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Super Space Invaders

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Released: 1991

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: Sega Master System

Publisher: Domark Software, Inc.

Developer: Taito Corporation

Submitted by: Lee Tatlock

Now this may sound like sacrilege to a lot of fans of retro games out there but Space Invaders was never my bag. I enjoyed the wacky parody that was space invaders 95 but more for the visuals and creativity on show than the core game mechanics that where still mostly intact from the 1978 original. So what exactly is it that sticks in my craw about this golden god of gaming? Well it’s simple really; I like games with progression where there’s an end in sight and different, interesting, worlds and enemies to see and conquer, so the strictly high score based game play of the original Invaders iterations was a bit of a dud for me from the get go. However the above was not my only gripe, no sir, my main gripe with the whole bleepy blippy affair was a simple one and a major structural wall in the mechanics of the entire game: I hate those shields, the bases or whatever that get in the way of you blasting the enemy into smouldering debris, they just get in the way! I’m sorry I know you should never mess with perfection but they get right on my teat pipettes. So low and behold when I found out that right there on one of my most beloved consoles, the Sega Master System, lay a version of space invaders that did away with all of that guff, and added interesting worlds, and chucked in massive boss enemies to confront, well I thought ‘That’s just swell!’

Starting with a rather nifty computer scan style break down of the enemies Super Space Invaders kicks off in good form and doesn’t let up. Soon after choosing your difficulty and other such options you are shown a map of the various worlds the invaders must be irradicated from, and so your adventure begins!

Starting in a cityscape the invaders follow their usual pattern of left right scrolling and gradual speed increase, soon enough though the naughty little alien critters start to vary their attacks, even going as far as expanding their size as you blast away at their bloated frames till they eventually pop like ticks under a lighter flame. Of course Space Invaders would be nothing without the thrill of chasing that siren emitting UFO that speeds by above the enemies noggins, but now it’s more integral to the mix than ever before because now it drops power ups for your ship’s laser, time stopping powers and also the dreaded bases I loathe so much except now you can shoot these up into the enemy ranks to decimate their numbers! It’s a nifty system that deviates just enough from the original formula to make it that much more addictive and fun.

Level backgrounds are colourful and well executed affairs giving a real urge to see what comes next. Enemies are mostly typical but as you whittle away into the game you’ll see more variation and, of course, the aforementioned boss invaders. These bosses are awesome, biomechanical, laser spewing, tentacle sporting, monstrosities that really look the part and are a joy to battle.

The sound work is also quite nice and never grates too badly, plus controls are as tight as to be expected and allow you to manoeuvre through even the toughest invasion plan.

So in conclusion I can whole heartedly recommend Super Space Invaders, and believe me that’s no small thing coming from a guy who much preferred playing  Galaga, Pheonix and Satan down my local arcade than I ever did the original Space Invaders. I am officially converted! Hallelujah!