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In Memory
Sean Pettibone


Space Invaders Revolution (Nintendo DS)

By Michael Palisano

The extra-terrestrial attack has begun yet again with the release of Space Invaders Revolution for the DS. This latest update takes a more traditional approach than some of the earlier revisions. The gameplay is fairly standard, making it feel instantly familiar. The new emulated version of the game is fun to play for a short time, but the overall result of the new Arranged version is underwhelming. The game plays and feels more constrained as a result with limited extra modes and options that seem a bit too conservative. Read our review and find out why this version of Space Invaders offers and adequate update, but can hardly be considered revolutionary.

Updating a classic like Space Invaders requires a delicate touch, if you stay too close to the original, you risk boring today's younger players, but if you get too far from the original game, you're likely to piss off the classic gaming contingent. Space Invaders Revolution on the DS seems to stay closer to the former than the latter, and while its faithfulness to the classic shooter is admirable from a classicists' standpoint, the game really doesn't go far enough. There are two main modes of play in the game, a classic emulated version of the game, which is excellent, and a new Arranged mode that adds some new features and challenges but stays very close in style to the original. In the classic mode, the action is consigned to the upper screen, with the lower portion used to display the score, number of ships and wave. It's exactly what you'd expect, though the emulation is good - the classic feel, sound effects and graphics are perfectly recreated, right down to the slight hiccup when the invaders are struck. There are two main concessions to the modern player in this mode, both of which can be turned on or off. The first is an auto fire mode, which saves some strain on your finger. The second is a cross-hair which appears with the famous UFO's, allowing you to have a better shot at them. Overall, however, this is the classic Space Invaders you've come to grow and love over the years. This is pretty cool to have in the palm of your hand, but by no means something you'd want to pay full price for. More interesting is the new Arrange mode, which attempts to add new features and items, but doesn't really change anything around to much.

Space Invaders Revolution's Arranged mode is a bit faster than the original game, with faster moving shots and enemies. These levels divided into levels and stages. As you begin the game, you can view a map of the world, which you can use to select which stage you want to play. Each stage takes place in a different setting and the invaders come at you in waves. These are divided into three almost identical waves, each of which has a different objective. This is where the gameplay diverges from the original in a number and type of enemies you face. Some of the levels are fairly standard, with the biggest difference being the size and area of the stage. These can be quite constrained, which makes it more challenging to avoid shots and blow up all the invaders before they reach the bottom of the screen. There are other stages which are more elaborate, and feature a full-sized waved of foes, though here some of them use cloaking and disappear and reappear as they march towards the bottom of the screen. 

Some of the more challenging foes are the large invader stages, where you have to defeat a single screen filling foe pixel by pixel. There are also bonus levels where you can shoot a series of smaller, less predictable foes or UFO's for bonus points. The game includes more than 20 stages, making for 60+ waves in all, which adds to the longevity and replay value. During the new arrange modes, you can pick up a number of power ups including speed ups, lasers and shields which you can enable by pressing the touch screen. In one of the cooler additions, you can also earn additional support cannons, which move side by side with your ship, enabling you to take out the invaders much faster. While the gameplay has been given a modern update and feel in these modes, and the game moves much smoother than the original. You'll still have the same basic layout of shields, a wave of enemies and the upper portion of the screen where you'll find the UFO's who appear at random.

From a visual standpoint, the new Arrange version is decent, but nothing spectacular. The levels are basically static screen grabs of generic city or nature shots, overlaid by the action. In a cool concession to classic fans, however, the sprites and animations are basically the original sprites with a few added frames of animation. The arrange mode also features some decent music that plays in the background as well. Playing the arrange mode is interesting for a short time, but once the novelty wears off, the gameplay quickly becomes monotonous. While the twists are fun, there really isn't enough new here to justify extended play. In the end, the game doesn't go far enough and falls short of its revolutionary billing. While the new features and power-ups are decent, they really don't add much excitement to the classic gameplay, making Space Invaders Revolution a fun diversion for classic gamers. Its short and somewhat tedious gameplay makes this one that you might want to wait for a low retail price to purchase.

Grade: C+

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