EDITOR'S NOTE:
Our experience with Space Invaders Anniversary is mostly based on the PS2 release, but because our captrue eqiipment is so utterly laughabke, our screenshots are from the PC version. Anything to make our lives a little easier. You'll let us have that, won't you?
Also, wow, by our standards this is short.

So... This isn't really a review because there's so little to say, but more a 'this is a weird gaming thnig' page.

Please, join me as I waffle on about an unusual game collection.

In case the Space Invaders DX and Arcade Legends: Space Invaders page haven't made it crystal clear, I have a bit of a soft spot for Space Invaders. You'll never play it for that long, I know? but is it still fun? Yeah, I'd say it is- it's a switch-off game, where you can just blast some invaders for a few minutes and take it easy. Above all, is it iconic? Oh, yeah. As long as people recognise those classic invader shapes and the heartbeat 'soundtrack', Space Invaders will never die.



Of course, Taito knows this, and takes advantage of it- every time there's an anniversary, Taito's ready to do something for it. The 20th anniversary had, uh, that Activision-published Space Invaders game, the 30th anniversary had Space Invaders Extreme (arguably a return to form for the series, after this mistake and Space Invaders Get Even, and for the 25th anniversary in 2004- which, by chance, was also Taito's 50th anniversary- they released Space Invaders Anniversary for the PS2. While it wasn't released in the US, Empire Interactive- who would later collaborate with Taito to release the Taito Legends collections- brought it over to the UK at a budget price on both PS2 and PC. The minute it landed on the shelves that price was slashed again- nowadays it's worth £1 at most. It's pretty easy to grab if you really want to, but would you really want to?



If you're a Space Invaders nut, then you still might want to think on it- it's not exactly a robust collection. It's a staggering nine variations of Space Invaders gathered together, although only a total of five unique games- you get four variations of Space Invaders (tabletop with either colour, monochrone or cellophane options, and the cabinet), two variations of Space Invaders Part II (tabletop or cabinet), Space Invaders Doubles (a special co-operative game, similar to Midway's Space Invaders Deluxe where one player is at the top and the other is at the bottom), Space Invaders Vs. (the now-obligatory player-vs-player game, based on the one from DX, now with a Vs. CPU option) and Space Invaders 3D, which offers a smaller wave of Invaders to fight each round, but adds power-ups from UFOs and, critically, a variety of ridiculous camera angles.including first-person Space Invaders action. That last one is probably the most interesting thing on the disc, though it's at least partially based on Simple 1500 Series Vol.073 - The Invaders - Space Invaders 1500, a D3-published PS1 game which also had the standard-issue Space Invaders included.



There are essentially two things this collection does that make it interesting enough to cover here. First, the interface is a bit different from the norm, as you move between cabinets in a tiny Japanese arcade (which, at the very least, has a toilet too). Hardly a game lineup to rival Natsuge Museum outside Akihabara but it's a neat little bit of detail. Sadly, the extras are very sparse- a few flyers and some interesting production sketches/notes, but little else (an interview with Tomohiro Nishikado, the creator of the game was apparently excised from the PAL version)- but it does have a neat touch in the form of one of the strangest options I've seen in a collection like this (Interesting Thing #2). You can choose to have either Space Invaders sounds in the background to give the illusion of being in an actual arcade, or select music from other Taito games as the ambiance instead, ranging from the obvious (Bubble Bobble, Elevator Action) to the obscure (Night Striker and... Tokio/Scramble Formation?!). They're not ripped straight from the games, sadly- they're MIDI-esque versions- but they also include sound effects, so they actually sound like ambient arcade noises.

... That's it, really. This is definitely not the kind of collection you need to go out and get immediately. There's plenty of other, better ways to play Space Invaders out there, and it's not even the only Space Invaders-centric collection- Space Invaders Pocket on the PSP includes all the arcade instalments of the series (including a newly-added 3D section to Majestic Twelve/Super Space Invaders '91). That's ultimately a better option, but for how little money it goes for, Space Invaders Anniversary might be a nice little curiosity to put on the shelf.

Space Invaders Anniversary: definitely a video game. Back to the index!