Space Invaders is up there with the likes of Pong, Donkey Kong, Tetris and Pac-Man. When you talk retro gaming, that’s one of the ubiquitous OGs, the slice of arcade era gaming where branding really exploded. TAITO has had its ups and downs over the years, but Space Invaders maintains its presence in arcades and home platforms to this day. And under Square Enix, TAITO hasn’t shied away from experiments.
Space Invaders Invincible Collection Review
It doesn’t have literally everything, but Space Invaders Invincible Collection still gives us a quality, higher level look at the series’ full history. Ten games are included, 11 if you count Arkanoid vs. Space Invaders (included as a separate download). In that list you’re looking at a span of history starting in 1978 with the original up to today, with the Invincible Collection’s bespoke version of Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE.
As far as classic game collections go, Space Invaders Invincible Collection does a decent job. It’s a far cry from bare bones compilations that don’t have any extras, but it just as far from a Digital Eclipse set or anything with bonus features. What we have here is a collection of games with individual options (difficulty, scan lines, etc) wrapped in some nice-looking and sounding UI and leaderboards.
But the best part is that each game is paired in the selection menu with a paragraph or two providing historical context on what they are. For example, there are three games that don’t have “Space Invaders” in their titles at all, and these blurbs explain why they’re here. And being part of the menu instead of in some other place probably ups the chances less historically inclined players will read them. And as we get further away from games like Space Invaders being maximally relevant, that can only be a good thing.
When it comes to playing these games and having fun, your mileage is going to vary. Space Invaders is a weird game, a shooter that isn’t scrolling or even very fast-paced. But it’s also one of the few of its kind that really demand you pay attention to where you’re shooting your little pixel lasers. The crown jewel of the set of course is Space Invaders Extreme (this port based on the Steam version), which came out around the same time as Pac-Man Championship Edition and has a similar vibe. For me, that’s the game I’ll be coming back to.
There is one weird omission, and that’s the Sega Mega Drive version of Space Invaders. This was included in the Japanese release as a retailer-specific preorder bonus, and there’s no sign of it here. This collection has an odd release history with several SKUs, but the worldwide Invincible Collection is as close to complete as you can get. It’s a shame, especially since you’re already missing out on some notable Space Invaders games here anyway, such as Extreme 2 or the SNES versions.
If you’re curious about the history of arcade games, especially ones like Space Invaders that have been constantly iterated upon over four decades, Space Invaders Invincible Collection is a good place to start. It isn’t completely comprehensive and it’s technically missing one of its games, but it has its own share of unique content you can’t get anywhere else. If nothing else, come for the slick handheld Extreme port since you probably missed the PSP version, and stay for the written historical context and versions you’ve never heard of.
- Curated games from over 40 years of ports and updates
- Historical text is brief but valuable
- Brand new ports of Space Cyclone and Gigamax (as 4 SE)
- No bonuses - you’re on your own if you want to learn more
- Mega Drive version technically part of the set but not included
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review