Review by Bruce Consolazio
in 1998, this game was John Dondzilla's second and (unfortunately) last
serious gaming effort for the ColecoVision, a follow-up to his 1997 game Star
As the name and appearance both clearly imply, this is a game that is
very similar to the 1978 arcade smash, Space Invaders. The object of the
game is simple: you are a small laser base at the bottom of the screen,
shooting at a block of 55 invaders, who march across the screen, getting
lower and lower each time they reach one of the sides. You must avoid
their laser bombs and prevent them from reaching the bottom of the screen
by destroying them one at a time. Periodically, a UFO flies by at the top
of the screen; shooting it yielded extra points. The game was followed in
1980 by the sequel, Space Invaders Deluxe. It was different mainly in that
the UFO could appear and disappear as well as drop down reinforcements,
and a number of invaders, when shot, would split into two smaller
The regular version of Space Invasion is well done, but is not overly challenging. Unlike the arcade, in which only the lowest invaders in a column could drop a bomb, in this version ANY invader can do this. Obviously, the higher the invader, the more time you have to react to the bomb. Since the invaders never start any lower than right above the shelters, you can usually get to the right side of the screen and, from the comparative safety of the rightmost shelter, pick off all but a few of the invaders. As a result, even though the "death row" trick does not work here, the game just isn't really that challenging. It isn't so much easy, just not hard enough.
The deluxe version, on the other hand, is an altogether different story! In this version, from the second screen on, certain invaders can split into two green ones. The "new" invader always appears in the space to the right of the original one, even if that space is already occupied. This means that, no matter how you shoot the invaders, you will need a good deal more than 55 shots to destroy the entire force. By the 4th screen, almost all of the invaders in the lower 3 rows can split, making your work much more difficult! What's more, the UFO can now drop bombs which, while not hard to dodge by themselves, can easily get you if you are in a corner or pinned down by the invaders' bombs. And, when the UFO flashes on and off, it is somewhat harder to hit. The deluxe version only looks easy. No matter what strategy you try to use, it always has a weakness somewhere. Thus, this game is very challenging, and requires a little luck. 50,000 points is a pretty good score in this version.
An interesting aspect to Space Invasion is the fact that this is
the first home version of any "Space Invaders" game I've ever
played in which your shots and the enemy bombs can affect each other. If
they hit each other your shot is always destroyed, but one of three things
can happen to the enemy bomb: nothing; it can be deflected a bit to the
left; or it can disappear and reappear over the rightmost shelter.
Sound is good, although different from the arcade version. It works nicely here.
There are some extras in this game that elevate it above most
third-party efforts from the 1980s. There are VERY impressive title and
information screens, and, when you shoot one of the two bottom invaders in
the leftmost column in the deluxe version, laser shots fan out and up from
that point, and you earn 500 or 1000 bonus points (depending on which of
the two you shot last)- the number of points appears on the information
bar. Also, in the deluxe version, between screens, a UFO carries an
invader to the top of the screen, while S.O.S.!! appears on the right.
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