Amstrad Action1st January 1992
Published in Amstrad Action #76
Super Space Invaders
Hello, Keith Floyd here with a recipe for you. Take a classic old arcade game, remove all the gameplay, slow it down to a previously unplumbed level of laboriousness, throw in some invisible sprites, and bung it in a fancy box. Then charge three or four times what would be an acceptable price for it.
Super Space Invaders is a reworking of one of the very first computer games ever. You control a ship moving left to right at the bottom of the screen, firing at the rows of aliens that move around above you. The original only featured sideways scrolling baddies, whereas this one also gives you various other formations, kamikaze crews (a la Galaxians), etc, together with some largely unfathomable power-ups.
Super Space Invaders is sad. As pitiful remakes go, only a Rolf Harris recording of the Beatles' Sgt Pepper album could possibly eclipse it. Damning criticism indeed, but can we justify it? Well for a start, this game is slower than any BASIC type-in we have ever received. It takes the rows of aliens 53 seconds to travel a third of the way across the screen.
Meanwhile the background graphics use double-size pixels, and the backgrounds are often of almost the same colour as the 'sprites' on top of them (making the sprites virtually invisible on numerous occasions).
Not only that, many of the features listed in the manual (bonus levels, end-of-level guardians) aren't included in the Amstrad version. There is a simultaneous two-player option, but don't be surprised to see your partner taking control of your spaceship every time you stop moving (and whenever they hold down Fire for a prolonged period).
If you hear of a local school or club preparing a time capsule, suggest that a copy of this is included. Not because it represents the early nineties in any way, but just because twenty feet under the ground is the best place for it.
The Space Invaders game style relied on split-second timing and exact positioning - damned nigh impossible with something as slug-like as this!
First Day Target Score
Get to Level Six.
Blocky, painfully slow, a rather ill-advised choice of colours.
Pleasing passable, though more suited to a submarine sim.
Grab Factor 60%
Very easy to get into, though the lack of speed is off-putting.
Staying Power 14%
Eleven levels to get through, but little reason to bother.
The only space that Super Space Invaders is likely to invade is that in your waste basket.