Developed By: Taito, Gotch Technologies Published By: ININ Games (Digital), Strictly Limited Games (Physical) Categories: Retro, Shootemup Release Date: 08.17.21
In 2020, Taito unveiled to the world (or Japan rather) Space Invaders Invincible Collection. It was a grand set that included both the old, the very old infact, and the new. Unfortunately, in typical Taito fashion, an expensive collectors edition was required to get every game. Fortunately, Strictly Limited and ININ have released a much, much cheaper alternative, about 30% of the price to get every game.
Also in 2020, ININ would release a retail collection for Space Invaders named Space Invaders Forever. A budget option including only those recent games. My review of that collection can be seen here. Needless to say, I loved my time with Space Invaders Forever, but I was still yearning for Invincible Collection. Eight months later, we are now graced with it’s presence, now complete for the first time in digital form.
Back in the Day
We’re going back. Way back infact, all the way to 1978 for the first Space Invaders, in that classic black and white. Of course, the color edition that had cellophane to give the illusion of color is also emulated. Immediately, this is something I absolutely cherish about the length Taito goes when putting collections together. No matter the arguable redundancies, they’ll pack these collections to make a thorough package. Upon first glace, Space Invaders 2 is in the same camp. At face value, it’s the same game. Much like semi-sequels like AfterBurner 2 and Galaxy Force 2, it’s more of an enhancement. New enemies, new attack patterns. It’s in my eyes a more definitive way to play, despite having a level of obscurity that the original does not have. I’d rather play Space Invaders 2 over the original game, or the Color edition any day of the week.
Next up, we have a few non-Space Invaders releases. Lunar Rescue and Space Cyclone are not quite Space Invaders games, but they share a few things including the arcade board. Lunar Rescue is simple, you take your shuttle down and land on these point targets to rescue people on the moon, and then fly back up, shooting at obstacles to safely get back to your ship. You are awarded more points If your ship can successfully land lower and lower, if you use less fuel to make your landings, you’re awarded even more points. It’s simple and it’s color works like the Color editions of Space Invaders.
Space Cyclone is fascinating for it’s apparent rare releases and the fact it has voice acting. I’m getting flashbacks to that BEE SEVENTEEN BAWWLMER voice clip playing, but for a game made in the late 70’s? It’s impressive and it does make it stand out. Gameplay wise, I’m not exactly sure what’s going on. You shoot down aliens in the clouds, and if they reach down, they go to make a insect creature that you’ll also need to shoot down for bonus points? The whole time the aliens mock you with their voice lines, which I love.
Was 1991 really 30 years ago?
Here comes my favorite part that’s exclusive to Invincible Collection, the 90’s games. Majestic Twelve/Super Space Invaders 91 and Space Invaders DX. The former, or formers is my favorite in this collection, by far. Lets discuss redundancies again. The Western version of Majestic Twelve, going by SSI91, removed the new feature of branching paths, to just go through all of the levels in the game, making for a longer, and more difficult experience. What makes Majestic Twelve so great though? At least in terms of release, it’s a modern arcade game, it has great sprites, it has fun bonus stages.
Each level has it’s own theme and alien sprites. That might not be a big deal for plenty of people as they’re functionally the same per level, but I positively adore little touches like this. It’s faster, there’s more new patterns and ways to trick up players. Boss fights make their introduction, and while they’re not necessarily a gigantic challenge, it’s enough to break up the normal waves of aliens. You can’t just credit scum these battles either, if you get a game over, you start it all over. You’ll occasionally have a bonus stage, this time with you trying to save your cows from the very stereotypical UFOs.
Is that Bub and Bob?
Space Invaders DX, or how it’s probably better known as by it’s variety of console ports Space Invaders: The Original Game is a port/remake of the original game…partially. That’s only a third of the game. The second mode is a versus multiplayer mode, where two players shoot at endless waves until one player is left defenseless. Everything is better with a friend. The third mode, and my favorite of the game, and reason to play it alone is it’s Parody Mode. In this mode, sprites are all replaced with enemies and characters from various Taito franchises. It’s still standard Space Invaders, but I love seeing stuff from The NewZealand Story in other games.
The Future is Not so Far Away Now
Last, but not least, we’re at the modern releases, previously included in Space Invaders Forever, so refer to that review. To summarize however, Space Invaders’ modern selection of games is nothing short of magnificent and quite possibly the best in the series. Where you play these games off of Forever or Invincible Collection, PLAY THESE GAMES.
Speaking of Redundancies…
Space Invaders Invincible Collection if you play purely digital games almost makes Space Invaders Forever a redundant release. This raises the question of “Why does Forever even exist?” One could argue for a budget release, and I can see that. Invincible Collection is at it’s core a collection for fans of the series. If you’re not a big fan, it’s very hard to tell someone to pay $60+ for a collection that includes five arcade games from the 70’s. For fans of the series, the lack of games like Space Invaders 95/The Attack of Lunar Loonies is very much questionable, as is the lack of games like Get Even or Infinity Gene.
Gotch Technologies is often mistaken for M2 in how good their emulation work is. Invincible Collection’s emulation is fantastic in every release that isn’t a straight port. Control mapping, screen rotation in 360 degrees, the things you’d expect. Also included are some really tricky challenge modes for each game. Sadly, much like other Taito releases, however, there is a lack of any extra content. In the eyes of someone interested in preservation however, there’s games included that either have never been ported before, or are exorbitantly expensive or near nonexistent. Collections like Invincible Collection are important for that alone.
Buy Now: $59.99 Digital – $70.99 Physical – $117.99 Collectors Edition – $175.99 Ultra Collectors Edition
*Game Download Code graciously supplied for the purpose of review