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Space Invaders Extreme Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Although it doesn't feel nearly as intense as it did ten years ago, Space Invaders Extreme still provides a lot of straight-forward shoot 'em up thrills. I love what they've done to the classic arcade game and still can't get enough of the high-energy soundtrack. This brand new PC port looks fantastic and is easy to get into, even if you're generally not a fan of the genre. Space Invaders Extreme is another great example of Degica bringing some of the best shooters of all time to the PC. Rating: 78%
Space Invaders Extreme
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  • Review Score:

  • B+
I started a new series a few weeks ago called Review Rewind, where I replay games I reviewed a decade ago to see if I like them more, less or about the same. Space Invaders Extreme was a game I was planning on covering, since it came in 2008 and I haven't played it in years. But before I had a chance to dig out the UMD and charge up my PSP, Degica decided to port the game to the PC. Now it's back, looking and sounding better than ever. But here's the question: In a world filled with remakes, reboots and rip-offs, does this decade-old Space Invaders revival feel more antiquated than extreme?

I'm going to level with you; I was never a huge Space Invaders fanatic. I appreciate its importance to the shoot 'em up genre and understand why people love it, but by the time I got around to playing it, I was already used to newer, faster shooters like R-Type and Gradius. I also wasn't a big fan of Taito's various sequels and reboots, including that time they tried to turn Space Invaders into a terrible third-person shooter. But in 2008, all that changed. The moment I played Space Invaders Extreme on the PSP, I went from respecting the series from afar to being a die-hard fan.


Of course, a lot has changed in the last ten years, especially when it comes to retro resurrections. These days it's common to see both official and indie-developed reboots getting a lot of attention, thanks in large part to the success of games like this. I started to wonder if this game I loved a decade ago would seem almost quaint compared to what we're getting today. Could it be that Space Invaders Extreme is no longer as extreme as it once was?

The simple answer is no, this game is just as much fun today as it was all those years ago. It's an intoxicating remix that takes the flavor of the original game and then pumps in so many fresh ideas that it's almost unrecognizable. And yet, somehow, they manage that impossible task of creating a shoot 'em up that feels completely new and original, while simultaneously resembling the forty year old arcade game that started it all.

Space Invaders Extreme starts out like any other classic shooter; you're a small triangular space ship that sits at the bottom of the screen moving left and right. Above you (or rather, in front of you) are row after row of space aliens, all working their way to the bottom of the screen. It lulls you into a false sense of familiarity before yanking the rug out. This is a game that just keeps getting crazier the longer you play, and I love every second of the chaos.

Space Invaders Extreme (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

You're essentially doing the same thing arcade gamers did back in 1978, only this time around the rules have changed in dramatic ways. There are a bunch of power-ups, all kinds of bonus stages, video footage playing in the background and massive boss fights at the end of every level. Just about the only thing that hasn't changed is the actual space invader, the little pixel enemy that menaces Earth from the sky. But don't be fooled by their appearance, because this time around these aliens come in all different colors and sizes. Before the end of the game you'll run into gigantic aliens, tiny aliens, green aliens, red aliens, shielded aliens and more.

Instead of just dropping power-ups randomly, Space Invaders Extreme rewards you for shooting four aliens of the same color in a row. These weapons are the highlight and do a good job of making you feel like a real badass. There are few things more satisfying than watching that blue laser beam cutting through the invaders like they're made out of cotton candy. It's the kind of thing that reminds you how cool 2D shoot 'em ups can be.

When I reviewed the game back in 2008, my sole complaint was the short length. It's true, Space Invaders Extreme can be beaten in around an hour, but it's designed to be played over and over in order to get through all the paths. This brand new PC version also adds a world ranking system to the arcade mode, giving you even more incentive to keep playing and beating your scores.

Space Invaders Extreme (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Speaking of which, we can't go this entire review without mentioning the improved graphics and sound. What you may not remember is that Space Invaders Extreme was developed as a handheld game for both the Nintendo DS and Sony's PlayStation Portable. It was later ported to the Xbox 360, which used to be the best looking version on the market. I say used to be, because this PC remaster blows the other versions away. The graphics are sharp, smooth and messy in all the right ways. That said, with so much happening, it's a little too easy for the bullets to blend in to the background. That's a problem I had with the game both in 2008 and today.

Although it doesn't feel nearly as intense as it did ten years ago, Space Invaders Extreme still provides a lot of straight-forward shoot 'em up thrills. I love what they've done to the classic arcade game and still can't get enough of the high-energy soundtrack. This brand new PC port looks fantastic and is easy to get into, even if you're generally not a fan of the genre. Space Invaders Extreme is another great example of Degica bringing some of the best shooters of all time to the PC.
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