Overall Score 82%
It's such an obvious idea that I'm surprised no-one thought of it before. Take two classics of gaming, Space Invaders and Arkanoid, and fuse them together. The result? Invadazoid, of course. Take out invaders from space by bouncing a ball off them.
I'm not sure how much more explanation is needed. Anyone who knows these two games will have an instant visual image, but just in case... aliens advance across and down the screen, and you control a saucer-shaped vehicle at the bottom. You must bounce a ball off the enemy, the walls and ceiling and your "bat" without letting it touch the ground, taking out all the aliens in the process. If you lose the ball or an alien missile hits your saucer, you lose a life. If the aliens reach the ground, the game ends regardless of your remaining lives.
Invadazoid is played entirely by mouse (with keyboard used for entering high scores). This allows for variable tank speed and fine control, essential for deflecting the ball in the right direction. The left mouse button fires the ball off and also operates the Plasma Cannon power-up. The right mouse button calls up a menu that pauses the game and allows you to quit and so on.
There are four game modes to Invadazoid. Invasion is the standard game, with eight zones for you to conquer. Upon completing all eight zones, you unlock the Bosses mode where you can tangle with the bigger aliens. Survival mode is an endless battle whereupon new rows of aliens constantly appear at the top of the screen - last as long as you can. And if you hanker for the original Space Invaders, Classic mode is for you (no ball, just the plasma cannon and wave after wave of aliens).
The graphics are fairly impressive - 3D rendered invaders march, swoop and circle about the screen, all different in appearance and all with different abilities. Missiles are less effective, looking fairly cartoon, and invaders seem to splatter rather than explode when struck. A neat touch is the option to turn off the backgrounds - good if you have a slow computer, or if you find them distracting. A variety of glow effects on saucer and ball indicate powerups in operation.
Invadazoid greets one with some bleepy-bloopy stylee title music that sounds like a tribute to the olden days (and some more annoying looping beeps for the high score music). The in-game music is one endlessly looping dance (bounce?) track, though to their credit it is varied enough to have taken me some time to realise it was only one track. Sound effects are plentiful (sometimes invaders scream when they die!) but can get quite noisy, especially when the proximity alarm goes off, the missile deflector is about to fade out and a mother ship is crossing the top of the screen all at the same time.
Invadazoid feels good to play. Bat movement is smooth, and fast when you need it, and gives fair control over the ball direction. If you speed up at the moment of impact you can even "spin" the ball, curving it around to get above the enemy! But the best part of Invadazoid is the range of pickups - and the way you can combine them. Mix "invinciball" and "explosive ball" and you'll quickly clear a level! Use the missile deflector to bounce enemy missiles back at them (ha ha ha!) and the plasma cannon is excellent for picking off the stragglers.
It is difficult to fault Invadazoid. The biggest annoyance I had was the need to progress through each stage in Invasion mode - if you get stuck on one stage, you can't try any later ones. I also found the invaders slower than the original Space Invaders, which is good for the standard modes but makes Classic a little easy. These are feeble complaints, however. This is a polished and professional offering that will appeal to both casual gamers and those seeking a break from more involved gameplay and Invadazoid deserves to do well.
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