This one goes up to eleven.
For those new to the Space Invaders Extreme franchise, I urge you to read Nick DiMola’s review of the original game. The goal of this review is to detail what’s been modified from these core concepts, as the games are otherwise very similar.
The original Space Invaders Extreme was a very appropriately-titled game. It took the classic arcade game Space Invaders and added graphical and musical flourishes, a more complicated scoring system, bonus rounds, online play, and new weapons. Space Invaders Extreme 2 doesn’t actually change a whole lot, but every aspect of the gameplay has been pumped full of steroids in the best possible way.
For starters, bonus stages now occur on the top screen during the main stage progression. That is, shooting a “rainbow” UFO will activate a bonus round on the top screen, but you still have to watch what’s happening on the lower screen. Defeating all the enemies on the top screen within 30 seconds activates Fever Time, which causes all of the lower-screen invaders to turn yellow while large UFOs fly by on the top screen. Shooting lower-screen enemies results in a literal raining down of points, while UFOs increase the round’s multiplier bonus.
During normal play, the top screen will also display a Bingo card. Shooting aliens of specific colors in sequence will “fill in” squares on the Bingo card. Once three are linked, you enter a special round. If completed, Bingo Fever begins, which is fundamentally similar to Fever Mode, but with the addition of large pink UFOs on the top screen that are worth a gigantic number of points. But that’s not all, folks; you can fill in the entire Bingo card to really get the party started.
Other, more minor changes include a male voiceover instead of the original's female, more variations on Roulette, and the ease with which you can level up your ship compared to the last game. While still based on accrued points, Space Invaders Extreme 2 basically throws points at you throughout the entire game. It is also much easier than the original Extreme, especially the latter stages (which, for me, is a major plus). Multiplayer has received a few much-needed tweaks as well; there is far more back-and-forth in the trading of invaders between the two players, and interesting UFOs crop up from time to time, including some rather large ones.
Only one new mode has been added to this sequel: Time Attack, which asks players to complete a sequence of stages as fast as possible without worrying about a high score.
The graphics and sound remain the same, although the backgrounds are much busier and mesmerizing than they were in the first game. Luckily, you are never so distracted as to ignore the action in front of your nose. The music is new but largely similar, and the sound effects are, as far as I can tell, the same.
Sadly, Space Invaders Extreme 2 suffers from the same short lifespan of its predecessor. Once you’ve had your fill of Time Attack and Score Attack, you can show off your skills in Ranking Mode and Multiplayer, but all modes are relatively short affairs. It’s not difficult to play through an entire Score Attack game in thirty minutes. Space Invaders Extreme 2 is at its best in short bursts. Certainly not good for plane rides, but excellent for waiting rooms and lunch breaks.
Overall, Space Invaders Extreme 2 is a very worthy sequel to the original. If you liked the first game, you should run out right now and buy this one. If you haven’t tried either one, this sequel is a better package overall.