Want Puzzle-Vaders? Look here.
Normally you'd think that an updated modern remake of an old
classic like Space Invaders would be 100% flash and 0% substance. I certainly thought that when I saw the commercials and started playing the game for the first time. But the designers of this remake added two interesting twists that turns this Space Invaders game into a real-time puzzle game.
Yes, a puzzle game. Consider the following new twists:
- Powerups. Shoot four aliens of the same color in a row and you receive a one-time powerup. These powerups can eliminate an entire row, column, diagonal row, release a slow-moving acidic ball, etc.
- Different formations. Each wave of aliens is arranged differently in a deliberate pattern.
Since the aliens are in a different configuration each time, you find yourself trying to solve simple puzzles while the game is playing, like specifically trying to shoot four yellow aliens in a row so that you can get the diagonal powerup so that you can eliminate diagonal rows of similar yellows aliens so that you get the powerup again
, ad infinitum.
It's like Super Puzzle Fighter, Super Tetris, or Puzzle Bobble--except the "pieces" fight back.
The big complaint is shoddy programming. The game lists that a Pentium 166 is the bare minimum for software rendering if you don't have a 3D accelerator. Yes, this entire game is programmed in 3D. Since 99% of this game employs no obvious 3D effects, I am baffled by this decision. And even if 3D were a gameplay requirement, why would a Pentium 166 be the minimum? What, 3D 320x200 software rendering isn't possible on a 486?
Also, the end-level bosses are token and fairly frustrating to beat if you don't have the double-shot powerup. I kept feeling that they were unneccesary (but then again they break up the gameplay, so maybe I was just frustrated).
The music is a slight disappointment, consisting of short looped sections of sound, which start to grate on your nerves after a while.
The Bottom Line
An interesting remake of a classic game. I hate to admit it, but it's fairly addictive. (Yes, that's a good thing.)