how may colour ships you shoot, you can activate five different features: Power-Up, Round, Roulette, Freeze and Change to UFO. These features give you an advantage against your invaders when the going gets tough on screen.
There are four power-ups in this game: Blue, Red, Green and Black. Blue represents a laser that deals damage to all invaders in its path. Red signifies bombs that cause your enemies to explode and destroy any surrounding invaders. Green is the broad shot that shoots five laser shots at once that is effective against the miniature aliens. Finally, Black is the player’s shield that protects the laser ship from alien attacks. The Black power-up is the most rare and difficult one to find in the different stages of the game.
Visually, this game is beaming full of eye candy. A lot of concentration and fast reflexes are needed to destroy the alien invaders while ignoring the sporadic colours and music in the background. Taking a second to blink could mean the difference between life and death as you approach the end of each stage before fighting a final boss. The soundtrack is appropriate but mostly forgettable after you finish the game in its entirety.
Space Invaders Extreme 2 pays a great tribute to the original game that sparked a huge following in the golden era of the arcades. With an enhanced battle system, extra game modes, tweaked gameplay and cooperative wireless play on the DS, the game delivers on one of the single most overlooked factors in game production: fun. Space Invaders Extreme 2 is addictive and fun.