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Space Invaders Review

Developer: Atari Publisher: Atari
Release Date: 1978 Also On: None

In the early days, every system that did overly well had a game early in its lifespan that defined the system and put it on the gaming map, such as Super Mario Bros. on the NES. For the Atari 2600, that game was Space Invaders. For better or for worse, the Atari 2600 version of Space Invaders made the system a must-have item for gamers in that era. But is Space Invaders all it is hyped up to be? Read on to find out.

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The concept behind Space Invaders is simple enough. There’s a large group of aliens at the top of the screen slowly making their way down toward the bottom. You, as a cannon at the bottom, must prevent this from happening by blasting them all with bullets. You lose if the aliens reach the bottom or if they destroy all of the cannons. Making things even more difficult is the fact that the aliens speed up as you kill off their friends.

Make no mistake about it. Even judging from the “Original Version” in Space Invaders Revolution, this game isn’t arcade perfect by a long shot. All of the aliens are green on a black background. Overall, the graphical style is a bit ugly, in my opinion. But this was 1978, when expectations and programmer’s knowledge were lower, so a lot of that is forgivable. The sound effects are typical Atari fare, so I have no complaints there.

In terms of gameplay, this game isn’t really that bad. As much as the graphics have been changed from the arcade version, the core gameplay has not, and remains as fun as it was in arcades. Like with most games of its era, only one shot can be on the screen at a time, so firing rate is a bit slow, but that’s something that can be adapted to easily enough, and the same was true in the arcade version.

In terms of replay value, it all comes down to how much you want to improve your high score. This game is fun enough that you very well might. But if you buy this game looking for an arcade-perfect port, you’re doomed to be disappointed. If an arcade-perfect port is what you’re looking for, go to atariage.com and buy the Space Instigators homebrew. If all you’re looking for is a fun version of Space Invaders, you’ve got it right here a lot cheaper than that.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 8
Written by Martin Review Guide