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Space Invaders


Monday Mind Teasers: Starmageddon

Mar 01
// Tom Fronczak
After last week's Blosics 2 physics box bonanza I was in the mood for a dark and deep puzzle adventure game this week, but Gateway ended up being way too short, and its sequel is barely more than a buggy remake. So this ...

Today's Shirt Woot will make your chest explode

Jan 19
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Space Invaders are mean little bastards, but at least they're predictable. That is until Aliens start popping out of their chest. Then you're screwed. Today's Shirt.Woot combines one our favorite retro games, Space Invaders, ...

Captain Forever released, you'll be better at it than me

Nov 23
// Anthony Burch
I previously talked about Captain Forever during its pre-launch phase, when you had to pay $20 to access it. The game is now available for free, here. And I'm still horrendous at it. Captain Forever is what you might get if y...

Review: Space Invaders Extreme 2

Oct 29 // Jim Sterling
Space Invaders Extreme 2 (DS)Developer: TaitoPublisher: Square EnixReleased: October 20, 2009MSRP: $19.99 If you're a fan of the original game, then you'll feel right at home with Extreme 2. The core gameplay remains the same -- shoot down incoming invaders with your cannon, rack up points and attack enemies in specific orders to obtain bonuses and weapon upgrades. As ever, your actions in the game contribute to the background music, while the insane score multipliers and trippy graphics make for an incredibly exciting and aesthetically pleasing experience. Everything you loved about Space Invaders Extreme is present in this sequel, and I in fact found that the aesthetic qualities are even better this time around, with incredibly catchy music and some amazing visual effects going on in the background. Despite the new modes and features, the game doesn't seem quite as lengthy as the original (in fact, you'll be done with Score Attack in less than half an hour), but of course, this is a game designed around repeated play, so the length may not matter to most fans. What will matter is the new features. In keeping with the spirit of the original, Space Invaders Extreme 2 is all about racking up scores and bonuses. Shooting Invaders of a similar color type, an action known as a Round Feature, will reward the player with weapon upgrades. These upgrades are taken from the original game, including the Wide Shot, Laser Beam, Bomb and Shield. Completing Round Features will cause a flashing UFO to fly across the screen. If you shoot this UFO, you active a Round. In a Round, the top screen will become part of the battlefield, and players will have to shoot all the Invaders round within. Doing so activates Fever, in which huge bonus scores can be achieved and vast quantities of UFOs fly around the top screen. Players can keep the momentum going and attempt a Super Fever Mode, which is like Fever, but much more super. Upon completion of a Fever mode, a Bingo Panel will light up. If a player can get the Bingo screen to light three panels horizontally, vertically or diagonally, Super Fever Time will activate. In addition to Super Fever, players can also activate a Roulette Feature that causes Invaders to fly around in a circle at the top screen, a Change to UFO Feature that causes all Invaders to become UFOs, and a Freeze Feature that, well, freezes everything. All of these are activated by performing various Features in a certain order. The inner workings of Extreme 2 and its many objectives and modes sound complex, but the inherent beauty of the game is that it can be played without any attention paid to the bells and whistles. Simply playing the game to the best of one's ability will often see these modes activate anyway, while players obsessed with beating their high scores can opt to constantly go for Super Fever. Veteran players should enjoy the extra level of play, while those who don't care will just enjoy the awesomely pretty colors. Joining the traditional Score Attack mode is a Time Attack mode. These are the same levels as found in Score Attack, but instead of racking up points, players will be racing against a clock. In addition, there is a versus mode in which opponents simply play their own game of Space Invaders in tandem, with the loser being the first to get Game Over. Shooting three Invaders in Versus allows the player to store and send attacking Invaders to the opponent's screens. It's rather simple, but those looking for some variety will welcome the extra mode. Unfortunately, my attempts to get into an online game failed, because DS games are horrible for online play. If you loved the original Space Invaders Extreme, you'd do well to pick this up. The new features aren't exactly mindblowing, but the very fact that it's more of the game you love is plenty justification for its existence. Despite the short length of the main mode, it's a nevertheless addictive experience that will demand repeated plays from fans looking to get the highest scores possible. It looks amazing, more amazing than the last game, and the shooting, score-racking action is as rewarding and satisfying as ever. I'd have liked more modes and a little more oomph for a sequel, but it's a small complaint in an otherwise great game. Definitely pick this up if you liked the original. It will likely stay in your DS for quite some time. Score: 8.5 -- Great (8s are impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.)

Space Invaders Extreme is regarded by many as among the greatest DS games of all time, and an essential component of any portable gaming repertoire. It was undoubtedly a brilliant game, and so a followup was assured. That fol...


Americana and Space Invaders collide

Sep 20
// Matthew Razak
At first glance these Photoshopped images from Life Magazine are just kind of cool. Combining Space Invaders with American hunters looks pretty neat, but upon a moments reflection there's something about them that gives them ...

Space Invaders Extreme 2 screens, PAL release date

Sep 10
// Topher Cantler
Taito and Square-Enix have just announced that Space Invaders Extreme 2, the sequel to what was easily one of my favorite DS games of last year, will be arriving in PAL region territories on October 2nd. The game is slated fo...

Review: Space Invaders: Infinity Gene

Aug 04 // Topher Cantler
  Space Invaders: Infinity Gene (iPhone/iPod Touch) Developer: TaitoPrice: $4.99Released: July 28, 2009  Those of you who know me and have just seen the above video will understand that I was immediately interested when I first heard about Infinity Gene. I love space invaders, chiptunes, and shmups, so the three rolled into one already sounded like my cup of tea. I expected to like it. What i didn't expect was for it to be one of the most engaging videogame experiences i've had in years. Sitting down to play this game with a good pair of headphones is not recommended if you're on the subway, bus, or if you've got some responsibility to pay a lick of attention to the world around you. By the time you hit the third level or so, you're sucked in. You boot it up and next thing you know, 45 minutes have gone by and you've forgotten where you were. When it's time to stop playing, you almost have to wake up from it. It certianly looks and sounds like Space Invaders, with all the familiar enemy types and sound effects you've come to love and recognize over the past 30 years. Does it feel like Space Invaders? No, not really. But that's what the Extreme series is for, and you can take your pick from the DS, PSP or XBLA versions if that's what you want. Instead, Infinity Gene feels more like what you'd get if Crisis Force or Radiant Silvergun were available on the Atari 2600. The graphics are sharp, vector-like imagery, and are for the most part monochromatic. Just about everything is white, set against a blue "laser grid" background or a simple color gradient. The overall effect is beautiful in its simplicity, and if you have fond memories of anything from Tron, to Rez, to the Star Wars arcade game or in between, you're probably going to love the way it looks. The downside of this mostly single-color aesthetic is that it's sometimes hard to know at first what will kill you and what won't. There are some lines you can fly right through and others that will ruin your day, and it might take a little trial and error before you know for sure which parts of a given level are safe. I do love the look of the monochrome, but there were some areas where I felt a little unclear on where the danger was. Still, the graphics are a treat for the eyes, and visual design choices like fonts and hues fit the game perfectly. Everything on screen maintains the classic look of Space Invaders while invoking the more modern games it inspired, with very Treasure-esque text, boss warnings and menus. Newly unlocked stages branch out in a tree-like pattern, and which path you take next is entirely up to you. The early ones start out looking like the original classic, and later levels gradually become prettier and more frantic the further you get. Enemies get bigger and more numerous, bosses start poking their way into the mixture, and it's both fun and interesting to watch the game evolve from bare bones "pew pew pew" into a manic, full-fledged shmup, weapon upgrades and all. A popular question regarding the iPhone platform choice is, "doesn't your finger get in the way of the action?" No. No, it doesn't. Control works much like a mouse cursor and a laptop trackpad. You can place the ship into view and then control its movement from anywhere on the touch screen. It usually works out best to fling it about 1/3 of the way up the playing field and control it from the very bottom, but when things heat up you may want to keep it a bit closer to your finger so you can navigate the madness around you.The levels start out very short -- maybe too short -- but get considerably longer and more involved as you progress. Difficulty, action and overall pacing gradually ramp up as well, and if you take time to play through several stages in one sitting, you really feel like you're getting somewhere. Most are followed up with some unlockable or another upon completion, and the experience on the whole feels very rewarding. Whether you play two stages or ten, you never once feel like you've wasted your time. As was said, the sound effects are classic Space Invaders fare, now set to a fantastic little collection of music. If you enjoy chiptunes, the price tag would still be worth it just to get the soundtrack. But if for some reason you don't, the game features library support, which lets you play exclusive bonus stages backed by whatever songs you have stored on your iPhone. As cool as that feature is, I doubt many people will be using it, because as I said, the music is good. Really good. The tempo picks up in all the right places and sometimes makes it hard not to nod your head and make an idiot of yourself in front of whoever happens to be nearby. It matches the gameplay to the letter, and makes you never want to put down your iPhone -- a platform that I'm altogether stunned to see such a quality game on. All that for the price of a drink at Starbucks? Not bad. The visuals, music and gameplay are all stellar on their own, and when you put them all together as one experience, the end result is something I would have easily paid much more for. If you have an iPhone, you'd be crazy not to pick this up, and for $4.99 you'll get a hell of a lot more out of it than you would that frappuccino. Score: 9.5 -- Superb (9s are a hallmark of excellence. There may be flaws, but they are negligible and won't cause massive damage to what is a supreme title.)

You may have noticed that I've been anticipating Taito's Space Invaders: Infinity Gene pretty heavily since it was first announced for the iPhone. Originally released in Japan on mobile phones that aren't sold anywhere else, ...


New gameplay trailer for Space Invaders: Infinity Gene

Jul 27
// Topher Cantler
Taito has just updated its YouTube channel with a new official trailer for its upcoming iPhone title, Space Invaders: Infinity Gene. This is the game whose announcement had my heart all aflutter a few weeks back, and now we'r...

Space Invaders: Infinity Gene coming to iPhone

Jul 15
// Topher Cantler
Being the massive Space Invaders fan that I am, I've had an ear open for any word regarding a little-known addition to the franchise, called Space Invaders: Infinity Gene. Originally a Japan-only release for mobile phones, it...

Mario goes on a sex-crazed rampage

Jul 12
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
This really awesome video you’re about to watch was originally created as the prologue for a documentary on addictions to MMORPGs. Not sure what’s going on with that documentary, but who cares. This video by Vimeo...

Space Invaders Extreme getting DLC, looks as rad as ever

Jun 16
// Jordan Devore
Space Invaders Extreme on PlayStation Portable is cool. On Xbox LIVE Arcade, it's somehow even cooler, at least in my mind. Every time I shoot down a row of blue invaders and obtain the laser power-up, I experience the greate...

Twitter Friday: Win a copy of Space Invaders Extreme!

May 22
// Colette Bennett
Ah, Twitter Friday, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways.... this week, we have two copies of Space Invaders Extreme for the Xbox 360 to give to you fine people for absolutely free. To win one, what you're going to want...

I don't know why I spend all this time trying to plan different types of contests for you guys to win all this free swag I'm sitting on. All photo contests should be renamed Make The Dtoid Staff Laugh Uncontrollably, because ...


New screens for Taito's next Space Invaders, Puzzle Bobble

May 08
// Dale North
Two new Taito games are headed to the Nintendo DS, and we have screenshots and details for both of them.Bub and Bob set off into space in Puzzle Bobble Galaxy. Out to save the universe, they get back to shooting colored bubbl...

Free copies of Space Invaders Extreme and a limited edition print signed by the creator of the original Space Invaders? Yeah, I've got that, right next to me in my giant shiny treasure chest of swag that I dole out to you peo...


Snail mail is still cool with a touch of Space Invaders

May 04
// Colette Bennett
Of course, Backbone Entertainment had to actually mail me the limited edition Space Invaders print that we're giving away in this week's contest, and today I got this rather attractive silver package in the mail with said pri...

In my recent chat with Space Invaders Extreme's lead artist, I pretty much openly gushed about my excitement over both the original game and the version for 360 that he was working on. You can imagine how I reacted when I fou...

Interview with Space Invaders Extreme's lead artist

Apr 29 // Colette Bennett
Destructoid: So, we get the gist that you guys have a thing for all things retro! It's not a surprise considering your project history! Well, before I dig into questions about Space Invaders Extreme, I'd be curious to know what your favorite vintage console is.Arvin: Vintage, hmm. Does Game and Watch count as a console? Not really. (laughs) Maybe that's too vintage. But that's definitely up there, there's so many memories with that. When I was growing up in the Philippines, I didn't have access to games persay, so what happened was I would go to these stores that rented Game and Watch systems for a certain amount of time, so you'd play for thirty minutes. I played stuff like Manhole, straight up old school games. After a while I bought an Atari 2600 and a ton of hours of my life were spent playing that. That would have to be the vintage console that I would gravitate towards. We played a lot of Adventure...Destructoid: So did I! What about the rest of the Backbone team? Does everyone share a similar love for old consoles and old games?Arvin: There are two artists, myself and Conrad Seto. He is definitely a classic gamer. I'm not sure if he would go as far back as Atari. I could me wrong -- forgive me, Conrad, that I said you don't go as far back as Atari! (laughs). But yes, everybody at Backbone definitely has gaming roots. We have a bunch of arcade machines, like Rampart, Defender, Joust, lots of super old school games. They would get really into it, with scoreboards and everything. I can't even get close to beating these guys when it comes to scores. You should arrange to come for some sort of tour!Destructoid:  No kidding, I was going to say I'd love that.Arvin: People here generally love the classics. They would go out of their way to try to hunt down these arcade machines. One of our programmers has a bunch of machines he would always maintain and he proudly kept one by the cafeteria and we'd play it all the time. Destructoid: Sounds like you guys were an ideal team to work on a title like Space Invaders Extreme.Arvin: Absolutely. We've worked on a lot of emulated games already, such as Sonic Ultimate Genesis Collection, some Midway classics...Destructoid: Backbone is working on Gauntlet for DS, right?Arvin: Yep, that's right. We also did Bomberman, Super Street Fighter HD, Puzzle Fighter, 1942, Commando, so yeah, we love this kind of stuff. We eat it up.Destructoid: It shows! Well, tell me a little bit about the challenges of bringing Space Invaders Extreme over to Xbox Live. I know it was originally a Taito title, but I assume you wanted to present it on 360 with a little bit of your own stamp, yes?Arvin: Taito was pretty accommodating on the changes we wanted to do. Of course, there's a certain extent to what things we can change. They were fine with changing the backgrounds as long as it was still within the license. For the most part, everyone on the team were fans of the game before we got the project. It came out on the DS and I thought, "Wow, this is the best thing ever!" (laughs) So I was already eating it up, so it once it came to us, I thought, wow, this is awesome. I didn't want to mess with it too much. One of the things that happened was that we were thinking about how we would "up res" these aliens. I didnt want to make them smoother. People would walk by my desk and say "Are you sure you up-resed these guys? They still look kind of blocky!" They've very iconic that way though. I did a test to see what they would look like if I smoother them out, or filled in the curves, and it just didn't look right. It lost its iconography. If there was any doubt at that point whether I should change the look of these guys, it was gone at that point.We put minor touches in it, like we added a nicer gradient to the invader or a one pixel outline to make it look even sharper, but that's it. As far as the shape of the aliens, we wanted to keep it that way. And actually, so did Taito. They actually brought in the original sprites for us to use. In my head, that's our main difference from the DS and PSP versions, because those assets were actually not pixel perfect. Destructoid: Well, that leads me to my next question: As far as presenting the game in HD, did you feel that this crisp new look could appeal to not only longtime fans of Space Invaders, but also younger people who never played the original Space Invaders?Arvin: I think so. I think the biggest indicator of that is when I was at GDC this past year, we would find people milling around who had never played Space Invaders, even though they knew what it was. People would come up and want to play --even though we couldn't let them play the game yet! -- strictly because of the way it looked. I think a lot of that has a lot to do with the presentation and the visualizer by Jeff Minter. It's just very striking. It appeals to a certain younger generation aesthetic that's apparent with a lot of these retro games coming back.Destructoid: That leads me beautifully into my next question, in fact! "The new retro", as it's sometimes called, present crisp new graphics with retro sensibilities at its core. What do you think about it and what games do you think have done it really well in the last few years?Arvin: I've always liked these types of games, even more now that I'm older. I simply don't have time for these 80 hour RPGs anymore! These kinds of games attract me a lot, it became apparent to me that there was a huge market for this when Geometry Wars came out. It's not really an old game made new, but it does have older sensibilities. When that exploded, it kind of surprised me -- in a good way! I thought, wow, people really love this stuff, and they'll pay money for it. Not every game has to be an epic first person shooter to attract a market.Pac Man Championship Edition and Bit. Trip. Beat were a few other games that I thought did it right. I love that people are) bringing back this kind of sensibility. Aesthetics are definitely good to draw the player in, but to me, it needs to go further than that, have a deep gameplay experience that I can enjoy, that really hooks me. I think that's what these "new retro" games are doing.Destructoid: How important do you feel the music is for Space Invaders Extreme 360? Does it really pull the gamer into the experience?Arvin: I think the music draws that connection to the younger audience. It's got this "hipper" vibe to it. (pause) Just saying hipper makes me feel old. (laughs) It connects people to the game a lot more, it's more aural. The original game has the sound linking to when the Invaders would explode or when the shot would hit -- they would purposely delay sound effects to match the beat. We actually accommodated for that, and Jeff Minter's backgrounds are tied into the music, so you'll see stars pulse or certain colors shift with the music.Destructoid: Tell me about the logistics of working with Jeff Minter on the visualizations. Did you give him the game and say "Here, do your thing", or did you actually sit down with him and discuss your ideas and work together from there?Arvin: It was pretty good collaborating with him. What we did was there were certain themes that were already in the DS and PSP versions that Taito wanted to mirror in the 360 edition. There are five levels: universe, earth (above the earth), nature, Tokyo day and Tokyo night. Basically kind of a little progression of the aliens as they come in and invade Earth. So we gave Jeff those themes and then he came back with a few rough ideas, which we would discuss back and forth until we came up with something that we wanted. At first, in my head, I was like "This is Jeff Minter, he's awesome. I don't know how to work with him, how do I work with him?" but he was so accommodating and he really appreciated the feedback. He came up with some really wonderful stuff. Some of my favorite stuff is in the third level, nature, which featured a lot of organic looking shapes. We had him tie in not just the sound but also the state of the enemy patterns. You know how the Invaders start going nutty when there's just one of them left? Well, at that point we have a slow shift of color and look to the visualizer so in the beginning it's a bit more mellow, with cooler colors, and the more aliens you shoot down, the colors become warmer and more violent.Destructoid: Sounds like it's going to be really organic too, there's a lot going on that's naturally pulling you in. Let me ask a little bit about working on downloadable titles versus hard copies -- do you feel there are more advantages working on a game that can be released straight to Xbox Live or PSN rather than a physical release?Arvin: I think I kind of like working on downloadable titles. Maybe its my background. When I started at Backbone we were doing Game Boy color games, so everything is very limited: limited colors, limited memory space, limited amount of animation we can put in. I kind of like that constraint, because it makes me say to myself, "I'm only allowed to do this, how do I work around it to make it awesome?" Downloadable games definitely force you to do that.Aside from that, I think he other plus point of a downloadable title is that it is easier to publish. There's no need to worry about the production of the boxes, the manual, etc. It also makes it faster as far as the turnaround time and how quickly they can be published. We don't get the exposure of shelf space, but anyone online can browse and find the game with ease. It definitely makes it convenient for the player too, since they don't even have to leave the house to buy the game.Destructoid: I'm not gonna lie, we kind of enjoy not having to get up off the sofa to play a new game around here!Arvin: Yeah! And I like this trend of demos being available for the downloadable games too, that way people can really get a good look at what they are going to get.Destructoid: Definitely! Well, it seems like the the 4 player co-op is one of the big things that Backbone stepped in to bring to the 360 version of the game. Tell me a little bit about that.Arvin: For the multiplayer, the co-op and versus modes, Taito gave us a little leeway, and one of our versus modes will be really standout -- I think people will love playing it. It's a mix that work soff of the puzzle elements in the game, and you can play with 3 other people on or offline. The versus mode allows you to shoot a certain number of enemies and send them over to the other side, a la' Twinkle Star Sprites. It's also kind of got a Puzzle Fighter twist to it for every three invaders you shoot, you put one into your queue, which you can store up to 12 Invaders in. When you shoot a UFO that's flying by, you send whatever is in your queue over. Depending on the UFO that you shoot it changes what type of aliens you send over. It's a lot of fun, it's definitely our favorite mode in the office.We also have the standard co-op mode, which you can play with up to three friends, and score attack, which is laid out similarly. Everyone is laid out on one screen but everyone has their own point and combo count, and whoever racks up the highest score wins. There's also Endless Mode, which keeps you shooting until you die -- definitely a leaderboards type of thing.Destructoid:  I'm looking forward to playing those, although I'll probably get my ass beat in some of those co-op modes. (laughs) You guys must have planned some really cool achievements -- can you tell me about a few of your favorites?Arvin: We have quite a few in there, ranging from simple ones such as beating a certain boss tor scoring a certain number of points, but I think my favorite is a classic homage to the original Space Invaders, called the Nagoya Attack. If the aliens get to the very last line and you shoot them there in the original game, the aliens can't shoot you -- they shoot and it goes right through you. Some people would use this to their advantage, wait for it and kill that last guy, but obviously it's a risky move. If you actually fulfill that in Space Invaders Extreme 360, you get the Nagoya Attack achievement.Destructoid: That's awesome! Ok, just one more question for you. If you had your pick and could remake any retro game you chose, what would you pick and what would you do to it?Arvin: That's tough! A lot of the games that have recently come out would have been my first choices, like Space Invaders and Pong the way that Bit. Trip. Beat. reimagined it. One of the games that we love here at work is Rampart. I'm not sure what I would do to it though (laughs), it's genius by itself already. I would have to play it with a trackball. What would I change to it? I can't answer that question!Destructoid: That's ok, I'll let you off this time. Thanks for your time, Arvin!Space Invaders Extreme comes out for XBLA on May 6th.

Being kind of a fan of all things retro, suddenly finding I had the opportunity to speak with the people behind the upcoming 360 version of Space Invaders Extreme was exciting to say the least. Taking a game praised by so man...


Pew! Pew! Space Invaders Extreme XBLA multiplayer in action

Apr 15
// Nick Chester
The hot-ass Space Invaders Extreme that was released on Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable last year is coming to Xbox LIVE Arcade. That's good news, so if you have any of those party horns lying around, now's the time to b...

GDC 09: Space Invaders Extreme XBLA screens and more

Mar 24
// Colette Bennett
Space Invaders Extreme for the DS is, to borrow a phrase from Dale North, my jam. It's gotten me through many a long airplane ride or sitting in airports waiting to be on a long airplane ride (and as RetroforceGo! listeners k...

Space Invaders Extreme screens for XBLA, plus a holiday bonus

Mar 17
// Colette Bennett
Space Invaders Extreme is one of the most addictive games I own for the DS, sitting right up there with Rhythm Tengoku Gold as one of my very favorites. In case you didn't already know, it's coming to Xbox Live, dripping in a...

Jameson on the rocks ... with a side of Space Invaders?

Feb 03
// Colette Bennett
I've seen every kind of novelty ice cube tray from Hello Kitty heads to boobs, but usually they don't elicit much of a reaction from me -- they're going to melt eventually, after all. These Space Invaders ice cube trays don't...

Space Invaders watch does not have playable game, still manages to be awesome

Feb 03
// Conrad Zimmerman
After years of keeping it all inside my head, I have finally started to express my inner gamer through fashion. And this licensed Space Invaders watch would be an excellent way to do that. It manages to be attractive in the s...

Rumortoid: Space Invaders Extreme 2 in the works?

Jan 23
// Jim Sterling
It seems that Play Asia has been a source of game announcement leaks lately, dropping news of Strikers 1945 and Crimsongem Saga. Hopefully it's going to be three for three, as it now contains a listing for Space Invaders Extr...

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