Super Space Invaders (Domark) Review | Amiga Power - Everygamegoing

Amiga Power

Super Space Invaders
By Domark
Amiga 500

Published in Amiga Power #8

Who'd have thought it - that at the tail end of 1991 we'd find ourselves reviewing this, the great grand daddy of all arcade games, once again? But it's happened...

Super Space Invaders

It would probably come as a surprise of molecular proportions if I was to tell you that Super Space Invaders is, in fact, little more than an up-to-date version of the ancient Space Invaders coin-op with all the proverbial knobs on. It would probably come as equally little surprise if I was to tell you that I am currently standing on my head with a small carrot lodged up my left nostril and a pair of Y-Fronts strategically pulled over my head in hope that this will provide me with suitable inspiration to describe what the game involves beyond resorting to the old "all you do is move left and right and shoot things" standby. It hasn't. All that you do in Super Space Invaders is move left and right and shoot things.

Even though (as we've just established), all you do is move left and right and shoot things, appropriate modifications would have to be adopted to bring Space Invaders up to the standards of the Nineties. But what would you, the reader, do if, whilst sitting on the loo browsing through this hallowed issue of Amiga Power, there was a faint tapping on the door and an anonymous piece of paper slipped onto the carpet informing you that you had to re-write one of the great classics of all time this very instant? Here are a few suggestions:

Obviously, the first thing that could be improved upon on the original are the graphics. The sprites could now be a multitude of animated, colourful evil-looking aliens, they could be of varying shapes, sizes and now even have characters. The backgrounds could now be a plethora of both stationary and scrolling atmospheric scenes - nice pictures of satellites and space stations, say, and both vertically scrolling planet surfaces and horizontally (and parallax) scrolling space stations is the sort of thing we're after here. And (perhaps most importantly) there could be a pretty animated introduction. A cartoony bloke jumping into a space ship and zooming off into space, zapping a few aliens, would be good.

Sound is another thing that wouldn't say no to a slight updating. Obviously, the traditional "eeaaaaoooowww - explosion" explosion effect would have to stay, but there is plenty of room for improvisation. Possibly some digitised speech, and slightly more convincing crashes and bangs. And some digitised cow samples as well, for good measure.

But have you thought about the movement patterns of the aliens? Moving constantly left, then down, then left, then down and so on? Na, it just wouldn't be on really. Far more exciting things could happen - aliens could fly away from the pack and swoop maniacally towards you, they could all constantly swirl around the screen or groups of them could swap and change position. And the individual aliens could expand, they could split into two. The possibilities are (theoretically) endless - but don't get carried away. That will probably do.

And Don't Forget The UFO

Remember that UFO which used to fly across the top of the screen? And when you shot it, you scored lots of points? Boring, eh? If I were you, I'd change the game so that every time one is shot down, a little Arkanoid-style capsule will drop down. Collect it within a few seconds and a random power-up will appear with such effects as, oooh I don't know, extra energy, double fire power, the more interesting vertical (and horizontal) laser, whirling fireball things, and explosions.

Oh, and you could have a simultaneous two player mode as well.

And don't forget to put in some end of level baddies.

There are the sort of improvements that could, and spookily have, been made over the original Invaders. And in the arcades, they certainly helped make Taito's Super Space Invaders a vertiable corker. But is the Amiga conversion a corker too? No doubt at least one point during this review (probably about now come to think of it) you've thought "why doesn't he just get on with it" and have impatiently glanced down at the score in the rather ungenerous box at the bottom of the page. In this case, you will already know the answer to the proposed question. The Amiga version isn't very good, and falls down completely (and utterly) on one factor - speed.

Armed with a handful of 10ps, I ventured down to the local arcade around the corner (and along the road a bit) (and around another corner) to scout out the coin-op. I had a go and was knocked out mainly by its rapidity. Then I went back to the office and (once they let me back in again) settled down again in front of my trusty Amiga. The conversion looked emphantically sluggish in comparison, especially at the beginning of a wave when the screen looks like it is too congested to handle it. As for the aforementioned scrolling backgrounds, tragically jerky and rather hard on the eyes is the best description I can come up with. You can't help but feel sorry (but still love) your Amiga for trying though.

Better Dead Than Alien is the only other straight Invaders clone I can think of on the Amiga, and to tell the truth, although the arcade game of Super Invaders was brilliant, the conversion isn't a patch on it. Better Dead Than Alien had more power-ups, a password feature (Super Space Invaders allows you some choice of levels but nothing as effective at keeping your attention) and it was generally a lot more slickly programmer than Super Invaders.

Then again, there's the argument that the whole Space Invaders gameplay is simply too thin to hold a full price game anymore. There are certainly people in this office who find the methodical left, right, fire experience rather similar to that of painting a rather large wall - and equally interesting - especially at speeds like this. All in all then, it's not really worth the bother. But smile - we don't want to end this review on a bad note now, do we?

The Bottom Line

Uppers: Great intro, nice sound, lots of potential, and initially attractive looking.

Downers: But as far as gameplay is concerned, it's sadly rather crap - far too slow, lacking in variety (unlike the arcade) and technically inept.

It's Space Invaders, it's got knobs on but it's far too slow and, to tell the truth, not worth the bother. A real shame.

Rich Pelley

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