Thursday, December 15, 2016

Super Space Invaders

How could you possibly ever consider improving upon the all-time arcade classic Space Invaders? Well, you might try supersizing it which is exactly what Domark with the imaginatively titled Super Space Invaders. This is a conversion of the old favourite with an alternative array of next-gen invaders to quench our two-dimensional alien zapping thirst. They have twisted and moulded the original idea into something which looks and sounds very modern (for 1991) with lots of neat touches and a few stolen ideas.

From the very start, we're treated to a superb intro - which you should watch - it's one of the best I've seen since Race Drivin'. As in the original, each wave starts off slow and gradually speeds up with each kill but they're now presented as a group of levels, similar to Blasteroids or Stardust. The alien grunts are awesome and come in a wide variety of targets for our gun love - some will bloat after being shot, thus requiring extra effort for the kill. Don't expect the same attack formations, this time the aliens will use various methods with some breaking away - Galaxian style!

An easily-targeted mothership frequently passes by at the top of the screen and, once destroyed, she drops a handy power-up in true Arkanoid fashion. These come in all shapes and sizes and I love the laser which slices through the alien hoard like a hot knife through butter. I do admit to taking a predictable liking to the rapid-fire power-up, okay it's simple but it works perfectly. If Space Invaders ever had a flaw, then it's repetition and Super Space Invaders attempts to break that by also introducing bonus rounds - flying saucers are invading the rural countryside and abducting cattle, of all things. It's a pretty lame and I always end up losing most of my cows! Finally, groovy end of level bosses are on guard and in urgent need of a good hiding - I am especially impressed by the level three boss which I thought was beautifully animated (and not too difficult to kill).

Throughout, the graphics are generally excellent with nicely detailed invaders and I especially liked the huge insects and End Of Level bosses - brilliant examples of cool pixel art. Audio is great, from that incredible intro video to the game itself. However, I was a little disappointed not to hear the famous cannon sound effect... Musically, very interesting because I was immediately reminded me of Escape From The Planet Of The Robot Monsters.

I think purists will probably turn up their nose in disgust at this abomination of stolen ideas. However, this is indeed a great game in its own right and is far more addictive than I first imagined. In fact, I liked this game so much that I went "out" (aka eBay) and bought myself a copy. What does that tell you? Don't answer that but know I love this game!


 - I recorded a quick youtube video for y'all to laugh at. Erm, I mean to enjoy...
 - 8BitChip have a hard drive installable download with floppies found via Old Games Finder.
 - I stumbled upon this interesting thread on Atari-Forum about a long-lost hack (credit: dlfrsilver)
 - Update: here is a fantastic video recording by Kev @ Atari STaffroom.