Game Review: Space Invaders Extreme (Xbox Live)

siextreme_boxOne of gaming’s most iconic titles, Space Invaders, has gone extreme on Xbox Live Arcade. Released last year on the PSP and DS portable console system, this isn’t your father’s Space Invaders. Featuring new gameplay elements, powers, online and local versus and co-op play, all with trippy visuals and sound, Space Invaders Extreme is a must download for classic game fans.


The basic gameplay is pretty much like the original game. Guide a cannon left and right and shoot waves of approaching invaders. But the similarities end there. Shoot four of the same colored invader and a power up weapon will fall. Shoot two groups of four similar invaders and a flashing UFO will appear at the top of the screen. Shoot that and you’ll be whisked to a bonus stage for a chance to score even more points.

If you’ve already played Space Invaders Extreme on the PSP or DS, there’s not much new here. But the visuals look oh so wonderful on a big screen TV. Plus, the XBLA version has nifty local and online multiplayer modes with up to four players at the same time. Compete with others, each with their own separate screen, as you try to outscore or outlast each other (shooting UFOs sends invaders to the other players’ screens). Or share the same screen and lives as you all try to beat the stages together cooperatively. For classic game fans, Space Invaders Extreme is a must-download on XBLA.

Kid Factor:
Space Invaders Extreme is rated E for Everyone. Even though you shoot at aliens, violence is pretty non-existent since the (purposely) blocky graphics make it feel like you’re only shooting at basic geometric shapes. No reading skill is required, but younger players might find some of the later stages a little difficult. However, gamers of any age can enjoy playing cooperatively with others, making Space Invaders Extreme a great title for family classic gaming.



A couple of weeks ago, GamingWithChildren, with some help from folks at Taito and Backbone, held a contest with Space Invaders Extreme XBLA download codes as prizes. Contestants had to correctly answer some tough questions about game maker Taito, and then write an essay about sharing a classic game with family. Originally we were only going to give away two download codes, but they gave us an extra one so we have three winners! Below are the correct answers to the trivia questions, as well as the three winning essays (picked by an impartial judge). Thanks to all who entered and gave the contest their best shot!

Taito Ten Trivia Test Answers:

1. The Taito puzzler Bust-A-Move is known by another name. What is it?
Puzzle Bobble (one of my mom’s favorite puzzle games)

2. When The New Zealand Story hit the NES in the US, it was re-named what?
Kiwi Kraze (It may look cute, but it’s BRUTALLY HARD. Little brother Jeff loves it, though.)

3. Taito’s marble maze game was called On The Ball on the US Super Nintendo and Labyrinth on the Nintendo DS in the US. What was the original name of this game?
Cameltry (what a strange name for a fun little game)

4. What’s the title of the song played in the very first stage of the Darius arcade game (hint: it was also an unlockable song in Arkanoid DS)?
Captain Neo (It’s one of my all-time favorite video game tunes ever)

5. Fill in the blank: “Warning! A Huge ______________, “King Fossil,” is Approaching Fast!”
Battleship (I love Darius shooters)

6. In Japan, Taito has a group of employees who make the music for most of their games. This group also has a band name. What is it?
Zuntata (I think it’s neat they have their own band. Gives them a sense of camaraderie, don’t you think?)

7. Fill in the blank to complete one of Taito’s old company slogans: “Catch the __________, Taito!”
Heart (On older Taito games, you could hear this slogan at the logo screen)

8. Give the full title of the Tetris-like Taito puzzler named after an important person in Egyptian history.
Cleopatra Fortune (try it on Taito Legends 2, it’s addicting)

9. What is the name of the superhero who starred in an arcade punching game as well as a couple of 2-D sidescrolling beat ‘em ups on the US Super Nintendo?
Sonic Blast Man (I’ve never played these games, but I’d love to. He has his own mini-game in Furu Furu Park on the Wii.)

10. Pocky throws cards at bad guys, so what does Rocky throw at enemies in the Kiki Kaikai/Pocky & Rocky games?
Leaves (Rocky is a raccoon/tanuki)

Essay winners:


When I was a kid back in the early ’80s, I didn’t do a whole lot of game sharing with my family. For the most part, I was the only one of us who was into games. My parents bought an Atari 2600 for the family, but I was really the only one to use it. My sister was too busy playing with her “girl toys,” and my mom could never really get the hang of the controller (don’t even think of showing her a PS3 or Xbox 360 controller these days). Even my dad, who thought that the games looked kind of neat, never got very interested in them. The few times that he would agree to play with me, I would end up quickly beating his high scores. Except for one game: Activision’s Kaboom. That was the one game that my dad could always beat me at. For some reason, my little eyes weren’t fast enough to follow the stream of falling bombs, and my little fingers couldn’t move fast enough on that paddle controller to catch the bombs before they exploded. After trying to beat him so many times, I finally gave up and refused to play it with him. I guess I learned how he felt playing against me in all those other games! To this day, my dad will occasionally bring up Kaboom when he hears me talking about games. I’d dig the old Atari out of the attic for a rematch, but to be honest, I’m a little scared to try playing him again…he’d probably still win.

Michael Whitehead

I grew up on Atari, lived on Nintendo and later, breathed the SNES, Sega, and pretty much any console I could get my poor hands on. I don’t have a crazy game novel, or a whimsical story to tell for my essay. I do have the truth. After receiving my first console for Christmas one year, my parents were surprised to see what fiends we were for what my mother called the “crazy video machine”. My little brother and I, separated by just two short years, played Super Mario Bros, among others, like it was going out of style. So much we had to sneak it in the middle of the night on weekends as we had to turn it off. Nothing was cooler than trying your best to hit that flag pole at the very top, (or trying to jump over it!!!) On one of my late night ninja sessions I caught the connection between the time clock and the occasional fireworks display at the end of the level. I remember my amazement as I clicked that reset button to run through the first level again and try to hit it on the 6. I missed and while trying to jump back I through the controller in the air and Mario hit the flag again, this time on the 3! Low and behold three shots rang out! I tried over and over to hit each number as it counted down and quickly realized it was 1, 3, and 6. The next morning I kept this knowledge to myself and we played as usual, only this time, I “guessed” if there were fireworks and how many. Time after time I called the number of explosions, or lack thereof, to my brother’s utter disbelief. He would guess, then I would guess, I would shout it out every time I saw it, paying careful attention to not to let him see me look up at the clock. He yelled! He screamed! He cried to our mother to make me stop, but I never did. To this day (seriously, he still talks about it) he has no idea how I did it.

Bob Morgan

When I was really little, maybe 5 years old or so, my little brother and I would walk to the Jewel grocery store with our Mom. One day after doing some shopping, we noticed near the exit door one of them newfangled, stand-up arcade machines. It made a scary “bum-bum, bum-bum” sound which got louder the closer we got to it. My brother and I would have to stand on a stool in order to see what was going on the screen. We’d beg to go shopping with Mom in hopes of playing Space Invaders again. Good times.

4 Responses to “Game Review: Space Invaders Extreme (Xbox Live)”

  1. I only recently got Space Invaders Extreme for PSP and it is wonderful … definitely recommend it, and am glad the XBLA version is similarly awesome.

    Cool reading the essays!

  2. Great tales everyone. I think Michael’s is my favorite as it really captures that magical time when you didn’t have the internet or game guides to give you every little bit of information on a game.

  3. How awesome it is to win this contest! I’m glad that people enjoyed my story. Space Invaders Extreme is friggin’ awesome. Had I seen this game back when I first played Space Invaders, it would have blown my mind.

    Thanks, Cary!

  4. I hope to play it on Xbox Series S sometime soon.

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