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.