Space Invaders

a game by Taito, Activision, Z-Axis, and Torus Games
Platforms: SNESSNES Nintendo 64Nintendo 64 GameBoy Color PSX GBA GameBoy
Genres: Action, Shooting Games
Editor Rating: 8.2/10, based on 9 reviews
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See also: Space Invaders Games
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders

Space Invaders is a classic arcade video game released in 1978 and manufactured by Taito in Japan. The game was later on licensed for the United States by Midway. The game is one of the first shooters in the history. The target is to defeat waves of aliens with a laser of cannon and to earn as many points as possible by the end of the session. The designer got inspired from Breakout, The War of the World and Star Wars and had to design custom hardware and development tools.

The game is considered a pioneer and helped expand the video game industry from a novelty to a global successful business. Due to its popularity, the game caused a temporary shortage of 100-yen coins in Japan. The total was about 2 billion US dollars by 1982 and by 2007 the game earned over 500 million in profits. The game is ranked by Guinness World Records as the top arcade game ever.

The game was a source of inspiration for several other games and was later on ported on other platforms. The game has been also parodied in multiple TV shows and was part of video game exhibitions.

The game is a 2D fixed shooter game. The player controls a laser cannon with a horizontal movement across the bottom of the screen and fires at descending aliens. The player has to defeat five rows of eleven aliens. For each alien defeated, the player earns a number of points. As more aliens are defeated by the player, their movement and the music become faster. The loop can continue forever, but at some point in time the aliens will become so fast that the player will not be able to continue.

The alien invasion is successful when the aliens reach the bottom of the screen. While the player tries to defeat them, the aliens try to destroy the cannon by firing at it. At some point in time some mystery ships will move across the screen and will offer the player bonus points if he manages to destroy it.

More than 300.000 Space Invaders arcade machines were sold in Japan, and more than 60.000 were sold in the U.S. The price range for a machine was from $2000 to $3000. The game is the best-selling video game and the highest-grossing entertainment product of its time and is most of the time compared with Star Wars, which grossed around $500 million in movie tickets. By 2007 the game brought Taito profit of over 5 million U.S. dollars.

8.5

The arcade game was rated by GameSpot users with an average of 8.5, but other variants and releases on different platforms were rated way higher.

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Game Reviews

The invasion of 1978 came without warning. Fortunately, the government had been studying alien technologies from a space ship that crashed years before. They used this technology to create a prototype weapon called simply "The Tank." It was these Tanks and their brave pilots that were able to fend off the aliens. After the aliens eventually left, it was obvious more research was needed and so it continued. Years later a more advanced weapon, still named "The Tank" for sentimental reasons, was built. This time we were ready in case the aliens decided to return...

Gameplay

For those of you who survived the invasion of 1978, you've already had the basic training for accomplishing your missions here. For those of you who haven't experienced the 1978 attack (do any of you actually exist?), I'll give you a brief rundown. Scores of aliens, all lined up in rows, start near the top of the screen and march left and right moving down a little each time they get to the edge of the screen. Occasionally a mothership will fly across the top of the screen. The aliens begin to move faster as more of them are destroyed. Should they manage to get to the bottom of the screen... well, let's just say it's not pretty.

The 1999 invasion is not quite as simple -- a few new twists have been added. Like the original attack, there are different types of aliens. Unlike the original, the different types actually affect the gameplay. You have your standard aliens that march and drop bombs on you. You also have specialized aliens that do anything from multiplying when shot to strafing the ground with lasers to dive-bombing you.

The missions take place on planets in our solar system and each planet has its own unique alien unit, a mothership round (which is sort of a bonus level), and its own boss creature. On your side is a new arsenal of weapons: you have the standard one-shot projectile like the original, but you now also can obtain a double-shot, a shield, and you can get a temporary time stop capsule by destroying a mother ship. You can also obtain special weapons that shoot right through rows or groups of aliens in some creative ways. One weapon shoots as a sine wave while another has a pyramid effect (destroys three on bottom, two in the middle, one on top), and one that actually launches your ship right into the aliens and destroys anything in its path. The special weapons can be obtained by hitting four like aliens in a row. The color alien you hit determines the type of weapon you'll get. Strategic shooting can actually allow you to clear a level with about six or seven shots total! During the invasion of 1978, you had the use (or hindrance) of shields floating above your Tank. Some missions in the new version have shields, fortunately though, they are a bit more useful than the original as you can now shoot them and they will move up a little on screen -- often times right into the path of an oncoming alien. Like the original game, the shields will eventually disappear if they take too many hits.

Space Invaders has two difficulty levels: normal and hard. I played normal mode and found it to be a fun challenge -- it was not too difficult but not overly easy either. One very nice feature of this game is having the ability to save your game at any time. Unlike the Playstation version, if you quit and return later you retain your weapons and power-ups. The save menus get a little annoying after a while as it seems to prompt you way too much -- for instance, it prompts to put in the save card, then prompts to find it, then prompts to save it, then prompts to continue. This game also has two-player simultaneous action so you can take on the aliens with a friend and share the power-ups. So that's it? Well, for general gameplay, yes, for the game overall, no. The original arcade version of Space Invaders is hidden in the game too! While the original game is there, though, it plays a little differently, as shooting the shields does not damage them. After they take enough hits, they completely disappear. Also, your ship fires incredibly faster than the original version in the arcade.

The controls in this game are quite simple: left, right, fire, and use special weapon -- that's it. While the analog stick is supported, it does not act as an analog stick (meaning you cannot adjust the speed of moving your Tank), it either moves or it doesn't. The controls are customizable in case you don't like the default settings. This game is very responsive to movement and firing.

As compared to the Playstation version of this game, the gameplay is almost identical in every way. As far as extra little features and tidbits, it falls short of the Playstation version. The biggest gripe I have in this department is the cut scenes, which really are nothing more than still shot pictures and have no sound at all. I think the game actually would have been better off without them as it's difficult to understand the story without first reading the manual or watching the videos on the Playstation version

Graphics

The graphics are a huge step up from the original game (really, though, would you expect anything less?). As far as N64 games go, they're right on par. There are some nice effects with various weapons and explosions, especially when fighting the boss creatures. Each planet has its own different background; they are all rendered nicely but aren't so extravagant that they inhibit the actual gameplay. The Tank, aliens, and motherships all look very nice and are not overly complicated. I have no complaints here. On a side note, the graphics in the hidden original game are actually colored like you would see them in the arcade with the overlay. This was a nice touch.

Audio

Explosions, UFO sounds, missiles firing -- there isn't much more than that and there doesn't really need to be. Don't think that this is a quiet game, though. There is usually enough stuff happening on screen at any given time to keep your ears entertained as well as your eyes. Also, there is a low volume techno soundtrack that plays during the missions. The quality of the sound is pretty average for a N64 game these days. I was very disappointed in the cut scenes, though, as they have absolutely no sound at all.

Documentation

Like all good N64 games, there is a manual included in the box. This manual has an interesting short story about the invasion of 1978 and how "The Tank" came about. There is also basic gameplay and control information and not much else.

Bottom Line

This game is a joy to play. It takes a simple game concept from the past and gives it some refreshing updates with some new twists that don't destroy the nostalgia of the original. I particularly liked the way the save feature works as you aren't forced to play for a set amount of time before being able to save (even though you have to answer several prompts to do it). Any fan of classic gaming should be able to appreciate this game to its fullest extent -- especially since the original is hidden within and several other references are made to it. Even if you aren't necessarily into classic gaming but just want to play something simpler than your average game these days, this one may be for you, which is why I give this game a score of 85.

The thumping bass beat. The simply designed creepy-crawly Invaders. The crude color stripes across the playfield. These elements of Taito's original Space Invaders have been faithfully captured by Nintendo in a wonderful Super Game Boy history lesson.

1978 HP. (After Pong)

Sure, if you played the original arcade version of Space Invaders, you're a video game fossil. However, the game's simple premise and design still work: Shoot everything, don't get shot, and score as many points as you can. With that in mind, the controls are simple: Use one fire button and Left/Right on the controller to move. 'Nuff said.

Being a re-creation of the classic game, the graphics and sound are very basic. Although it's hardly state of the art, the anxious mood translates quite well. Nintendo has added some nice effects, like the stereo pan when the UFO cruises across the screen and the Super Game Boy borders and color variations.

Will Disco Make a Comeback, Too?

The main problem with Space Invaders is that it had its day in the late 70s. Back then, it was innovative. Now its repetitive nature might turn off some gamers, though the two-player contest - the second player shoots back from the top using the UFO - is real ly cool. You may want to try before you buy to see if nostalgia should invade your space.

ProTips:

  • Go for the UFO only when you have a clear shot Don't let It distract you from tracking the invaders' shots.
  • Instead of randomly shooting Invaders, work on one side. This tactic offers more time to blast the columns and gives you safe spots to rest
  • Cutting a hole In the middle of a block Isn't a bad tactic. It creates more firing corridors while still providing some protective hiding places.

Overview

The invasion of 1978 came without warning. Fortunately, the government had been studying alien technologies from a space ship that crashed years before. They used this technology to create a prototype weapon called simply "The Tank." It was these Tanks and their brave pilots that were able to fend off the aliens. After the aliens eventually left, it was obvious more research was needed and so it continued. Years later a more advanced weapon, still named "The Tank" for sentimental reasons, was built. This time we were ready in case the aliens decided to return...

Gameplay

For those of you who survived the invasion of 1978, you’ve already had the basic training for accomplishing your missions here. For those of you who haven’t experienced the 1978 attack (do any of you actually exist?), I’ll give you a brief rundown. Scores of aliens, all lined up in rows, start near the top of the screen and march left and right moving down a little each time they get to the edge of the screen. Occasionally a mother ship will fly across the top of the screen. The aliens begin to move faster as more of them are destroyed. Should they manage to get to the bottom of the screen... well, let’s just say it’s not pretty.

The 1999 invasion is not quite as simple as a few new twists have been added. Like the original attack, there are different types of aliens. Unlike the original, the different types actually affect the gameplay. You have your standard aliens that march and drop bombs on you. You also have specialized aliens that do anything from multiplying when shot to strafing the ground with lasers to dive bombing you.

The missions take place on planets in our solar system and each planet has its own unique alien unit, a mother ship round (which is sort of a bonus level), and its own boss creature. On your side is a new arsenal of weapons; you have the standard one-shot projectile like the original, but you now also can obtain a double-shot, a shield, and you can get a temporary time stop capsule by destroying a mother ship. You can also obtain special weapons that shoot right through rows or groups of aliens in some creative ways. One weapon shoots as a sine wave while another has a pyramid effect (destroys three on bottom, two in the middle, one on top), and one that actually launches your ship right into the aliens and destroys anything in its path. The special weapons can be obtained by hitting four like aliens in a row. The color alien you hit determines the type of weapon you’ll get. Strategic shooting can actually allow you to clear a level with about six or seven shots total! During the invasion of 1978, you had the use (or hindrance) of shields floating above your Tank. Some missions in the new version have shields, fortunately though, they are a bit more useful than the original as you can now shoot them and they will move up a little on screen -- often times right into the path of an oncoming alien. Like the original game, the shields will eventually disappear if they take too many hits.

Space Invaders has two difficulty levels: normal and hard. I played normal mode and found it to be a fun challenge -- it was not too difficult but not overly easy either. One very nice feature of this game is having the ability to save your game at any time. Of course, if you quit and come back later, any special weapons you picked up will not be available to you.

So that’s it? Well, for general gameplay, yes, for the game overall, no. The game also contains some hidden goodies depending on certain things you do, such as access to additional levels. The original arcade version of Space Invaders is hidden in the game too!

The controls in this game are quite simple: left, right, fire, and use special weapon -- that’s it. While the analog stick is supported, it does not act as an analog stick (meaning you cannot adjust the speed of moving your Tank), it either moves or it doesn’t. The controls are customizable in case you don’t like the default settings. This game is very responsive to movement and firing.

The CD also has an in-game instruction mode that shows you how to obtain and use special weapons. It is worth watching before playing the first time so you can see how to really utilize the power of your special weapons.

Graphics

The graphics are a huge step up from the original game (really, though, would you expect anything less?). As far as PlayStation games go, they’re right on par. There are some nice effects with various weapons and explosions, especially when fighting the boss creatures. Each planet has its own different background; they are all rendered nicely but aren’t so extravagant that they inhibit the actual gameplay. The Tank, aliens, and mother ships all look very nice and are not overly complicated. The opening and ending cut scenes look great and are both nostalgic and entertaining. I have no complaints here.

Audio

Explosions, UFO sounds, missiles firing -- there isn’t much more than that and there doesn’t really need to be. Don’t think that this is a quiet game, though. There is usually enough stuff happening on screen at any given time to keep your ears entertained as well as your eyes. The quality of the sound is pretty normal for a PlayStation game these days. Again, I have no complaints here.

Documentation

Like all good PlayStation games, there is a manual included in the front of the jewel case. This manual goes over the game and has an interesting short story about the invasion of 1978 and how "The Tank" came about. There is also the standard gameplay and control information and descriptions of some of the different types of aliens you’ll go up against. The game itself also contains most of this documentation during the game itself and in its "Instruction" mode.

Bottom Line

This game is a joy to play. It takes a simple game concept from the past and gives it some refreshing updates with some new twists that don’t destroy the nostalgia of the original. I particularly loved the way the save feature works as you aren’t forced to play for a set amount of time before being able to save. Any fan of classic gaming should be able to appreciate this game to its fullest extent -- especially since the original is hidden within and several other references are made to it. Even if you aren’t necessarily into classic gaming but just want to play something simpler than your average game these days, this one may be for you, which is why I give this game a score of 87.

Space Invaders was the first arcade video games to attract a large audience of players and, some say, paved the road for Asteroids, Pac-Man and their derivitives. The object is simple, destroy a squadron of aliens that move rhythmically to the left and right, decending one step towards your position along the bottom of the screen whenever they reach one side or the other. Bonus UFOs fly by on top while the aliens speed up as they descend in numbers.

People say:

5

There's not much that you can say one way or another about this game - you either like Space Invaders or you don't. Don't plan on getting anything more than what the title promises. Space Invaders had its day and is done nearly perfectly on GameBoy, but the game itself is very average.

2

Games just don't come any worse. At least SI on the 2600 had color. SI on the Game-Boy is just about the most boring game ever made. There is no challenge here, no incentive to get further into the game and nothing to hold interest. No updates on the theme make this game bomb in my book.

3

If you played it in the arcades and you still have a place in your heart for this outdated blast-from-the-past, then this is for you. Not in the same league as Gradius, but what can you say.

4

This is Space Invaders. Although it is a great version, this game is just too old to be considered a real contender. The execution is nearly identical, however, so the game gets a point for its carbon-copy translation, but it ends up being a boring old game-which is exactly what it is.

People say:

8

This is what the Game Boy was made tor! Space Invaders is a great game for bringing back memories. In fact, if you have a Super Game Boy, you can play the arcade version's full screen! While the game doesn't change all that much during the course of the game, newer players can see what we were playing back in the days of yesteryear. No matter what system you play it on, Space Invaders is fun.

6

For those who are into nostalgic video games, you can't beat Space Invaders. It looks, sounds and plays just like the old arcade stand-up, but there are many new options thrown in to make the game more modern. But why now? This game really should have been released when the Game Boy first came out. Now it seems dated even with the upgrades. If you've always wanted Space Invaders, it's here.

3

You've got to be kidding me! I can't believe this even came out! But then again, it's one of the few arcade games the Game Boy can actually reproduce. Nostalgia aside, about the only other thing that's appealing about Space Invaders is playing it on the Super Game Boy. At least, you get to play in control. Other than that, there really is nothing left. There's no challenge, and it's just a plain game.

4

Well, let's face it, this game is just too old to compete with the current standards. Sure it's nostalgic, but as a game itself, it doesn't have the complexity to entertain you. The reproduction is, of course, flawless but there isn't enough to do in the game. This cart does have some value to the older players who actually got into it, but for most it will not have enough to stand up in the fast-paced video game market.

  • Manufacturer: Nintendo
  • Machine: Games Boy

This blast from the past is still a gas! Use your single-shot can- non to stop the mindless hordes of creepy looking bad guys before they can overrun your planet. Yes, it is kinda mindless, but it's also kinda fun! Take that, space creep!

  • Machine: Game Boy.
  • Manufacturer: by Taito. publisher Nintendo.

Before there was Mario, before there was Sonic or Earthworm Jim, there was Asteroids, Defender - and Space Invaders. Those of you who are actually old enough to remember the simple shooter also remember that your main concern was staying alive and keeping alien invaders from landing on the Earth. It was a simple premise - kill or be killed - and when it made its debut in 1978 it was the hottest arcade sensation since the lowly game of pinball.

Now, those relentless creatures are back again in Space Invaders for Game Boy and Super Game Boy, and thankfully, they haven't changed one bit. They're just as mindless as ever and just as addictive as they were in the arcades of yesteryear. Space Invaders not only offers Game Boy players a chance to relive a classic era of video gaming, but it also offers an opportunity to own all four versions of the original Space Invaders arcade machine. Just like Donkey Kong for Game Boy, when Space Invaders is played on a Super Game Boy, your SNES is 'transformed' into a classic arcade machine. The outside screen border assumes the same look of the original machine and you also notice other slight details like the original scoring meters and those great cellophane color overlays.

Ah, those were the days! At any rate, this is one of the world's best games, plus the Super Game Boy version is the exact same version that sold by the truckloads when Taito released it for the Super Famicom in Japan. So show some respect, throw some 70's tunes in the CD player and relive a bygone era of video gaming.

Not only is the Game Boy scene awash with old arcade conversions, it's also well served with shoot-'em-ups, from Midway's classy Defender to Nintendo's superb R- Type DX, so it would be easy to ignore yet another update of the daddy of them all.

Space Invaders wasn't the first futuristic blaster but it's still the title that most people associate with videogames in general - you tamper with its classic mix of tension and score-boosting skill at your peril. This version has been well and truly jiggled around, with new invaders that take several hits to kill, extra weapons such as a three-way laser, shields that can be replenished, and weird formations, but it's actually pretty good. It retains enough of the original gameplay to be recognisably Space Invaders, and most of the new stuff works well. The cart also includes a bonus copy of the arcade original to compare it with.

Snapshots and Media

SNES/Super Nintendo/Super Famicom Screenshots

GBA Screenshots

GameBoy Screenshots

GameBoy Color Screenshots

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