STAFF REVIEW of Space Invaders Infinity Gene (Xbox 360 Arcade)

Sunday, September 19, 2010.
by Brent Roberts

Space Invaders Infinity Gene Box art Beep... Boop... Beep... Boop.. Yes the infamous space shooter is back with a vengeance in Square Enix's latest remix entitled: Space Invaders Infinity Gene. Square Enix has put this title out on the Xbox Live Arcade for a whopping 800 MS points. Now we will take you through all the little digital enemies to see if this is truly worth your hard earned points.

For those of you who consider something like a playstation to be an antique, you may not know about space invaders. Originally Tomohiro Nishikado designed Space Invaders and released it back over 30 years ago (1978 to be exact). Space Invaders was released in Japan by Taito and when it made its across the ocean voyage to the states, it was picked up and sold by the Midway division of Bally. To say that this game was popular is a gross underestimate. After its release in Japan, there was a temporary shortage of 100-yen coins, and by 2007 had earned Taito a mammoth $500 million dollar revenue. To also showcase the popularity of this title, Guinness World Records ranks Space Invaders as the top arcade game.

Now following up on all this history and epic landmarks, Square Enix has decided to be another company in the long line to make sequels and different versions of the game. Let's take a look and see if they blasted their way to a solid title, or is this just another retro arcade classic that should have been left alone.

The gameplay of Space Invaders Infinity Gene is very simplistic. Point, shoot, point, shoot.. there's not really much to be said, however, this time instead of being tied down to the bottom of the screen, your ship now can fly all over blasting away at baddies. Normally in a Space Invaders game you would have just a single blaster and your thumb would smash the fire button over and over and over... well you get the picture. Now though, Square Enix has added a new innovation by providing you with different weapons such as the seeking blaster shot, the straight line shot and more. This adds to the variety as well gives you a fighting chance against what you are up against in Space Invaders Infinity Gene. Another little interesting innovation is that now you can upgrade your weapons by collecting orbs that are dropped by certain enemies. This means that you can start out with a basic line style laser and upgrade it to an almost screen clearing blast with every shot. This helps in driving your combo rate up and in turn allows you to get a much higher score.

One of the interesting features of this game is the way the game evolves through the different game types as you play through them. You have your classic mode which has had a remixed touch to it, but you also have a music mode which takes the music on your Xbox hard drive and applies it to the game. You are also treated to a challenge mode where you blast your way through 99 levels of button mashing goodness. Sadly though, these innovations aren't enough to pull this title out of the fire and into the realm of a classic game remix, as you will soon read about.

Graphically speaking, Space Invaders Infinity Gene tries very hard to pay homage to the origins of the game, however, this seems to fall very, very short. The backgrounds are just fast streaming grids and with everything going on while you're playing, it's very hard to focus on your targets. Also with all these fast moving backgrounds, flashing lights, and just overall mediocre attempt to mesh the old with the new, Space Invaders Infinity Gene should not be played by anyone who suffers from epilepsy. The background graphics are in color, however, that doesn't change the fact that the general graphic design of the game was poorly done.

Now classic games such as Space Invaders were at the time revolutionary with their audio. Now it's time to have Square Enix step up to the plate, and unfortunately I can't say that they hit the mark here. The audio is an attempt to bridge the old and new, so you still have the screeching old sounds, blended with more modern techno loops that do nothing but repeat over and over and over again until you finish the level. After that, more screeching and unfortunately more boring mundane loops over and over again. There was a ton of potential to be had in Space Invaders Infinity Gene, however, if you're looking for decent music (not good, just decent music), then look somewhere else.

Another innovation that almost makes it is the adaptation of 3D. Square Enix tries to transform a legendary 2D classic into a 3D spectacle that I'm sorry to say misses the mark completely. Now some classic games have been able to pull this feat off such as Rez and others, but in Space Invaders Infinity Gene it almost feels like an attempt to duplicate Rez, but it fails to do so. You never get a full 3D experience, so to be clear the 3D segments are very short introductions into the levels, everything else though while you're in the level feels 2D.

Space Invaders Infinity Gene for the Xbox Live Arcade is currently priced at 800 MS points, however, when you compare the quality of titles that are 800 MS points, this title does come up very short. If you are desperate to spend 800 MS points on a lackluster, seizure inducing failed remake, then Space Invaders Infinity Gene is your game. I could understand something like this being worth 400 MS points, and even then you may want to wait till it's part of the deal of the week. I feel like a classic title of such epic proportions has been dragged through the remix mud. I'm sorry to say that this is a title that should be passed on, esp. for a price of 800 MS points.

Overall: 4.5 / 10
Gameplay: 4.0 / 10
Visuals: 5.0 / 10
Sound: 3.0 / 10


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