Another classic game gets reinvented for the modern generation with Space Invaders: Infinity Gene for both Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network. This is not the first time though that Space Invaders has been modernized in recent years with releases on the handheld platforms, so it has been used towards reaching out today's audience. Infinity Gene is arguably Taito's best effort of making Space Invaders feel modern and fun at the same time by taking the simple shooter formula of the original game and taking it to eleven in every aspect. I am usually a sucker for playing modernized takes on old classic arcade games as Infinity Gene is no different with its simple yet hard to master gameplay and a decent amount of replay value with the numerous modes being offered. It manages to take such an original concept as it flips the switch around for a more trippier and crazier experience that is worth the ten dollars.
Infinity Gene is divided up to three major modes as they consist of the normal game, challenge stages, and the music mode. The normal game is the bread and butter of the bunch as it starts off with a throwback to the original game for a few seconds before realizing that this is not your father's Space Invaders. You start off with limited abilities as you progress with the five worlds that consist of six levels each, but as you keep filling up the gene meter fully after beating the level or even getting a game over after running out of lives, you will evolve gaining more abilities such as free movement, various shot types, more lives to start with, and bonus stages. It is actually recommended you start off with the normal game first to gain some abilities that will save you later on in the other modes, specifically free movement. The first world is pretty much a warmup as the game starts taking shape getting more crazier and chaotic from the second world on with more enemies on screen to shoot and obstacles to avoid. The amount of enemies in a snap and everywhere on the screen does remind me of a similar classic getting modernized, which is Galaga Legions, but Infinity Gene handles it better with a progressive experience-based system to gain more weapons besides the normal rapid shot. These unlockable shot types are hit and miss for the most part as some are usable like the wave weapon, which is a spread gun-like shot. There also bosses at the end of the levels as well, but expect them to reappear multiple times later on in the game as if you're playing a boss rush of sorts they consist of many shapes from giant UFOs, a sun, and so on. You do get a sense a repetition seeing these bosses again, but the game manages to throw some twists in the way to make the battles not feel the same with walls and other enemies.
The fun does not stop there with the normal game in Infinity Gene even though there are harder difficulties to unlock as well. The 99 challenge stages are just more of the same in the normal game, but shorter. They will get progressively harder in the later stages, so it is a matter of being prepared for anything they will throw at you. Bonus stages are also unlocked by evolution over time as well which are similar to all the other stuff going on. The music mode is perhaps the best feature in this Space Invaders game as you play a stage with your own music at your disposal. As long as you have music on your hard drive or an external device that the console recognizes, you're able to enjoy the full potential of music mode. Even though the same song will loop if you're playing a long game, it would be nice if a playlist feature within the game can be added later on.
Graphically, the game sticks to the same style the original has with the enemy design of the invaders along with enemy ships. There are a variety of backgrounds in all of the modes, but at times you might be confused of whether or not a line is part of the background or an enemy firing a line at you which likely results in a loss of a life. Infinity Gene still does a great job of retaining the visual style of the original while handling the amount of enemies on screen well with a smooth framerate. The same goes for the sound as well as if you're playing an arcade game back in the 80s as it plays along to those sound effects expectedly. These sound effects may get annoying for some especially if they have used to more modernized games, but it is a matter of realizing you're still playing a Space Invaders game in 2010.
Space Invaders: Infinity Gene is another example of how to treat a classic in the modern era and spin it around to make it more trippy and frantic. There are so many twists and turns in the normal game on how the enemy waves are treated as if you have to be on your toes at all times preparing for the worst. At times, you will lose a life just for being at the wrong spot at the wrong time which will be the case later on in normal mode. As a package, it still feels like you're playing a game in the 80s, but with more technology backing up especially with the amount of enemies on screen to shoot at. There is enough replay value to play for long and short sessions evolving to unlock more weapons, bonus levels, and stuff for the collection as well the music mode is open to your imagination in terms of what to blast. For ten bucks on Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network, Infinity Gene is worth your time and money if you love modernized takes on classic games or even the itch to experience something trippy.
Score = 8.5/10
- A great modernized take of an arcade classic
- The normal mode experience gets crazier and trippier as you progress
- Gene evolution meter is a neat touch for gaining new abilities
- Tons of replay value with the numerous modes and harder difficulties
- Music mode makes use of your own music really well
- May be too epileptic for some especially with the backgrounds
- At some points, you can't tell the difference between the background and enemy fire
- Weapon styles are hit and miss as some only stand out being effective