In 1978, arcade shooter Space Invaders was so popular that it caused a national coin shortage in Japan. But it's not 1978. It's 2010.
Early in Space Invaders Infinity Gene, there is a quote from Charles Darwin. This sets the mode for the game. Space Invaders IG isn't just Space Invaders updated; it's Space Invaders evolved.
Space Invaders Infinity Gene proves that even 32 years later, the franchise can still seem fresh.
The Look: Space Invaders IG begins with the game's original look but evolves into 2D and 3D vector graphics. The moments when it goes from basic colours like black and white to green and red are truly revelations.
The Ships: IG isn't just a cosmetic overall. Each ship has a dedicated firing pattering that ranges from the self-descriptive "lock-on" to the wide-range "field" firing. The different ships offer different styles of play and mix things up.
The Music: The original Space Invaders score is iconic. Filling that bill is tough, but IG's score largely succeeds in that it does not ape the original music but still largely provides the pulsating sensation of the original.
Recycling Bosses: This is a pet peeve of mine. I hate seeing bosses that I've seen before relegated to mini-bosses. It undercuts their final boss standing and turns them into mere minions. Make new mini-bosses, please!
Since 1978, the shooter genre has evolved plenty, and Space Invaders has felt as though it hasn't kept up with the times. IG is not merely a fresh coat of paint - it is Space Invaders but pushed forward. Some of the evolutions play brilliantly into traditional Space Invaders play. Others don't but still work well enough on their own to merit inclusion. It's as though the game's developer wondered what Space Invaders would look like in a post-Ikaruga and post-Rez world and then made a game.
Space Invaders Infinity Gene should satisfy those fans of shooting games who are looking for more than a trip down memory lane.
Space Invaders Infinity Gene was developed by Taito and published by Square Enix for the PSN on September 14 and for Xbox Live Arcade on September 15. Retails for $US9.99 or 800 MS Points. A copy of the game was given to us by the publisher for reviewing purposes. Played all game types in both single player mode.
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