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 Post subject: Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE (PlayStation 4 - Switch)
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2021 8:05 pm 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
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Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
Well, looks like R-Type is not the last bastion after all.
Although some hate it, I prefer to think of it as an "Unusual Hero" of some sorts. Anyway, with the announced return of Nichibutsu's Cresta series, another oldschooler answers the call, and that's Taito's Space Invaders. While the Invincible Collection was released in Japan first, it finally got its western relase, for those who didn't got the Space Invaders Forever compilation, now they have a second chance.
Anyway, time to review Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE.

4 Times more Invaders than before!

Part of both Invincible Collection and Forever compilations, Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE is more than just the same old late 70's shootout. One of the first twists in gameplay is that the game is more of a "Competition Mode" rather than a co-op shooter as the main objective is to find out who is the one with the highest score before the screens are in the clear (or screen if you're playing the console ports).
At first it looks like the classic game with a color filter and with more Invaders to take down thanks to the multiscreen concept, 5 rows of 35 Invaders each for a bewildering total of 175 Invaders on-screen. This is where the competition begins as the players have to take down most of them. It's your typical, vintage Space Invaders fun, the only difference is that the whole thing is now a four player shootout, but all of the sudden just when the screen is almost on the clear, the game makes an unexpected turn as a giant UFO picks the remaining Invaders and goes away.

The more hits they take, the bigger they'll get.

No, is not the game giving up. Suddenly, a small group of Invaders will appear with increased speed and each time they get hit will increase their size. This is where "Competition" makes a turn to "Challenge" as the game turns the classic rules in a completely different direction. Fortunately you are also granted a power up: Increased fire rate, allowing you to fire more bullets at once, helping you with the majority of the game, except for that instance where the last Invader runs through the screen like a hyperactive kid after having a dose of 12 sugar bags. Keep in mind that you can die as much as possible and resume as if nothing happened since there's no "Remaining Lives" counting.

Who's afraid of the big, bad UFO?

After this second wave, it's boss time and that means take down the UFO. But here's a catch, there's a time limit, so you and your friends have to take down the UFO before time runs out, fortunately, the game can be resumed by inserting a coin, but at expense of resetting the scores, something that kills off the competition concept since resetted scores can give a free shot to the "losing" players. This is where the game changes from "Challenge" to "Cooperative" as the players can merge their cannons to fire an extremely powerful supershot that causes great damage to the boss.
With the boss destroyed, you'll have to repeat the process in the game 3 more times.

Graphically, there's not too much to talk about the game, they're the same simple pixel Invaders from 1978 with the initial color filter and then rendered with flashy, crystal-dance floor like squares for the sake of extra detailing and vibrant coloring along with more modern backgrounds that break with the monotony and simplicity of the game. The same goes for the music, which combines the classic "notes" of the Invaders movements with new dance-electronic beats, which for some reason they sound more like a Dance Dance Revolution game than a Zuntata work most of the time, the third level has a "Chillout-Jazz" like rhythm and the UFO fight has a VERY Final Fantasy-like boss theme ┬┐Does Zuntata just lost that Taito feeling?, It's not the first time. The music of Space Invaders Extreme also moves further away from Zuntata's classic experimental weirdness they're famous for. If they've lost that Taito feeling there, in Gigamax now its "gone, gone, gone".

- 4 SE stands for 4 Screens Edition, implying its multi-screen size.
- While the console ports allow a maximum of 4 players, the original Gigamax was capable of 10 player co-op play.
- The original Gigamax was an event exclusive available only in shows like the 2019 Japan Amusement Expo (JAEPO), making the console version the only way available to play this game.


Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE is an interesting experiment on how to bring new life to an old shmup, although its true challenge, fun and excitement can only be experienced when is played by 2 or more players 'cos if you play it as a single player it might bring you some troubles. Fortunately, getting the trophies in the compilations is easy enough for a single player run.

The Lea Scale is on the positives again.
Good to know that.
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