| paleface [sys=PSP; cat=Shooter_Vert; loc=JPN] |
|Port of a close to all (no Space Invaders DX?) of the arcade Space Invaders games. Going by the names and dates in the menu screen, we have:|
Space Invaders: Black & White - 1978
Space Invaders: Cellophane - 1978
Space Invaders: Upright - 1978
Space Invaders: Color - 1978
Space Invaders Part II - 1980
Return of the Invaders - 1985
Majestic Twelve: The Space Invaders Part IV - 1990
Akkenvader - 1995
"Akkenvader" came to arcades in the States as "Space Invaders '95: The Attack of Lunar Loonies."
Do we really need so many color-tweaked versions of the first "Space Invaders"? I'm just going to go out on a big thick limb here and say no, we do not, and nobody in their right mind is really going to sit there and play them all more than once.
The more recent stuff brings along a good deal of variety, though. Starting with Return of the Invaders, the remaining three games give you a rotated, vertical screen mode, faster rate of fire, powerups, much more varied graphics, and creative enemy waves, not to mention boss battles. Return of the Invaders is on the ugly and hard hard side of things, but at least it's quite a bit different from Ye Olde Space Invaders. Majestic Twelve really starts to go whole hog with powerups galore, "cow mutilation" bonus stages, and aliens that do strange things when shot; and then Akkenvaders rolls in with extremely colorful, animated sprites in the "cute 'em up" vein.
Return of the Invaders and Majestic Twelve being what you could call challenged in the graphics and sound department, Akkenvader was the big draw for this collection, and while it still looks and sounds cute as the dickens, with huge animation and color, it runs very slow, so slow that you're really crippled in trying to hit the faster ships in the bonus stages. Seems odd to have that much slowdown here when the PSP can do something like DarkStalkers at full speed. Bad work, Taito. Also, while in the arcade Majestic Twelve and Akkenvader (and maybe a couple of the others, dunno) supported two-player co-op play, only single-player is featured here; there is no WiFi support at all. Weak.
To get back to the load times: for most games, and even going back to the main menu, you have to sit through three loading phases: a black screen phase, an ugly loading screen phase, and an even uglier animated "LOADING" screen phase. Furthermore, between the second and third phases you not infrequently have to press the Circle button to confirm that yes, you would like it to load your saved high scores, thanks. All of this can take in the neighborhood of 20 seconds. To load Space Invaders. 20 seconds? Come on, now.
Taito had pretty good material to draw from here, but they really bungled the technical aspects of making this thing run well on the PSP; while it's nice to have a portable Akkenvader, the slowdown and load times make it much less pleasant to play than it should have been. Please do better next time, Taito.