When Taito released Space Invaders in 1978, they would not have known how much of an impact it was going to have on not only gaming, but the way people thought about video games. It's been over 25 years since the moment the game was unleashed to the world but it still lives on in many gamers hearts as one of the best and most original games of all time. With the twenty five year anniversary, Taito has created a commemorative PS2 game which contains every Space Invaders game ever made, but it really is a title only for nostalgia buffs.
The game itself contains nine different versions of the arcade classic, but in a more realistic sense, the game only has five distinct and unique versions to play around with. For those of you who don't know the concept behind Space Invaders, you take command of a small ship and must stop the invading aliens by shooting them and avoiding their fire. Protecting your shields is also a good idea but really that's all there is to the game and the fact it still is seen as one of the best video games of all time shows just how great the game can be.
The five different versions of Space Invaders included are; 3D, Space Invaders I, Space Invaders II, doubles and a versus mode. There are four other versions but these are only slightly different via aspects such as colour (the game contains monochrome, colour and cellophane versions of the original game and other variations) which gives the game a very nostalgic feel. Some players may feel a little cheated by this, although fans who buy the game will just be happy to see every single version included. One interesting aspect is you can't move your ship via the analogue stick and the DPAD must be used at all times. In fact the only controls you need are left and right on the DPAD plus the X button.
The interface for the game has had a stunning amount of work put into it. It is set in an arcade parlor with machines spread all around. It is these machines where the games are situated and you have different view points on offer. You can make the game somewhat full screen, or view it the way you would actually see the screen if you were physically playing the game at a proper arcade machine. Of course this is a bit more clumsy to use then full screen, but adds another layer of authenticity to the title. Also the machines themselves look like the actual machines built for the arcades. Another game mechanic which again reinforces the nostalgia side of things is the fact you have to insert coins, via a button press, before being allowed to play the game in some cases.
Taito have also included some concept art and other imagery from the time around Space Invaders release and put it in the game. It is all unlocked straight away so no high scores required, which hurts the replay value of the game somewhat but what has been included gives an interesting perspective on the franchise. For instance one picture from the merchandising area shows a polar bear playing the original arcade game on a greeting card.
Visually the game obviously isn't going to wow most gamers, but it will wow fans of the franchise at how authentic the games look. With numerous different versions of the same game on offer, it is easy to see how the franchise evolved during the games most popular time. As mentioned before the interface really adds to the title and seeing the machines, rather then just selecting from a menu of games adds some nostalgic value. Sound wise the game contains the original sound effects plus a great soundtrack with tunes from many other famous games such as Bubble Bobble. There is also an ambient soundtrack filled with arcade parlor noises, which you will tire of quickly and begin to sample the other tunes.
Space Invaders Anniversary is not just a game, but a history lesson for gamers who may not know all that much about this famous title. The value of the game definitely comes from the nostalgic side of things rather then pure gameplay, although the gameplay the series is renowned is present. It's the type of game you buy, and have on the shelf more as nostalgia then a game that grabs your attention for hours on end but even so you may find yourself picking it out every so often to re-live one of the oldest and most famous video games of all time.