By Spencer . May 13, 2009 . 7:00pm
Space Invaders Extreme is a fantastic evolution of Space Invaders. Varied formations and a brilliant scoring system that makes players think about which invader they want to shoot made it one of my favorite games. Space Invaders Extreme is still one of my favorite games, but what if you already own the psychedelic shooter. Is it worth looking at again?
Before we compare and contrast, get Space Invaders Extreme if you were marooned on Mars and missed it. The intuitive shoot the invaders core makes this a game anyone can play. Space Invaders Extreme also has unlimited continues, which lets players casually “credit force” their way to the end. If you really want to get into the system there are branching paths to discover and a deep scoring system that grades you on accuracy and how well you link the invaders you shoot.
The most improved feature in the Xbox Live Arcade release is online multiplayer. Space Invaders Extreme offers new multiplayer modes not in the DS version (note: the PSP version only has ad-hoc multiplayer) – a competitive survival mode and a co-op mode. Survival mode is the best addition and it has elements from block chaining games. You stock invaders to send to opponents when you shoot invaders on your screen. When you hit a UFO the stored invaders scuttle to an opponent’s line. You can shoot UFOs when ever they scroll by, but I tend to motherships until I have a stack of invaders to send them for an all out assault.
Theoretically, co-op mode should make the game easier, maybe even act as a bridge for new players. However, co-op mode actually makes Space Invaders Extreme harder. Having two turrets shooting the same formations found in the single player mode is an edge, but both players share lives. So, if you play with someone who isn’t equally skilled you lose lives when they make a mistake. The worse part is co-op mode doesn’t allow a team to continue which means you have to frustratingly start at level one if you the common extra life pool runs dry.
Playing Space Invaders Extreme on a TV is nice too, but the liquid background visualizer isn’t as impressive as the hypnotic lights in the portable versions. Same goes for the music. The DS version has a rocking soundtrack. The Xbox Live Arcade version uses the PSP soundtrack, a decent mix of bass heavy beats, but not as memorable as the DS.
Most of the nitpicks are pretty superficial mainly because Space Invaders Extreme is more or less the same game from last year. A great game, but one that you probably have already. Perhaps, Taito and Backbone will expand the Xbox Live Arcade redux via downloadable content. Space Invaders Extreme is said to have some DLC, but the items haven’t been announced. I haven’t discovered how to unlock the original Space Invaders game either which the ESRB said was part of the package so many months ago.