[2 Minute Review] Space Invaders Extreme (PSP)

Can a thirty year old game that uses old gameplay be updated for the sound bite generation?

The fine folks at Taito (now a Square Enix company) have taken a classic formula—and made it extreme—with a few surprises.

DO: Uh, it’s Space Invaders. Invaders have come from space in tight formations and your ship moves left and right and pew! pews! the enemy.

TYPE: Classic arcade (from the late 1970s). In this day it’s called casual.

PLATFORM: PSP (reviewed here) and DS

PRICE: $19.99

MEAT: Quite possibly, Space Invaders was the first videogame I ever played. I could not pass up nostalgia. Taito has taken the old formula and improved it quite a bit—while keeping that same, familiar 30-year-old play. What’s new? Shooting different colored invaders in chains can net you bonus weapons. (The laser is a nice touch.) The catch is that the bonus weapons have a time limit. However, you can “lock” them in place by holding down a shoulder button. Your ship then fires its normal bullets. Let go of the lock and it’s back to the bonus weapon. The game has various levels and some challenging bosses. Yes, bosses.

PERKS: refreshing update to old gameplay; trippy, Lumines-like visuals and music; strategic bosses; bonus weapons; bonus levels; ability to shoot the invaders missiles; DS version has wi-fi play and rankings

SCREAMS: to be on Xbox Live like Pacman C.E.; to have online leaderboards; Uh…PSP online play? WTH? It’s not that complex.

VERDICT: Buy. Own it on PSP for shiny visuals or the DS for bragging rights. Young gamers should give it a try.

In [Nat’s] Hands: FFVII:Crisis Core and Okami

I am torn. As hard as I try, I cannot play two games at once.

I’ve only played one Final Fantasy game all the way through. In fact, I played it to almost 100% completion. That’s not entirely true. In college, my PSOne was powered on for a single semester. It played one game the entire time: Final Fantasy VII. There were six of us who would play off the same saved game file. We did everything. Everything. It’s probably one of the fondest gaming memories I’ll ever have. Sometimes, we’ll still chat about it through email.

I’m not a big Final Fantasy fan. I’ve played the aforementioned title and I’ve played FFIX. See, it’s never really a final fantasy. They just keep making more. Actually, I’m more of a chrono-guy.

That’s my setup. Here’s my reveal.

On a whim (I allow myself two “whims” a year) I picked up FFVII: Crisis Core for the PSP. Simply put, this title is currently my PSP Game of the Year. I cannot get enough of it. It’s one of those titles that just hooks you and you never really know why. Maybe it’s the excellent story and presentation, maybe it’s the best cinematic cutscenes of any game I’ve seen, or maybe it’s all the great references to the original game? (Better yet, this game is a prequel and it still has future references).

FFVII:Crisis Core

This game has enveloped me so deep that I want Zack to be Cloud in the FFVII game. The character progression and growth is written in such a way that you don’t even realize it’s happening until you go remember back to where you started.

Now there is a fault. I hate, HATE, HATE the DMW. It’s basically a slot machine that you have no control over that interrupts combat sequences. It’ll occasionally level your character up and toss some bonuses your way. It’ll constantly break the flow of excitement during battle. Necessary? No.

If I was to rate this game, I’d give it a 10. The DMW (I keep wanting to say DMV) makes it an 8. Harsh? Yes. However, Square Enix have been making excellent games for almost 20 years. They should know better.

Okami

A week ago I picked up Okami for the Wii. Roger Ebert knows nothing when it comes to games—maybe even art. This game is art in motion, a moving picture worth ten thousand words, a watercolor that doesn’t fade, a…well, you get the idea. Be ready to read as well. A lot. However, it’s all excellent.

I’m only one hour in to the game and it’s been the most unique hour of gaming I’ve ever experienced. How do I describe it? You’re a goddess who has been reincarnated as a white wolf. You mist rid the land of darkness and bring it back to life. Your weapon: a brush.

Yep. You solve problems, rejuvenate nature, experience combat, and paint the town red with your trusty brush. It’s wonderful. This game was made for the Wiimote. The execs at Capcom must be prophets considering the game was made in 2006.

I’m told this game could net a person 40 hours of playtime. Excellent. This may be a game where I do it all. I really don’t have the patience for RPGs, but this may be my exception.

I just find it interesting that the only two games I’m playing right now are RPGs.

Oh, and Ikaruga.