The Game: You’re the pilot of a ground-based mobile weapons platform, and there are buttloads of alien meanies headed right for you. Your only defense is a trio of shields which are degraded by any weapons fire – yours or theirs – and a quick trigger finger. Occasionally a mothership zips across the top of the screen. When the screen is cleared of invaders, another wave – faster and more aggressive – appears. When you’re out of “lives,” or when the aliens manage to land on Earth… it’s all over. This edition adds two new modes, a timed game with a slightly updated retro look, and a 3-D mode which puts the player right behind the cannon, now expanded to a giant 3-D representation. (D3 Publisher [under license from Taito], 2001)
Memories: This budget title from 2001, to be fair, was largely a re-release of Taito’s earlier PS1 Space Invaders Collection just four years before this game’s release. But this time, you actually get more for that low, low price.
Perhaps driven by Sony’s insistence that all games should have 3-D rather than 2-D graphics (an edict that effectively put an end to retro compilations late in the console’s life), this game sported a flashy new 3-D mode. It’s basically classic Space Invaders from an almost humorously out-of-proportion, behind-the-eight-ball perspective – and yet it’s so cool. It’s no small wonder that Taito replicated this feature for the PS2 Space Invaders 25th Anniversary Collection (which itself scored major retro points for its awkward but beautiful specialty controller housing, a mini-cocktail-table Space Invaders arcade machine into which a standard PS2 controller could be plugged).
Not quite as eye-popping, but still fun, is the Time Battle game: classic Space Invaders with an time elapsed counter, showing just how long it’s taking you to repel the invasion. Time is money here, people. Can you blast a little faster?
I’d normally balk at re-releases like this, but the sheer novelty of the 3-D mode makes this one a winner – or, at the very least, a worthwhile curiosity.