Customer Reviews: Space Invaders Extreme - Nintendo DS
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on June 19, 2008
To understand how brilliant this game is, one should look back a the original phenom and other, less successful attempts to revive it.

The old: 1978's Space Invaders took the world by storm. In Japan, this popular game caused a shortage of the 100yen coins needed to play a game. In the USA, it munched similar amounts of quarters. The simple gameplay appealed to all types of people in the then-new arena of video games. Two years later, Atari licensed the arcade game for release at home, and the box proudly trumpeted "112 VIDEO GAMES"! These were all slight variations on the theme, with moving bases, invisible invaders, co-op play, fat players, and other small tweaks. Neat!

The others: Space Invaders was brilliant thirty years ago. The "thump thump thump" sounds of the invaders, and their iconic look are known by almost everyone, but the old game is slow and tedious. As much as I want to love it now, it's just too crusty and dusty -- and younger people will certainly turn up their nose at the limited options for fun. I feel that I could get a high score on the old game but I usually quit before losing, as it's a chore to play. The game has been trotted out in "old faithful" and "reimagined" formats for just about every system available, but they all have suffered the same problems as the original: the turgid, formal, repetitive gameplay just didn't age well, and most designers felt that giving the game more flair would dilute the original feel, making it more like Galaga than Space Invaders.

The now: SPACE INVADERS EXTREME reboots the whole concept. If you look at the screenshots, it looks like more of the same: You're still a little shooter at the bottom of the screen, and the invaders are still coming down at you, firing missiles at you and your protective bunkers.


But wait! There's also an "interactive" synth soundtrack that moves everything along like a dance club. The invaders aren't shambling zombies anymore, they're FAST, and so are you. You can grab powerups like lasers that can clear out a whole column (or more!) of baddies with one shot. There are spread shots that can nuke entire rows. The enemy's formations change, sometimes you get big invaders, sometimes they have shields, sometimes they blow up all their neighbors when hit. The once-rare UFOs are now plentiful. The old vanilla 4-digit scoring has been replaced by a dynamic, pinball-style multiplier system with lots of pyrotechnics to match. Every 30 seconds or so, the game changes everything up so you aren't looking at the same phosphor-burn grid for minutes at a time.

Regular, bonus, and "boss" levels cleverly steal from other shooter games like Galaga, Attack of the Timelord (leave a comment for me if you know this cool game!), Gyruss Centipede, Gorf, Megamania, Phoenix, and others. Yes, "boss" levels are in here, where you have some biggies that take multiple shots to destroy. With the lights and music blaring away, these battles are not the tedious grind of old. The game remembers your last completed level, so you can always feel like you're making "progress," not just chasing the pure abstraction of a high score. There are worldwide online leaderboards for comparing your skills with others, too.

The game is also dead-easy to get into, just like the original. Just point and shoot. If you're really hardcore, you can import the Taito Arkanoid spinner to control this game, but left-right-shoot buttons are really more "pure."

To sum up:
Space Invaders classic concept;
Dazzling psychedelic special effects;
Dynamic, "always-on" gameplay that challenges without frustration;
High-score arcade purity with enough progression to make the game feel purposeful;
All for a bargain price.

If you have EVER liked Space Invaders (even if, like me, the thrill is gone), and you have a Nintendo DS or Playstation Portable, you will get many kicks from Space Invaders Extreme.

Import note: the Japanese version of this game is almost identical to the USA release except for a few lines of self-evident explanatory text, but the USA version is cheaper.
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on June 18, 2008

This is Space Invaders? It is, but then again it's not. It's new, hip, challenging, trippy, amazing, but yet it still is very much Space Invaders.

Square-Enix truly has made something old feel amazingly new again. It's respectful of the classic 1978 game, but this is NOT just a rehash or classic rereleased. This high level of quality for a "classic remixed" game is a true rarity, you might find it only a few other places (Pac Man Championship Edition, and New Super Mario Brothers would be 2 good examples).

This is the new definitive version of the game. Forget all the endless rereleases that have come out through the years, this is "the one".

It's still 2d, with movements limited to left-right-shoot. But, there are new stategies. There are new enemies. There are enemies that hide behind other enemies, sometimes many of them. There are no bases like in the traditional Old School Space Invaders.

There's an incredible variety in the types of invaders, and they have various attack patterns and formations. The invader attacks are much harder to avoid, especially without the bases to hide behind.

Some invaders shoot the traditional bombs, others shoot large lasers, others have shields that block against certain types of your attacks, others wear armor so you have to shoot them several times.

There are bonus rounds which vary as well. You might have to shoot UFO's before a timer runs out, or shoot a certain amount of invaders before the timer runs out.If you can beat the bonus round you earn Fever Time, where you can power up for a short time.

Shooting a group of the same colored Invaders can yield bonus points and various power ups, like lasers, bullet spreads, and bombs.

There are Boss Fights. Yes, Boss Fights. In Space Invaders.

There is multiplayer. Local (from one cart), or flawless online. There is a Worldwide Rankings board. (The PSP one only has local multiplayer, the DS one is MUCH better).

The music is based electronic, and based on your gameplay. As you shoot, you make the music. And you will love the music you make. It affect the background as well. Trippy, groovy, and perfect for the game.

There is only one downside to Space Invaders Extreme. No paddle controller for America. In Japan, Taito made a weighted knob peripheral for the DS that plugs into the GBA slot at the bottom. It lets you play with a quick twist of the knob, and gives you a big advantage. SE/Tatio did not make this Paddle Controller available in the states but the game will support the paddle if you able to get one from Amazon Japan or PlayAsia. It also works for new new Arkanoid DS game. A definite purchase if you can.

For 20 bucks you won't find a better shooter than this. Buy this game. Now. If you like Space Invaders 1978, you should see what happens when a classic grows up.
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on October 16, 2014
If you've played the original Space Invaders on the arcade cabinet 3 decades ago, then you should have no problems with this "Extreme" installment. You still shoot down enemy ships; however, it takes a while to get used to the more complex logistics that are contained within the game, so I'll try to explain it as best as I can. First off, there are several modes to choose from: Arcade Mode, Ranking Mode (no saving is allowed), or the much more satisfying Multiplayer mode.

On the bottom left screen, you will start with a Normal Cannon. As you progress with shooting down those pesky Space Invaders, you will eventually acquire one of 4 power-ups: Laser (blue), Bomb (red), Broad Shot (green), or Shield (silver). Each power-up is very helpful along the way but they don't last forever. You can gain these incredible power-ups by killing 4 ships of identical color. Next is the Feature panel. You will light it up by shooting down invaders in the specific order you see on the screen; however, the panel will disappear if the shooting combination is interrupted.

There's also a Round Feature mode in which you have to kill a certain number of ships or ship colors within a 15 second time frame. If you are successful, you will enter Fever Time mode. This is your chance to rack up some serious points and jackpot bonuses!! And let's not forget about the Roulette Feature, which sometimes gains you an extra player or other cool effects.

Overall, there are 5 stages to work through on Space Invaders Extreme (stages 3 to 5 are non-linear). Each stage ends with a boss; on stage 4, you need to hit the enemy ships on the top screen. This will cause a "reflect" shot which is the only way to hit the boss on the bottom touch screen; however, you must aim accurately!

Once you've beaten the game, the credits will roll, then you will unlock the "Extreme" mode of the game, which is much harder than Arcade Mode! This is an overall fun game, along with the second installment, but it's much better as a multiplayer than just going it alone. So if you have any specific questions about this game, please feel free to ask! :)
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on November 2, 2008
People love this game. It's a good game. It's better than the original.
But spice it up anyway you want. You shoot things, over and over and thats it. It's fun. I'm pretty sure I'm going to get a seziure as colors fly everywhere. I enjoy the game and the soundtrack is amazing. Sounds are amazing overall in this game. but you shoot stuff. yippi.
I have yet to play for more than 10 minutes at a time.
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For the franchise's 30th Anniversary, Taito has decided to give Space Invaders a, shall I say, "hip" makeover. The result is an awesomely enhanced variation of the Space Invaders experience you know and love featuring amazing visuals, new gameplay styles, and background music that coincides with the game's rhythmic sound effects.

There are 11 levels, but you play through 5, because after beating a level, you could choose which route to go next (a la StarFox), giving the game, while a short length, also quite some replayability.

The game mechanics work similarly as to how Space Invaders did way back when: You move and shoot at the aliens. However, the game takes things way up a notch by introducing tons of unique waves of aliens, power-ups, and a Fever Time segment activated by doing a bonus round you access by shooting a flashing UFO. With that said, the game can get pretty crazy at times, and it's all the better for being that!

The only real problems I can think of for this game is that: The stages themselves are a bit lengthy, and if you get a Game Over, and if you continue, you have to start the whole level over again. Plus, the Fever Time segments interrupt the actual levels, which I find rather irritating in comparison to the rest of the game.

Overall, though, I definitely recommend this game to anyone looking for a good arcade-y shooter!
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on June 27, 2008
Space Invaders is one of the most recognized games ever created. If offered simple yet addictive gameplay. Celebrating its 30th anniversary, Space Invaders returns in an all new game.

The game offers several modes of play, each with 5 main stages where each stage has different branches to choose from. The first is "arcade mode" which allows you to go through the game at your pace and allows you to save and restart from the beginning of levels should you fail. So if you find yourself not able to always complete a full round of games or are new to the game this mode is a good way to practice.

The 2nd mode is "Ranking Mode" which is the same as Arcade mode except that you get no continues and you can't save progress. Whatever score you get is then flagged for upload when you look at the online leaderboard.

Both arcade and ranking mode are then split into two categories Normal and Extreme. Normal starts you off on an easier stage 1 and as you progress it lets you decide which route to take, either an easier or harder one, based on how well you do. Do well and you can pick the harder stage but if you do poor then you are forced to take the easy stage.
Extreme consists of 5 hard stages. You follow a set path and cannot pick different stages. As you would guess, the stages get harder and harder allowing for a much more difficult space invaders experience.

For offline ranking, both arcade and ranking are tracked for both normal and extreme modes. Online ranking consists only of Ranking mode. More on that in the multiplayer section.

Gameplay in Space Invaders Extreme is simple. You can move left to right at the bottom of the screen and you shoot with either A or B.

The thing that is different in terms of gameplay from the original space invaders is that there are several colors of ships, several ship shapes, several special ships, etc. If you kill 4 of the same color of ship in a row then you get a power up. Powerups range from a huge laser that blasts things, a spread shot, a bomb shot, a shield, etc. The more ships you kill also increases your "level" which makes your shot both stronger and bigger. A higher level also makes the powerup you have stronger, e.g. a level 1 blue-powerup is a lot thinner than a level 10 blue-powerup.

Another new addition is the Round feature. If you kill 4 colors in a row then kill 4 different colors in a row then a flashing colored UFO flies overhead. Destroy it and you get a brief bonus stage. This stage varies from killing a lot of enemies, certain enemies, formations, getting items, etc. in a time limit. If you succeed you enter "fever" mode in which your ship is temporarily boosted to Level 10 and given a power up to destroy the invaders. It's quite a fun addition to the game.

The graphics in Space Invaders Extreme is that of a very vibrant game. It uses simple colors and shapes that hold true to the original game. The invaders and your cannon use the same graphic that was used in the 1978 Arcade classic and it works well. The background is a trippy kind of graphic that changes a lot and can be distracting at times but can also be turned off in the options.

The audio of this game is pretty unique. Instead of having the classic shooting sounds they have replaced it with sounds that work with the game's music track. When you shoot you get a tune that goes with the song. When you kill invaders you get more tunes. It really adds to the gameplay in my opinion.

The multiplayer aspect of this game is great, it's basically who can live the longest. It can be played both offline and online via wi-fi. You are on the bottom screen while you watch your opponent on the top screen. You both have the same waves of enemies to get through and as you clear one wave another appears. While killing invaders you have a gauge on the top screen which fills. If you kill a UFO as it passes (they pass very often) then any of the invaders in that gauge will be sent to your opponent. They can do the same to you.

The online version of this consists of a ranking system that starts you off at 5,000 rating and increases or decreases as you win or lose. Only wins are tracked and shown in your rating window. Rating will determine who you face. You can battle players from all over the world as well. The game also supports friend codes.

As mentioned earlier, your high score from the Ranking Mode will be uploaded to the leaderboards and compared to those of other people. The game only shows the top 10 players worldwide but will also display your score underneath that along with your rank, for example I am ranked about 150ish in Extreme mode for ranking.

I was worried at first that they would only show top 10 and not give you an idea of where you were but I was pleasantly surprised to see that I can see my rank. The game makers also seem dedicated to making sure no cheaters stay on top for long. When I first started playing I looked at the scores and saw a score of "14,065,500,000" as first place with the 2nd place person being only "9,744,000". Within a few hours this bogus score was removed and now all scores appear to be legit. I hope this trend keeps up as I would like to have a chance to appear on the top 10 someday.

Final Verdict:
If you like shmups, classic gaming, or are just a fan of quick and fun to play games then this game is for you. I bought this game on a whim and am glad I did. It is one of the most addicting games I have ever played. The hours seem to just fly by. At only a $20 price tag, you should pick this game up, no questions asked.
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on June 22, 2008
Intense action. Great psychedelic graphics. Fun gameplay. Each run through feels different via all of the different random options, powerups and levels. There is a good bit of strategy required to max out the scores as you blast the aliens. Great fun. A new classic and a must buy for anyone who is familiar with the original.
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on January 25, 2010
From Galaga to Centipede, the core mechanics of the original Space Invaders had been iterated and improved upon so often that it's a wonder that this new "Extreme" sequel feels so fresh. Taito's epochal arcade smash virtually invented the top-down shooter genre, but aside from a few minor retreads, it has remained dormant for decades. Well, chalk it up to the success of that wonderful Pac-Man reboot or the imminent thirtieth anniversary of the original, but Space Invaders Extreme is simultaneously a joyous celebration of the SI legacy and a fresh take on old-school blasting.

Everyone knows Space Invaders: one turret, four shields, and fifty-five alien ships whose only strategy is to "increase speed, drop down, and reverse direction" (thanks, Futurama!). Well, this "extreme" version adheres closely to the feel of the original but has abandoned the defensive structures and tight formations of the original. Shields are apparently obsolete in this day and age, so Taito saw fit to arm your turret with several new power-ups, including screen-filling lasers, bombs, and a broad shot. The alien armada also kept busy during the cease fire. Gone are the days of "trembling in terror" at their three kinds of ships. Expect to fight an updated panoply of powerful foes, including suicide bombers, teleporters, bouncers, and shielded enemies that can reflect your shots back at you.

More...All of these new enemy types of course require new strategies, but the true genius of this production is realized when you start seeing three or four types of ships stacked together. All of the sudden, new layers of strategy come into play as you try to figure out how to take out the exploding troops without setting off the suicide bombers, or how to remove the reflective shields of some smaller baddies while a huge mother ship is besieging the stage with a tree-trunk-thick laser. Each subsequent wave forces players to adjust. Your special weapons certainly pack a punch, but what good does that do when precision is of the highest priority?

However, the game still finds opportunities for you to cut loose even in the later stages. By shooting four enemies in a row of one color, and then four of a different color (again, another wrinkle), you'll be launched into a brief mini-game with some randomly generated task. Quick! Shoot the right ships to trigger domino-styled explosions! Collect 100 golden items from a retreating UFO! All of the sudden, this becomes the WarioWare Inc. of 2D shooters, constantly forcing you to be quick on your feet. Your reward for succeeding is "Fever Mode," a roughly ten-second window in which you're given obscene amounts of firepower.

Just leafing your way through the instruction manual reveals almost endless facets to what at first appears to be a simple shooter. Dual screened boss battles, roulette rounds brought to you via golden UFOs, score multipliers, a leveling up system, and branching paths à la Starfox...this game's straightforward appearance truly belies almost limitless depth.

Perhaps "straightforward appearance" isn't fair either, because while the graphics are simple (aside from the pre-rendered background flybys through neon drenched Tokyo), there's a musical component to the game that is reminiscent of the sublime synesthesia of Rez. There isn't just a driving techno beat and some strobe lights here. Whenever you shoot an enemy, collect a power up, or deflect an enemy attack, the game produces a distinct musical sound that always fits to the beat. There may be a hidden component to this as well, since the top screen mysteriously keeps track of your "bass" and "chord" among other things. Speaking of bass, be sure to play with the Rumble Pack. I know that many of our readers will opt instead for the import-only paddle accessory, but the rumble here serves as a thumping bass to complement the slightly tinny musical arrangements. Fans of Rez will know how much this vibration can enhance the game play experience (and no, I'm not talking about the risible Trance Vibrator). The developers should be commended for making the most of a usually worthless feature.

So at twenty bones, you shouldn't even be asking yourself whether or not this is worth it. This game will capture your attention in the same way that fellow throwback Geometry Wars did several years ago. With online leader boards and multiplayer*, this game will have you dropping virtual quarters for a long time to come. This is as close to an arcade revival as you are going to see.

*This review focuses on the DS version. Apparently, the PSP's multiplayer doesn't support infrastructure mode.

--Reviewed by Justin Hemenway
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon January 23, 2010
Space Invaders is now more than 30 years old! Kudos to Taito/Square Enix for breathing new life into this classic while keeping true to the spirit of the original. Space Invaders Extreme is just as the title suggests: it's space invaders, but taken to extremes. It's the same fast-paced and frenetic game as the original, requiring quick shooting and reflex, but ramped up with some insanely lush graphics and a few modern twists, like bosses, weapons, and pretty animation effects. Animations are smooth and the graphics are excellent, colorful and psychedelic, with lots of glitter and eye-candy everywhere. Some level backgrounds look like what you'd see in the graphics visualizer on music programs. It's all very beautiful and smooth.

Weapons drops are laser, shotgun, and bomb (a grenade launcher-like exploding shell) and last about 5 seconds. I love the laser. Every time I get it, the aliens are in for a world of hurt. Its a continuous beam of energy that just decimates the aliens as they fly into it. Each level is divided into several waves, during which you can earn bonuses. Different words light up on the field, like in pinball. When you activate the bonus (shoot a column of aliens, a row, or a group of the same color, for example), you are warped to a timed bonus level. If you achieve the objective, you go into Frenzy Mode for a limited time where you earn more points. One complaint though is that scores and bonus are shown on the top screen. You're too busy dodging fire to look up there.

Boss stages and bonus levels take up both screens of the DS, which is fun because many games don't use this space wisely. Level bosses are huge and inventive, and a whole lot of fun to battle. After beating a level, you can select it to play again in Stage Mode. You can continue for as many times as you want if you lose all your lives, but at the beginning of the stage (wave 1), making it a more challenging than just letting you continue infinitely on the wave you were last playing.

Overall, Space Invaders Extreme feels very refined and polished, with an attractive layout, clean UI design, and pleasant female voice announcing level starts and weapons upgrades. It is truly one of the best shooting games I've ever played on a handheld system, and one of the best looking, given how simple the gameplay concept is. Highly recommended.
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on July 18, 2008
Ok, to start this review all I have to say is that this game is a must have for any ds owner that liked or loves the original space invaders and space invaders revolution (also for ds).

Story: Okey, the story consists of 5 main stages, but after stage 2 you can choose an easy or hard stage ex. 3-A or 3-B. In total there are 11 stages. 4 stage 5's, 3 stage 4's, 2 stage 3's, and stages 1 and 2. The later stages are extremely hard!

Gameplay: The gameplay is just like the original space invaders from 1978, but there are no barriers, and there are POWER UPS!!!! You see, each invader has a color and a shape. When you shoot 4 of the same color you get a power up. 4 blues gets you a laser that busts through everything except reflect shields. 4 greens gets you a broad shot, kinda like the spread gun off of contra, it fires 5 bullets at once. 4 reds gets you bombs. These are extremely handy when killing reflector aliens, these are also rapid fire. 4 blacks gets you a sheild that blocks all attacks! Its extremely handy when beating big aliens that shoot beams. Also when you shoot 4 of one color and then immediatly after shoot 4 of a different color, a rainbow UFO comes out and if you shoot it you go into a round (a mini game that gives you a great power up) and if you beat the rounds certain requirements, you get a super power up, there are: the super broad shot, big bombs, super laser, and a gun that when you shoot an alien it turns and kills everything to the left or right of it. Also, when you shoot enough aliens, your cannon levels up, and your shots get more powerful and faster, but when you die you lose 2 levels :( There are also boss fights. When you get to the end of a stage you get to fight a boss, the bosses are really challenging, the fight also uses both screens.

Graphics: The graphics are alot like classic space invaders except there is a background that moves and is very impressing. The cannon is completely redone. It looks alot better than the classic one. You can clearly see when aliens explode. I would expect that the PSP version has alot better graphics but the ds version is waaaay better ;)

Multiplayer: I have played all the multiplayer variants and all I can say is that its really fun! DS download play works very well. When you go on WiFi, you can post you ranking battle scores on the leaderboard (im 650th best in the world lol) or you can battle with other players. The battle is not directly attacking your opponents, but you actually just try to outlast your opponent. You can send attacks when you shoot enough aliens then shoot a UFO. The attacks are very devastating if you trigger them at the right time.

Overall: I think that this is a great game. It has very tight controls, and the levels just wanna make you keep playing it till you get to the famed "next level". Also it only costs $20 so you get an extremely good game for a bargain bin price.

BUY THIS GAME!!! You will love it, and even if you dont like it, you'll only be out of $20!!!
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