I remember where I was back in 1979 when Space Invaders first came to American shores and took us all by storm. I was negative 5-years old, really in the prime of my pre-life, just coming into my own in my soul-development, and I had the opportunity to run my no-where-near developed hands over the controls of that beauty. It was a sight to behold... if only I'd grown eyes by then.
[image1]But now, there's the newest incarnation, Space Invaders Extreme 2. The first SIE was what I wanted from an update to the original, classic formula - a new look with classic highlights, new enemies, any sort of soundtrack, power-ups, the whole works. So my real question going in was... can lightning strike twice?
Space Invaders Extreme 2 is, like one would expect, an upgrade to both the original Space Invaders and the original upgrade of Space Invaders Extreme. Only, it's not really a sequel, as I can't find anything new here over the first Space Invaders Extreme. Even with the advancements over that original 1979 arcade game, it still feels like an old game.
The psychedelic backdrop is both a help and a hindrance to the gameplay. The only notable problem I had with Space Invaders Extreme was that the crazy acid-induced backdrops were pretty but could sometimes be distracting. But every invader on screen is still clearly visible in all their color-coded glory.
[image2]Weapon upgrades are here again, with four hits of a single-colored invader (except the white ones... is that racist?, I can't tell) which then drops a box to pick up. There are four upgrades in all - laser, bomb, spread-shot and the only defensive, the shield - which is the same amount of upgrades in the first Extreme. In fact, except for the bosses, this is the same package that was released last year.
Even the “shoot down everything in thirty seconds” bonus rounds are still here in the same form. Fun as they still are, even when played through a number of times, I wish there was something else here... a new round, a new enemy type (instead of just making everything bigger... bigger isn't always better). I just wanted something to make me feel like I couldn't just pick up the first Extreme off my shelf instead.
It controls well, but then that was something the Space Invaders series has always had going for it. Simplicity is precedent, from the still-blocky invaders (I guess if they weren't blocky, the terrorists would win or something) to the one-button and directional control scheme.
Maybe I just need something more extreme to get excited about, but as it stands, it's a solid title that is worth picking up... if you don't have it already in some form. Unfortunately, it just reminds me that the word “extreme” has, sadly, lost any and all meaning to me.