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Nintendo DS Review: Space Invaders Extreme 2

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Videogame players as a whole tend to clamor for more innovation from their products. To them, each successive release must be more pioneering than the last or the product will be derided as being ‘derivative’ and ‘lacking in originality.’

While it obviously is important that videogames do their best to continuously push the envelope; sometimes there is nothing wrong with a title that achieves little more than merely being similar to the ones that precede it. One can look at them as the equivalent of comfort food; while the flavor may not change drastically, at least you know what you will be receiving.

One such title that qualifies as comfort food is the sequel to Space Invaders Extreme, aptly titled Space Invaders Extreme 2. It possesses the same great taste as its forerunner, with only a few alterations made to make it stand out.

The original Space Invaders Extreme, which saw release by Taito on June 17, 2008, represented the company’s latest attempt to bring the established retro property up to modern standards. This was accomplished by taking the original concept, which consisted of blasting aliens, and refining it with equal mixtures of style and substance. While the invaders persisted in their efforts to enter your space, they now came in color-coded varieties, and destroying a specific amount of similarly colored adversaries would reward one with additions to their alien-busting arsenal. Bombs, multi-shots, shields that provide one with some defense from enemies, and extended laser blasts would compliment the signature weapon, providing some alternate means in fighting those annoying aliens.

The original title also gave players additional venues to fight off these invaders; blasting the flashing UFOs that would transport one to a bonus round where they would have to achieve a specific task, such as eliminating a set amount of ships, in a certain period of time. Should one succeed there, they would activate Fever Time, where the player's ship becomes powered up and one can gain bonus points for defeating errant invaders. In addition, fending off invader waves would earn one an appointment with their designated ‘leaders,’ who would do their best to make sure that the player would never see the light of day ever again. However, should the player manage to succeed in their quest and save humanity from these invaders, they would have the option to do it again, either via the game’s extreme mode or through any of the branching paths that one can take in the regular mode.

Space Invaders Extreme 2 takes these concepts from the original and expands on them. The core gameplay of one ship against many, many enemies remains, however, the game has since added more aliens and giving said more means to attack one. They have also added branching paths and altered the designs of a few of the weapons.

Now, one can still rely on multi-shots, lasers, shields and bombs to remove  foes; however, the shield now has the added benefit of covering the entire playfield rather than just one's ship. In addition, the multi-shots are now green rather than yellow, which does not necessarily add any firepower, but is a nice cosmetic change.

One significant alteration that has been made is how Fever Time is handled. The original game would whisk one away to an alternate area to complete the task; this version places the challenge on the top screen, forcing the player to complete it in addition to the normal duties. Despite this change, the reward for the challenge remains the same; the chance to quickly increase to your point totals.

Along with this change, there is now the opportunity for a ‘Bingo Chance,’ where by scoring a ‘Bingo’ on the board that is displayed on the top half of the screen, one has the chance to enter ‘Super Fever’ where they can score even more points by catching the falling orbs coming from the ships.

The Invader leaders return in this sequel and seem more determined than ever, using multiple lasers, splitting into smaller foes, and other tricks that extend beyond what they were capable of in the original game.

Beating Space Invaders Extreme 2 will still grant the opportunity to explore branching paths; however, these branches exist in both the normal and unlocked ‘extreme’ modes.  This ensures that one's experiences will be alternately fulfilling and trying, as this title can alternate between extremely easy, and devastatingly difficult.

For all the changes that this sequel makes to the first game, it wisely keeps the trippy graphics and excellent sounds that earned its fore bearer the ‘Extreme’ moniker. In fact, if one were to give a passing look to this title, it would be easy to dismiss what is present as Space Invaders Extreme 1.5. While some may balk at that, those who love retro games or Space Invaders will see this as the ultimate comfort food, and will willingly eat it up.

Space Invaders Extreme 2 is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB.


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