Man, it's funny how the mind works -- or doesn't -- since I never
would have remembered this game in a million years if a friend hadn't sent over a bunch of ROMs to me a few months ago, which this was included in that bunch. Funny how just watching the demo for two SECONDS can jog a memory; even seeing it's entry at the klov didn't ring a bell, even though, as it turned out, I had
put in my share of quarters (and/or tokens) into the machine.
I used to play this at a small game room (which was the only place I ever saw it at) here in Houston called Games 'r Us (jokingly called "Drugs 'r Us" by some people, but I never saw any...but with those big, scary high school kids, you never know...).
As you can see by the photo, it's obviously a Galaxian rip-off, with the aliens replaced by what appears to be giant spiders flying through space. (Granted, what else could you expect from Universal? They only had a few minor to big hits, such as Cosmic Avenger [there they are, using the "cosmic" theme again], Ladybug and Mr. Do!, the latter of which spawned several games in itself [Mr. Do! vs. Unicorns?! Now, that just sounds mean...].) The aliens -- I guess they are...but then, "Cosmic Arachnid" probably didn't test too well -- would peel off from their formation and fly down towards you; if they weren't shot or one of them rammed into you, they would re-appear at the top. Sound familiar? Of course, there's the escort ship as well, etc., etc. The NERVE of some video game companies, I swear...
Of course, Universal had to make a few changes (although minor) in hoping C. Alien would appear different enough to avoid a lawsuit (granted, like I said, I only saw this at one game room ever, so it wasn't exactly a big hit), which there's only a few: when the aliens attack, they'll drop down a spread of bombs that's about five times wider than any of the bombing raids that happened with Galaxian. So the game's a bit harder that way. When the very last alien remains at the end of a wave, if you let it go for long enough, it'll change into a huge, winged demon kind of thing ("Cosmic Anti-Christ"?), and is worth several hundred points if you shoot it quick enough, wowee.
However, after several screens, the aliens start changing in appearance...which would happen a year later with Galaga (!). Wow, a rip-off actually did something that would later be copied by someone else! (Nah, with as rare as this one was, I doubt Namco even saw it. The irony, though...)
So there you have it, that's pretty much all there is. The game actually could receive a 6, maybe even a 7, due to the simplicity, yet challenge of the gameplay, but since it's a rip-off that doesn't employ much of anything new, you're better off playing the original...that was better and came out before this one, since Cosmic Alien obviously stole everything from Galaxian. Oh well, R. I. P. anyway, Universal. 5/10