Posted by: seanmalstrom | November 20, 2016

TG 16 Review: Space Invaders

Note: This review was made using actual Turbografx 16 hardware with no emulation.

Special Note: This game was imported from Japan.

Image result for space invaders pc-engine

And here we have Space Invaders! Did Taito update this classic like how Namco updated Galaga in Galaga ’90? Is this game fun and addictive to come back to again and again? And most important of all, the question that is on everyone’s minds, will this game receive the Malstrom Award, the highest and most distinguished award any game can obtain?

Special Note: This is the Hucard version of Space Invaders. There is a CD version of Space Invaders titled ‘The Original Game’ that has anime girls squealing. This is not the Otaku version.

I am assuming the reader knows about Space Invaders. What is interesting is how PC-Engine must have all shmups ever made it seems. Of course Space Invaders finds its way to the PC-Engine.

There are two versions of Space Invaders on this card. There is the arcade mode Space Invaders. Then, there is Space Invaders Plus.

The terrible video quality above shows off the simple arcade port. Who cares? This is 1970s gaming. Let’s get to the Plus mode.

Of course Space Invaders needed a cinematic intro complete with wire-frame ship zoom-ins! How could you think otherwise, reader?

The Plus mode is the best version of Space Invaders until Extreme came out. You have shields. The laser shot is neat. There is some differentiation with the background levels and the invaders coming at you. I like how you often have to shoot their blasts coming at you instead of just hiding behind a wall.

Unfortunately, you will play this mode for a few levels and never decide to touch it again. There is absolutely nothing here to warrant further interest. Namco really showed how it was done with updating a classic with Galaga ’88. Space Invaders Plus doesn’t come close. Feel free to ignore this one.

Disclaimer: The ‘quality’ is gauged only by how often I return to the game. TG16 games are not isolated; they are compared to every other game out there. A game can be ‘bad’ and keep me coming back. A game can be ‘good’ that I never want to touch again. Irrational addictive-ness, which defies quantification, is the only element examined here.


-TG 16 Games Reviewed So Far-

Malstrom Awards: 
(Addictive and Awesome even today, they refuse to age. Score of 10)

Devil's Crush Coverart.png
Devil’s Crush [$68] Imaginative sound and gothic theme. You’ll keep coming back to this one.)

Galaga ’90 [$34] (Purest shmup I have ever seen. This will still be played 50 years from now.)

Gradius [$30] (Four options can cause slowdown, but this arcade port remains difficult and legendary.)

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Final Soldier [$30] (Good music and polish, easier difficulty, multiple powerup options. laser bubbles! Consistently fun.)

Parasol Stars [$85] (Better than Bubble Bobble. No one realizes how legendary this game is… yet.)

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R-type [$40] (Never gets old because it can never be beaten. Fun to try here and there.)

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Salamander [$40] (Challenging and addictive. If you like NES Life Force, you will love this.)


Honorable Mentions: (Good games that are flawed or gameplay has suffered aging. Score of 6-9)

(9) Gomola Speed [$15] (Snake meets Gauntlet. Genre defying. Gameplay hurts hand.)

(8) World Court Tennis [$16] (Most interesting RPG on the TG 16. Seriously.)

(7) Alien Crush [$22] (Interesting, addictive, but flawed. Good to play as a break to Devil’s Crush)

(6) Bonk’s Adventure [$33] (Meh platformer oozes incredible charm)

(6) Boxy Boy [$27] (Solid puzzle game, but it gets stale fast. Contains level editor.)

(6) Dragon Spirit [$30] (Jurassic atmosphere is charming. Sluggish controls, hard-to-come-back after dying)


Don’t bother: (Not fun to play today. Score of 5 and below.)

(5) Military Madness [$44] (Overrated, dated gameplay, repetitious, dull colorless setting of the moon)

(5) Neutopia [$76] (boring, bad game design, can’t hold a candle to Zelda, fire wand is only thing going for this game)

(5) Raiden [$72] (Overrated, more frustrating than challenging, no 2 player mode that was in arcade)

(4) Bomberman [$40] (dull and boring, totally surpassed by its sequels on this system)

(4) Ninja Gaiden [$80] (Compared to NES: worse sound and controls, terrible parallax scrolling. Nothing to see here.)

(4) Space Invaders [$12] (Arcade and Plus mode. Plus mode is cool but the game is still dull, dull, dull.)

(4) Shockman [$110] (Cool graphics and vibe, no polish, and frustrating gameplay. Play Mega Man instead.)

(3) Moto Roader [$17] (5 player party game, great upgrade system, terrible core gameplay. USE HANDLE B!)

(3) Street Fighter 2: Champion Edition [$20] (2 button controller is terrible for 6 button game. Good luck getting a 6 button controller.)

(1) Keith Courage in Alpha Zones [$10] (The 16 bit version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.)



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