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Game Info:

Space Invaders Invincible Collection
Developed By: TAITO Corp.
Published By: ININ Games
Released: August 17, 2021
Available On: Nintendo Switch, with parts of the package on Arcade, PS4, Windows, or Mobile platforms
Genre: Shoot 'em up
ESRB Rating: E for Mild Fantasy Violence
Number of Players: 1-4 with local multiplayer
Price: $59.99

Thank you TAITO Corp. for sending us this game to review!

Last year, I reviewed Space Invaders Forever, a small collection of the most recent Space Invaders games. As it turns out, that collection is fully included in this new, expanded one. Despite the higher cost, if you have an enduring love for the classics, then this larger collection is more than likely worth getting - especially if you love Space Invaders like I do.

You see, even if my gaming tastes have mostly moved on, Space Invaders will always have a special place in my heart - and I'll probably always want to review these games when I can. Why? Because at the ripe age of three (or was it four?) years old, it was my very first video game! This was on the Atari 2600, which was actually the current gaming system at the time, if that dates me at all. I also remember playing Combat and Air Sea Battle that fateful day, but it was Space Invaders that I enjoyed the most.

While the Forever collection only has the latest titles (as good as they are), Space Invaders Invincible Collection includes games rarely (or never!) published on home consoles before. It doesn't contain every Arcade game released, but manages to add in some games not strictly named 'Space Invaders', yet also created by TAITO. The full list of games includes:

Space Invaders
Space Invaders (Color Version)
Space Invaders Part II
Lunar Rescue
Space Cyclone
Majestic Twelve - The Space Invaders Part IV
Super Space Invaders '91
Space Invaders DX
Space Invaders Extreme
Space Invaders Gigamax 4SE
Arkanoid vs. Space Invaders

Highlights:

Strong Points: A lot of games in this collection, including several Space Invaders Arcade games and variants released, with each one bringing something fun and different
Weak Points: Arkanoid vs. Space Invaders must be played in portrait mode undocked; some of the games are skippable
Moral Warnings: Animated shooting; at least one unlockable character in Arkanoid vs. Space Invaders has a short skirt

Space Invaders is a veritable classic, and is one of the most influential video games of all time. It was released the same year I was - in 1978. For those who haven't played it, Space Invaders created the 'fixed shooter', which is a variation of the shoot 'em up genre. (Shoot 'em ups include fixed shooters, but not all shoot 'em ups are fixed.) Your ship, the one with the canon on top, can shoot vertically and blast aliens out of the sky. As you shoot more and more of them, the enemies get faster and faster, and they come racing down in a predictable left-right-left pattern until they reach the ground. If you don’t want to lose, I'd suggest shooting them all before that happens – if you can avoid their shots back, and time it right – the less on the screen, the faster they go.

While the original version of the game is in black and white, some versions of the arcade cabinet actually had physical colored cellophane stuck to the screen, to simulate a color effect as the enemies came down the screen. Space Invaders color version is a simple update released in 1979 where everything on screen (including the bullets!) change color, not unlike how it looked with the cellophane, though without the obvious tape. They also increased the maximum high score. The game is otherwise identical.

Space Invaders Part II was also release in 1979, and is an enhanced version of Space Invaders. The base gameplay is the same, with small additions like enemy reinforcements, enemies that split when shot, and cutscenes between levels. It's a nice little enhancement, though it plays largely similar to the first.

The next two games are interesting pieces of history. Both were made on the same Space Invaders arcade boards. The first is Lunar Rescue, which is a quirky game where you first drop from a spaceship, and land on a rescue platform. Then, once you have a civilian to save, you fly back up to the top, shooting any aliens in your way. You repeat this until you beat the level, and go onto the next. Like many games of that era, you compete for the high score.

The other historically interesting (and also quirky!) game in this collection is Space Cyclone. Apparently, this was released in 1980 to extremely limited numbers, and physical arcades are nearly impossible to find. This collection is the first time that this game is available on home systems! This is also a fixed shooter like Space Invaders, but instead of shooting down rows and rows of enemies, aliens called Bems fall down off of clouds, and when they land on the ground they start to build their spaceship. Once enough make it, the ship takes off and attacks you with a laser beam that's really hard to dodge! Another interesting aspect of this game is the PCM voices used to announce what happens to you. It's a very early example of voice samples, and it sounds neat. It's definitely a bit rough around the edges, but it can be quite fun.

Space Invaders Invincible Collection
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 86%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 88%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 7/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

The rest of the collection jumps into the 1990s and beyond. Majestic Twelve – The Space Invaders Part IV is definitely a highlight of this collection, and was released in 1990. While you still shoot aliens, you also gain powerups, choose levels, protect cows, and even fight bosses. It's a really solid game that encourages replays because you can always choose a different set of levels. It's a lot of fun.

Next is Super Space Invaders '91. (It was also released in 1990.) This title is almost identical to the previous one, except that your route is predetermined – you don't get to choose which level to play next. Despite a lack of level select, it's still a very solid game that's enjoyable to play, even if Majestic Twelve is otherwise superior.

The final new-to-us game (compared to the Forever collection previously reviewed) is Space Invaders DX, released in 1994. This one is honestly a bit of a letdown. It includes another release of Space Invaders, as well as the color and cellophane versions, but is otherwise unremarkable. If I wanted to play the classic games, I'd probably stick to the original Arcade versions presented in this collection, rather than through the DX launcher. There is also a two player Vs. Game Mode, which is probably the highlight of this title. If you have two players, you can play against each other in a Tetris-style battle; that is to say, you both get half of a screen to play on, and what you do impacts your opponent. I can see this being pretty fun. The third and final mode is called Parody Game Mode, and it's aptly named. It's the same basic Space Invaders gameplay, but with different sprites from some of Taito's other titles. It's fine, but unremarkable.

It should be noted that all of the games have an online leaderboard. The game lets you know your rank compared to the rest of the world for each game, right from the game select menu. If getting a high score keeps you going, then I suspect you may get plenty of replay out of this game. Also, all but one of the classic titles (pre-2000s) has a Normal mode (which is the Arcade experience) and a Challenge mode. Challenge is where you compete with other players using a restricted rule set. Typically the game is over when you die, and you have a limited amount of time to complete some challenge. Some can be difficult to pass, much less score well on; I failed on most of the challenges when I tried.

The other three titles I already covered in significant detail in my Space Invaders Forever review; if you'd like to see the longer analysis, look here. To summarize, you have the frantic and excellent Space Invaders Extreme, which is just a ton of fun – though also quite difficult to score well on, at least for me. That title is incredibly frantic and psychedelic, and quite fun.

Next is Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE, and is the only game that allows up to four players at once. This one, while simple, is really neat. There are tons of enemies on the screen, and it's clearly meant to be played on a big one of those! I recommend trying this out with friends on the largest screen you can find. It was designed for one of those ultra jumbo screens, and you can tell when playing it on the Switch.

The final game is also part of the Forever collection, and that's Arkanoid vs. Space Invaders. This one is an otherwise mobile-only game (and even on Switch, you can't play it on your TV). You fly on the spaceship Arkanoid, controlling the Vaus paddle ship, where you reflect back the attacks from Space Invaders enemies back at them. It's really not a bad game, though I could see myself playing this on my phone more than my Switch (which I suspect is the reason it's included). It's not bad, and certainly quite different than the other games included.

Despite the higher price, I would probably recommend Space Invaders Invincible Collection over the Forever collection, unless you want to play this on PS4, as Invincible is Switch only. While it costs twice as much, there is also a lot more to do – and important, quirky, and entertaining games that round out this package. Morally, you are on a ship and you blast aliens out of the sky; it's not horribly violent. That said, Arkanoid vs. Space Invaders does feature characters who can help you, and a few of the girls have short skirts that are quite tight. Beyond that, this collection is squeaky clean. It's still a little pricey, sure, but undoubtedly worth it to Space Invaders fans.

About the Author

Jason Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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