Space Fever (Color)
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  • Nintendo
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  • Action - Shooter - 2D (example - Thunder Force)
  • 1980
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9  |  Way More Fun Than Reciting Your ABC's (Space Fever Color review, Arcade)
Darryl B. , 4/15/2007 10:50:47 PM
Here's a really unique rip-off in the history of arcade games...

Arcades had been around for a few years in the 70s, but never really took off until some obscure little game called Space Invaders created the arcade boom that lasted until the video game crash of '83-'84. A lot of Space Invader rip-offs emerged pretty quickly afterwards, of course, along with a lot of other games (that actually WEREN'T Invader rip-offs!) that established the fledgling industry known as video gaming that is still an unstoppable giant in the entertainment business today.

And Space Fever is probably the best of those Invader rip-offs. Why? 'Cause you get three different games to choose from to play! The buttons on the console marked a, b, and c will choose what version you feel like playing, which being given a choice is a bit of a rarity among arcade games.

Just sticking with the basic Space Invader (which I'll just label as S. I. from now on) game, game C has a few new wrinkles to it alone: first, the aliens are a bit large, and colorful (if this is the color version you're playing, that is; there were two versions of Space Fever, the other one was in black and white). Several invaders, if not hit smack dab in the middle, will split into two, and the bonus U. F. O. that comes out, when shot, will turn into a smaller ship that will dart in the opposite direction (usually) that it came from at a high rate of speed; if you're able to nail it, it's worth a big 500 points. It's pretty tricky though, I only did it once ever back in the day.

Game B (now that I'm going backwards here) starts out a lot faster: you know how, once you start shooting more and more invaders, the S. I.s start moving faster and faster? Well, this game starts out fast right off the bat, since there's only one vertical row of invaders...once they hit the edge of the screen, another row will appear, and they'll slow down. This will happen several times until you get an entire compliment of invaders (minus the ones you've shot). Interesting (or as Spock from Star Trek used to say, "fascinating")...

Last, game A is kind of bizarre, as the invaders will start out really high on the screen, but with the first time they reach the edge, they'll tromp down several levels...supposedly, if you get far enough in the game, if you don't wipe out the entire bottom row of invaders, they'll skip down so low you'll be "invaded", and the game will end, but I never made it that far (plus I played game A the least of the three when I played this at a local arcade in the early 80s). Not much to this variation, but I guess the creator of this game(s) was running out of ideas (hell, I'm surprised Nintendo created this in the first place, but Sega also had one or more blatant S. I. rip-offs too).

The graphics weren't bad for back then, and they were very colorful, the controls worked perfectly (can't go wrong with the ol' L/R joystick and fire button), and there were a lot of brief musical pieces that were nice, from the earning of an extra laser base to the razzing of you losing one to even the game over theme, it was all good.

Since I only saw this at one game room ever, it's got to be extremely rare today. This counts as one of the few arcade games that I'd ever want, though, since it takes what's probably considered to be (by many gamers) a boring game nowadays and taking it for a few unique spins (plus I think it was only marketed as a tabletop, which would save some room).

Normally I wouldn't rank a rip-off so highly (since most of them don't deserve it, in my opinion, since, without an original idea to steal from, what would the game designers have as a result? NOTHING!), but since it really improved on the original formula, that's why it's getting a 9 out of 10 from me.

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