Back in 1978, the alien invaders were so underpowered that they were repelled by a single tank that could trundle left and right at about walking pace, firing one bullet every couple of seconds. Humiliated by their catastrophic misjudgment of Earth’s defenses, they headed home and spent the next 30 years working on a better way to make puny humans cower before their military might.
The secret weapon is a lone UFO surrounded by a swarm of fast-moving, smaller ships, and it’s great fun to use. You select one of five modes for the mini invaders, and fire them off towards the cursor. Set them to bounce around and flatten parts of the city, adding more time to the countdown that doubles as a life meter, or focus them on individual enemies. Larger structures can be crushed by using the ships as a bomb, but they take longer to return to the UFO afterwards, leaving it vulnerable.
Each level has an objective – destroy four Tokyo towers in the first, kill some bosses in the next – but you can also take diversions to grab bonuses and random Taito sprites from other areas. As soon as you get even you’re on to the next city to wreak more havoc. Except that’s all you get for your initial 500 points. The rest is extra downloadable content, so the full game is going to cost 2,000-ish. It’s very good though, and apart from a few small niggles (we don’t like the way you can get shot at by things obscured behind the giant status displays on the screen) it would probably be worth buying at full retail price. Nobody’s going to laugh off these invaders.
Jan 8, 2009