God bless Mick, my Australian buddy, who sends me some amusing stuff by e-mail and the occasional package in the mail from overseas as well, giving me a glimpse into the classic gaming mag of Retro Gamer that most of us here in the States weren't able to see for a while (nowadays, it's gaining in popularity here, but it's usually still costing $10 a pop at bookstores). Every issue so far has come with a free jam-packed cd full of freeware games, most of which are either remakes of retro games (or retro-themed
games), emulators and much more.
Unfortunately, even though the above has helped me out through many a boring night, a lot of the games haven't been worth the time in playing for very long, in my opinion. Yeah, I realize that beggars can't be choosers, but a crappy game is still a crappy game.
Take Mini Space Invaders as one example.
Granted, the game LOOKS promising, due to a reproduction of a space invader from the original arcade game, along with a reproduction of the side art of the Invaders' cabinet appearing a few seconds after the previous screen; so far, so good. I was wondering why the game was called "Mini" invaders as well: are they small?
Then when the playfield appeared, I was like "Good GOD! LOOK AT ALL THE INVADERS!!!" We're talking rows of sixteen by twenty two invaders...352 per screen!! Holy CRAP!
However, why does it go downhill from there? After ALL, we are talking about the classic "shoot down the aliens before they invade" theme, and you can't get much more classic than that, as far as a game goes.
So lets see:
*well, it's a unique concept, anyway
*the graphics are fairly good and all the invaders are colorful and look different: you've got ones that look like rats, others that look like some kind of monster, and one near the bottom, when it moves, I swear facial hair appears during one of it's frames...I don't know if this is supposed to be some kind of a vampire or a baby with a moustache
*when the bonus U. F. O. appears, it makes a near-perfect replica of the sound effect from when you destroy the U. F. O. from the original, which is a nice touch
*the bunkers that you hide behind won't get replaced with new ones once you actually clear an entire screen (see my last list as to why the bunkers suck butt)
*you can fire several shots in only a couple of seconds, but they travel really slowly, so this doesn't really belong under my "Good" list
*the U. F. O.s will sometimes come out one right after the other, in only a short time frame...I've had up to FOUR appear in less than 45 seconds. This really can jack your score up, but unfortunately it takes time and fairly often U. F. O.s will go by without you being able to get a single shot at them
*hardly any sound effects/non-stop techno music fills the game...this is either good or bad, depending on your taste in music
THE UGLY AS (*#!ING SIN
*there's nine freakin' bunkers. As the invaders march, the bunkers are constantly getting in the way of your shots as the invaders keep on moving to the side, and out of your line of fire...
*the bunkers also take FOREVER to shoot a hole through (see my Good list as to why it's a good thing that they're not refreshed with each new screen)
*screens can take up to ten minutes to clear...and I don't mean "10 minutes" when it's only been a minute and a half (you know how people exaggerate), but I mean "10 minutes" where it seems like half an hour
*it's difficult to develop a strategy: most people are going to shoot through a vertical row of invaders to clear a path for the U. F. O., right? Due to the damn bunkers, that's actually more difficult than it sounds...plus you need to clear a good three or four rows (this takes time)...oh wait, several of the invaders are getting close, I need to shoot the bottom row or two of invaders (more time adds up)...oh, here comes a U. F. O. (this takes even more time)...etc., etc.
*there's no power-ups to speed up getting through a screen, to make the game interesting, or to make it any FUN
Believe it or not, I actually hate ragging on this game (but I don't play favorites), since, if you look at the creator's web site of http://www.peejays-remakes.co.uk, the guy has written details about how far back he goes with programming and all, he's even had contests on his site, and he's created several games. So obviously he's spent a bit of time on this hobby of his that he obviously enjoys, plus it's a perfectly solid, very playable game.
But the game's just mind-numbingly boring, though; even when you get down to that last invader, you can still outrun it, so even finishing a wave doesn't feel like much of an accomplishment. I went through three screens -- three VERY LONG SCREENS -- and the gameplay doesn't really seem to change. Power-ups and all would be a very welcome thing.
However, you might still want to check it out, though (what the hey, it's free), since I saw a thread once on Atari Age about there being any 2600 games that you can just "zone out" on and play forever, even though they're not really that challenging (to you) or fun (I think Night Driver was one of them). So keeping that in mind, this might still be worth a chance.
Me, I'm going to play this really fun remake of Qix (actually it's a remake of a clone called Ballistyx) instead that's also on one of these Retro Gamer cds. Whee! 3 out of 10