Atari 2600 Friday’s #20 – Space Invaders
This week we take a look at a game that maybe most of us already know a lot about…Space Invaders! Apparently more than just ‘another shooter’, Space Invaders was one of the first and through popularity helped paved the way for shooters.
The Story: You are at war with enemies from space threatening Earth. You must destroy them before they land.
From the Manual: “Each time you turn on SPACE INVADERS you will be at war with enemies from space who are threatening the earth. Your objective is to destroy these invaders by firing your “laser cannon.” You must wipe out the invaders either before they reach the earth (bottom of the screen), or before they hit you three times with their ‘laser bombs.'”
From the Box: (from the red box) “Hordes of alien invaders are threatening to invade planet Earth, descending from the skies in countless numbers. You must destroy them with you laser canon before they land. In the meantime, you must avoid getting hit by alien laser bombs. The closer those battle crazed monsters get to Earth, the faster they move, unleashing more of their deadly laser bombs! Even when you think they’ve all been destroyed, another set of invaders appears. The battle is on again! Concentrate – you must be fast and accurate to save your world!”
The Game Play: We all know Space Invaders, unless you a lame modern generation teenager, but lets take a look at what features are in this version. Thirty six space invaders descend at a time, you must shoot them all down without them reaching the bottom or you dying in order to move to the next 36. Every s often the command ship will fly across for bonus points. The lines on the ground tell you how far left and right you can move. Once you shoot, you cannot shoot again until your laser of off screen or hits an alien. Game variations include: moving shields, zigzagging laser bombs, fast laser bombs, and invisible invaders.
The Controls: Left and right movement, red button fires.
Post Review: It’s easy to see why it gained such popularity and spawned a whole library of clones. Even for a clunky early version, it plays exactly as it should. Although I will admit it’s slightly annoying to have to wait to fire again, but that adds to the difficulty. Space Invaders is simply one of those simple addicting games, bringing out the desire to get farther and do better next time. I think one of the things that makes Space Invaders more enjoyable is the fact that is is slightly slower paced than other shooters.
The High Score: Game mode 1 – 1500