Space Invaders Infinity Gene Review
Space Invaders has been going through a renaissance of sorts in recent years. While most rereleases of classic arcade games continue to stick as closely to the original source as possible, Space Invaders fans have been treated to a number of games that are more "inspired by" Space Invaders than they are recreations of the arcade classic. The latest in the recent line of Space Invaders remixes is Space Invaders Infinity Gene, which takes the original game and turns it into more of a shoot 'em up (shmup) than anything resembling the original. This merging of a classic game with a different classic genre leads to what is probably the most unique of the recent Space Invaders inspired games, but "unique" does not necessarily translate into "best".
Space Invaders Infinity Gene gives the famous invaders from space a whole new attack strategy. Instead of diligently marching their way down the screen occasionally dropping bombs, they come flying in from different directions and unleash a variety of weapons. The classic invaders from the original game are part of the attack, but they're in the minority here. A number of new enemies make up the bulk of the attacking forces and send missiles, lasers, and barriers at you from all directions.
It's not just the invaders that have new tricks; it's your ship as well. You're no longer defending a flat world against invasion, but flying through levels, dodging obstructions and walls while destroying invaders. Those little bonus point UFOs now contain power-ups, and destroying one will drop the power for you to catch and exploit with your ship. And the more you play the game, the more experience you earn to help your ship to evolve. The "gene" in "Infinity Gene" is a reference to the evolution of both your ship and the rules of the game as you play. For example, one of the early evolutions frees your ship from being locked to horizontal movement at the bottom of the screen and lets you roam the screen in two dimensions in true shmup form.
While war in the game has completely evolved since the first Space Invaders game, the graphics have not. The game honors its roots by sticking to the black and white and blocky look of the original. While I can appreciate the effect that they were going for here, when there's so much going on on-screen a little color differentiation would have gone a long way in helping you keep better track of what's going on.
In addition to the game's main mode there are three others. The challenge in Challenge Mode is to see how far you can get in a series of 99 randomly generated levels, while the bonus in Bonus Mode is the special stages that you unlock as you make your way through the game's main mode. Music Mode plays music of off your Xbox 360's hard drive and generates levels based on the music itself.
Of all of the remixed Space Invaders games I've played over the past couple of years, Infinity Gene is probably my least favorite. Turning the game into a shmup was a pretty good idea, but the end result is a game that's a bit below average for the genre. It provides some entertainment for a short while, but not enough to inspire me to keep coming back to it. The evolving ship and game rules should have been compelling enough to keep me playing, but the gameplay itself wasn't thrilling enough to motivate me to keep playing it just to see what upgrade would come next. The game's fusion of genres doesn't quite gel into a compelling enough game to recommend it to Space Invaders or shmup fans, so if you're in either of those groups I'd advise you try the demo first before you commit your Microsoft Points to it.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 66%. A Space Invaders shoot 'em up should have been more fun to play than Space Invaders Infinity Gene.