reviews\ Sep 19, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Space Invaders Infinity Gene review


You may be asking: Didn’t we already get a Space Invaders remake a little while ago? Yep, in fact, it was just under a year ago that Space Invaders Extreme came out for Nintendo DS and Xbox Live Arcade, with its mixture of old-school sprites from the 1980’s game mixed with some fresh gaming ideas, including multi-colored enemies and innovative power-ups. But that isn’t stopping Taito and Square Enix from revamping the series yet again for Space Invaders Infinity Gene, a console version of the iPhone game that came out earlier this year. Not that we’re arguing. As long as all classic revitalizations are as fresh and entertaining, then we’re all for it.

In the game, you’re blazing through each stage, shooting down formations of aliens with a variety of power-ups, including a seeking laser, a rapid fire shot cannon, and a wave gun that shoots vector lines in one continuous stream after another. You’ll earn even more over the course of each area, as you unlock stages through “Evolution”, depending on how high a score you get. It’s actually an innovative unlocking system, one that pushes you to keep going forward, no matter how difficult the game gets -- and it will get difficult, no doubt about that.

Gameplay consists of shooting and, well, more shooting. But that’s the same thing that worked so well with the original '80’s game, and it does so here, even with a few adaptive rules. You’ll need to dodge incoming enemies and gunfire, while at the same time racking up combos to achieve a higher score and watching out for shot boosters from incoming UFO’s. It’s a little easygoing at first, but by the time you reach the fourth set of stages, things become chaotic.

Along with the main Arcade Mode, Space Invaders Infinity Gene also features three additional unlockable modes. Bonus lets you tackle special stages as you level up through the game’s Evolution Tree; Music Mode creates stages on the fly from tunes installed to your hard drive (leave a few MB’s free for them) and Challenge Mode provides stages that change each time, though the common goal – destroy everything in sight – remains the same. While these aren’t the most diverse modes thrown into a game, they’re each entertaining in their own way, and well worth unlocking.

Where Infinity Gene stands apart from Space Invaders Extreme is in its presentation. While it would’ve been easy for Taito to simply cut and paste what worked so well in last year’s reimagining, it instead features a whole new presentation, with nifty, fast-moving backgrounds, unpredictable enemy patterns and sweet-looking vector effects that we haven’t seen since the old days of the Vectrex. It all comes at a fast pace, too, so you won’t have to worry about slowdown getting in the way. The bosses are wonderfully designed as well, and aren’t prepared to go down without a fight.

Consisting mostly of remixed techno tunes, Infinity Gene’s music stands out, and will keep you grooving as you blast your way through each stage. The sound effects aren’t much, mostly borrowed samples from the original '80’s game, but what’s here fits the bill.

The only real downside to Infinity Gene is that there’s no sign of the arcade original that inspired it. Extreme had it, to an extent, through downloadable content, but there’s no sign of accessing it in Infinity Gene. This would’ve been a prime way for Taito to show newcomers what the Space Invaders craze was all about.

Regardless, Space Invaders Infinity Gene is a must-buy to your downloadable game collection, especially if you appreciate frantic, out-of-this-world shooters. The action moves quickly and the presentation outdoes everything Extreme accomplished last year. Even if you’ve never heard of the Space Invaders, you owe it to yourself to splice in this Gene.


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