80I don’t know why I know all the words to Sonny & Cher’s “I Got You Babe.”  It came out two decades before I was born; it’s not in my music library; and I’m not a big fan of pre-disco sunshine pop.  Yet low and behold, I found myself singing along with every word when Karaoke Night came around at my local dive bar.

Publisher: Taito
Developer: Project Just
Oct. 20, 2009

Space Invaders is the same way; I have no idea where I first played it, but it sure wasn’t in 1973, and it sure wasn’t in Space Invaders Extreme 1.  Cultural osmosis has somehow made it one of my favorite arcade-style games, and when Space Invaders Extreme 2 first booted up, it’s busy screen and lurid colors made me cringe in anticipation.  But low and behold, it turned out to be an awesome little game!

The basics are the same: you control a tiny ship at the bottom of your screen and you have to blast endless waves of alien invaders to kingdom come before they can land their ships on Earth.  In the style of Geometry Wars, the game is updated to a much faster pace and given a psychedelic paint job and thumping electronic soundtrack.  The design is a bit too gaudy for me; I found myself reaching for tissues to dab my bleeding eyes after playing this for half an hour.  But after a certain point you grow accustomed to it, and more-or-less learn to ignore it.

The gameplay is downright addictive, though I admit I had to put the game down several times because it was making me too stressed.  The incrementally increasing speed of the ships has always turned me from a cool cucumber into a nervous nelly, but the speed of this game–even in early stages–made me downright frantic.  It’s not a soothing game to be played on the train to work, as I found out when my fellow passengers backed away from my frantic button mashing.  I particularly enjoyed a Tetris-like color combo bonus.  It added an element of strategy to the game that made my inevitable death seem more avoidable and gave me a greater feeling of control over the game.

I’ll just come out and admit that I was unable to beat the game.  Not even close.  One speed-up too many had me squealing like a hamster stuck its tubing, and I cracked under the pressure.  But I learned from others that the game only has five stages, which makes it quite short for those of you who don’t experience my chase-induced emotional trauma.  But it wouldn’t do for a game like this to drag on.  It’s a fun diversionary game–something to get addicted to, conquer, and put away.

Blast Factor: This is my first experience with Space Invaders Extreme, and it was a surprisingly fun remake of the treasured classic.  As I’ve noted, it’s a game that really got my heart racing, which admittedly doesn’t happen much, even in big beautiful console games.  Minus the screen-savers-on-drugs backgrounds and graphics, this is a great little game to grow addicted to and pass around among your friends.

Space Invaders Extreme 2 is available on the Nintendo DS for $19.99. A copy of this game was given to us by the publisher for reviewing purposes.

About The Author

Lauren is a Boston-based multimedia designer. Critics and grandparents alike describe her as "very beautiful, if only [she] would brush [her] hair once in a while." Her large animated gif library gives her authority to speak on almost every subject, so she does.

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