Space Invaders Anniversary


So I'm going to Shibuya today to meet some friends and as I get off the train I am greeted by posters saying something about a Space Invaders exhibit at the 109 building. Well, I've got 30 minutes to kill so I think, "sure, let's check it out". As soon as I get out of the station I see something I've never seen before. There are 3 giant TVs in Shibuya, one of them is 5 stories tall and it's playing Space Invaders live!!!!! It turns out they are running Space Invaders battles on the stage in front of the 109 building and they are displaying it live on 2 of the large TVs in front of the station including the live play by play annoucing from a cute Japanese hostess.

It's a special version of Space Invaders where the screen is split similar to most puzzle games (ala Tetris) except in each half of the screen is Space Invaders. Actually it's only a quarter of the screen because the top half of each column is an upside down mirror of the bottom half of the other player's column. The goal is to shoot through your invaders and then shoot the other guy.

It's all pretty cool and between games there's this way hip techno 3d flash like Space Invaders mix thing going on.

As I walk by the BIC Camera across from 109 there are Taito representatives pushing "Space Invaders Anniversary" (25 years) and it's selling for only like 1300yen (about $11) So, I'm like, yea, I'll take that!

Booting it up I'm hoping to get that cool techno mix but instead I get a kind of retrospective video showing some clips of the crazy Space Invaders places they had back when it first came out in Japan. Rooms full of table top Space Invaders Machines. Kind of interesting but I'm still hoping for the techno thing.

The game starts and you are in a 3D room with 9 versions of Space Invaders

1) The Table Top Monochrome Version 2) The Table Top Cellophane Version (same but with fairly lame similated cellphone to make it look like it has color) 3) The Table Top Color Version 4) The Upright Version 5) Space Invaders Part II, upright (can anyone name the difference?) 6) Space Invaders Part II, table top color 7) Space Invaders Doubles (new: two people, one playfield) 8) Space Invaders 3D (new) 9) Space Invaders VS Mode (new: the one I saw in Shibuya)

In most versions you can adjust the camera so for example for the table top versions you can face them head on or by default they are tilted back so you can see part of the table and have the view you would have probably had if you were actually sitting at a real table top SP.

While you play you can hear sounds coming from the other machines in the room. That's interesting for about 30 seconds, then it's just distracting. You can go to the options and turn it off as well as choose BGM from several other classic Taito games.

The 3D version just makes each enemy, shield and ship into a 3d transluent model and you can adjust the camera all the way down to looking directly up the screen but otherwise it's the same game.

One very cool feature is a history / making of section with an interview and pictures of various art, cabinets, game design sketches, manuals, etc. There's also a history of Taito arcade games section with pictures of most of their arcade games.

I guess I should have known it was not that fun. For some reason I kind of enjoyed the GB color remake but the original gets old pretty fast. The VS mode is also old pretty fast. Given that it was only 1300yen if you want to add something nostalgic to your collection it's not bad although I suspect instead of playing it on my PS2 I'm more likely to play it on my GBA or cell phone.

Mutant Storm