Friday 2 August 2013

Gakken Galaxy Invader 1000

This simplified space invaders clone has to be one of my all time favorite LED handhelds.

Galaxy Invader 1000 was developed and published by Gakken (also licensed to Tandy under the 'Fire Away' toy line) in 1982.

It was released to cash in on the popularity of Space Invaders released 4 years earlier and delivered an experience very different to, but still reminiscent of, the arcade machine in a handheld.

The gameplay itself differs from Space Invaders in many ways, but retains the basic element of 'shooting upwards towards aliens and bonus motherships, while avoiding enemy fire'.
The game field consists of 3 columns of 'Invader Zone' with 5 different available rows, a 'UFO zone' row in which bonus ships appear (like motherships in Space Invaders), the ground row where your missile appears and a missile bunker where your remaining lives are.

Not much can be said for the actual gameplay other than it is fast and fun. I feel that the limited play area actually puts a nice spin on the theme, and makes the tiny joystick really easy to use, having only right, left and center positions. The fire button on this game is also really enjoyable to use. A huge bright red square that gives a satisfying click when pressed.

Shooting invaders get you more points the further from the ground they are, and you are awarded bonus points for hitting UFOs. If an invader reaches the ground, you run out of missiles (you are allowed 250 shots) or you run out of lives, game over. However, you can regain a life and some missiles when you reach 700 points. The game is won at 1000 points.

All in all I think that (like many LED and LCD games) most of Galaxy Invader 1000's merits come from its limitations. The warm blue flicker of the invaders, the harshness of the sound and the slight humming you get from old electronics makes this handheld a really charming little machine. 3 levels of speed/difficulty and quick games actually make it very playable, and much like the original Space Invaders, it screams re-playability and longevity.

Cheers for reading,
Dusty Old Games

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