One of two things is going to happen when you pick up a popular old school game. Your either going to, one, think to yourself "wow I can’t believe how much time this fossil of a game previously stole from my life" or, two, you’re going to get that ole’ warm giddy feeling you used to get when you picked up the game back in the day and be flooded with a bunch of old school memories. When the core elements of an old school game can do the latter for you, you’ve got to know that’s a very special title.
Space Invaders will forever be a staple mark title in the pages of gaming history. That’s a fact. Deal with it. So it’s not surprising, years later, that we’re seeing developer Taito releasing yet another extreme sequel of the former game on the DS, a platform pretty well known for frequenting the old school playgrounds. "Space Invaders Extreme 2" which closely mimics its predecessor continues to keep the core elements of the original game in place and at the same time offers up an even more extreme perspective of the hit arcade classic.
The core basis of the game is simple: Shoot down approaching invaders and UFOs with your cannon. Once you’re eliminated an invader formation another formation will appear. Once all formations are eliminated for that level a boss battle will ensue. Defeat the boss to clear the level. Sounds simple right? Not so fast.
That’s why they call this version "extreme" Space Invaders. If you’re not familiar with the extreme series a number of things have changed since the original game. For starters those formerly mindless invader drones have received a few significant upgrades and attributes. Some shoot bullets in multiple directions or hover in place and fire powerful laser blasts while others come equipped with reinforced or reflective armor. You even have some that explode or try to land when shot down as well as those that periodically change color to throw you off. The game has changed a lot and this is just for starters.
It’s all about running up the high score. Truth be told, it’s always been about the score when it comes to this game. But Space Invaders Extreme 2, much like part one, is going to seriously challenge your hand-eye coordination in trying to rack up some serious points.
The challenge of the game starts off simple. Shoot down four identical invaders to complete a "power-up feature," causing a power-item to appear. Obtaining the power-up item will, of course, power up your ships cannon for a set period of time. Piece of cake.
Ok so you’ve got the power-up feature down. Now to perform a "round feature" you have to complete "2" power-up features, causing a Flashing UFO to fly by. Upon shooting the unidentified flying object down a "special event" round will begin. Not to difficult a task.
Things start to heat up quite a bit here though. When a round begins the top screen of your DS changes from a status screen to part of the actual game field. Now you’ll be defending against multiple attacks from both the fields of play. During the round you’ll have specific tasks to perform depending on the situation, but mainly the elimination of all invaders. To make things even more chaotic the backgrounds are going to blitz you with a barrage of random images and colors which will likely throw off your coordination enough to make you lose out on some big opportunities. Plan on getting toasted a few times before you get used fighting battles on two fronts.
For the savvy pilots who successfully complete a round, you’ll move on to a more chaotic event entitled "Fever Time" when the normal game resumes. During Fever Time your ships weapons will be greatly increased and believe me you’re going to need every advantage you can get. While you fend off armies of invaders on the bottom screen who will be dropping multiple bonus items, several "Bonus UFOs" will fly frantically around on the top screen. If you can keep your head in it though, you’ll be able to rack up some serious fever bonus points here.
But wait. It’s not over. When Fever Time ends, the top screen will become a multi-colored "BINGO" panel. The object here is to shoot the corresponding colors of invaders along the bottom screen that match the panels on the BINGO screen. If you light up 3 panels in a row either vertically, horizontally, or diagonally then you’ve won the feature. They call it bingo but to me it’s more like a one-sided game of tic-tac-toe.
Now if by some very slim chance you find yourself alive long enough to get BINGO then you’ll be treated to "Super Fever Mode." I’ll just leave that to your imagination. I think the name speaks for itself. What’s left of you after that will be going up against the Stage Boss at the end of the level. Good luck with that.
The game also offers up a fairly decent multiplayer feature if you know a few friends with a system and game. During multiplayer battle both players will appear on the same stage. Making a mistake during the match will result in losing a stock cannon. The first player to run out of stock cannons loses.
So that’s the game in a nutshell. If you by chance missed out on the original extreme version of the game, this one plays closely to the first but comes with a bit of a graphical upgrade, plays a lot more fluently, and boasts a new "time-attack" mode. Even more so is the sheer challenge that awaits you. This one’s a must-have for any ’70’s-’80’s old school gamers out there who are up for literally a blast from the past experience.