Every review of Space Invaders starts off with a history of the “Mother of Video Gaming” which you’re probably bored of reading so let’s skip that and jump straight into Space Invaders Invincible Collection, a Nintendo Switch release that brings 10+1 games retro shooters from Taito together for £55.
Charting the history of Space Invaders arcade machines (with at least one striking omission), this compilation features:
- Space Invaders (1978, Arcade) – b/w
- Space Invaders (1978, Arcade) – colour
- Space Invaders Part II (1979, Arcade)
- Lunar Rescue (1979, Arcade)
- Space Cyclone (1980, Arcade)
- Majestic Twelve: The Space Invaders Part IV (1990, Arcade)
- Super Space Invaders ’91 (1990, Arcade)
- Space Invaders DX (1994, Arcade)
- Space Invaders Extreme (2008)
- Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE (2018)
And included as additional download:
- Arkanoid vs Space Invaders (2016)
It would be unfair to review the compilation without rating each of the games in turn. All titles feature a Normal and Challenge mode, while all versions up to 1990 also run in portrait mode for a more authentic feel to the game.
Space Invaders 1978 B/W
The original Space Invaders experience, it runs in black and white, as expected. As sluggish as the original, it features a four digit score board. Supports two players, taking turns. 3/5
Space Invaders 1978 Colour
A colour version of the original, this is a more widely recognised take on the game, as the colour cabinets seem to have lasted longer (or were more widely available) than the black and white versions. Again, has Normal and Challenge modes and supports two players, taking turns. 3/5
Space Invaders Part II 1979
Featuring new enemy abilities, Part II is true to the original game and features the ability to save names to scoreboards. 3/5
Lunar Rescue 1979
The aim here is to avoid aliens on the way to the moon, followed by a more aggressive return to an orbital ship to destroy the insurgents. Features Normal and Challenge modes, Lunar Rescue offers a more satisfying challenge than Space Invaders. 3.5/5
Space Cyclone 1980
Making its first appearance on a home console platform, Space Cyclone is a rare game. While based on the same mainboard, Space Cylcone features colourful graphics and even includes a lesson on star constellations between levels. The aim of the game is a little unclear at first, but it’s a satisfying alternative take on Space Invaders, with new attacks including a literal space cyclone. 3.5/5
Majestic Twelve: The Space Invaders Part IV 1990
Featuring a slickness that would have benefitted the early Space Invaders games and 16-bit graphical flourishes, this is a satisfying arcade shooter. If you grew up in the 1990s, you’ll recognise this, the first simultaneous two-player Space Invaders title, which mixes various attack formations and introduces power-ups into the Space Invaders oevre. One of the highlights of the Space Invaders Invincible Collection. 4/5
Super Space Invaders ’91 1990
Not too different from Majestic Twelve, this version of Space Invaders features a more traditional collection of invaders. These are matched up with a collection of background/scenarios, with power-ups again available to rebalance the odds. 4/5
Space Invaders DX 1994
Featuring three game modes, Space Invaders DX ramps up the challenge. Not only is there an Original Mode and competitive Versus two-player mode (with the chance to male things tougher for your opponent) but a Parody option. This features a collection of characters from older Taito titles, and is a lot of fun. 4/5
Space Invaders Extreme 2008
Perhaps the closest thing in this compilation to the Space Invaders Frenzy arcade machine, Space Invaders Extreme is a high paced, frenetic shooter that redefines what you think you know about the game – and the entire genre. 5/5
Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE 2018
A multiplayer Space Invaders extravaganza, Gigamax 4 SE pits up to four players against a Space Invaders Frenzy-esque set of challenges. This is a lot of fun in multiplayer mode – less so in single player – and if you can find three friends to join in you’ll enjoy Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE to its fullest. 4/5
Arkanoid vs Space Invaders 2016
Available as a free extra after buying Space Invaders Invincible Collection, Arkanoid vs Space Invaders is perhaps the expected evolution of these two classic titles, particularly after the introduction of Arkanoid-style power ups in the 1990 games. A port of the mobile game, Arkanoid vs Space Invaders was unavailable at the time of the review, so no score is given.
Good Collection, Bad Price Tag
You know what you’re getting with the original Space Invaders. Naturally, that alone is not enough to justify a £55 price tag. But the reputation (and quality) of some of the titles still make that ticket look way too high. While the more recent titles appeal to those more in tune with the retro aesthetic than actual nostalgia, the older games just don’t. The lack of Space Invaders Frenzy, meanwhile, is a massive omission that might have balanced up that weighty investment.
Overall, this is a good collection of Space Invaders games that is let down by a steep price. Unless you’re chomping at the bit for some Space Invaders action, you might wait for it to drop in price before buying.
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Total Score: 3.5/5
Gaming since 1984, retro gaming since 2004. Contributes to Linux Format magazine and MakeUseOf.com.