The Confusion And Exhilaration Of Playing 'Space Invaders Extreme'

Space Invaders ExtremeIf you loved the subtle, psychedelic twists made to classic "Pac Man" in the Xbox Live Arcade version, you're quickly going to fall in love with "Space Invaders Extreme," too.

Square Enix was showing off the Nintendo DS version of "Space Invaders Extreme" (there's also a PSP version coming, too) at Nintendo's Spring Media Summit, and I quickly became obsessed with the frantic new take on the classic shooter.

After my hands-on session, I was tempted to jump on Play Asia and purchase the expensive import version, but a Square Enix representative calmed me down.

Space Invaders Extreme"Space Invaders Extreme" is best described as "Space Invaders" on crack. Everything moves ridiculously fast, and often times you have little grasp of how what you just did resulted in what happened on screen. I didn't, anyway, and had to ask someone what was going on. The rep conceded that most people felt that way at first.

You can play "Space Invaders Extreme" with a shoot-first-think-later mentality, but it didn't take long to realize that calculated shots are what give the game depth. That wasn't present in the original "Space Invaders." You don't need to investigate the options offered by chaining similarly colored enemies and weapons, but you can, and that seems to be where you'll find a reason to come back to it again, besides inhaling nostalgia.

I didn't have a pair of headphones on me, but I'm told an appropriately thumping techno soundtrack accompanies the shooting. In fact, my time spent with the game on DS actually made me more excited for the PSP version. The game doesn't explore touch controls, and PSP's excellent screen and sound would really benefit the experience.

The game seems best served seeing and playing it yourself (how many times did you, like me, dismiss the idea that "Pac-Man" could be awesome again?) but it's not long until the June 17 release date rolls around. I just hope I can resist the urge to import "Space Invaders Extreme" before then.

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