Written by  :  Trixter (9128)
Written on  :  Dec 28, 1999
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars

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Want Puzzle-Vaders? Look here.

The Good

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 Bad

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.)