|Playstation > Whats New > PlayStation Reviews > Staff Review|
|A.P.I Review:||Invasion From Beyond|
|Developer:||King of the Jungle||OPTIONS:||
No.1 No.2 No.3
|Game Type:||Shoot-em-up||Memory Card|
|Review Date:||January 1999||Dual Shock/Analog Compatible|
Setting the Scene
Watch the skies... Cattle beware! Those most infamous and persistent
of human enemies, The Martians, are back in all their shiny, flying
Turn back the red tide of a monstrous Invasion From Beyond! A massive Martian armada has arrived. Now Earth must face the full force of the Red Planet's merciless might. Join Earth's lone defenders. Out-numbered and out-matched, you are all that stands between Earth's freedom and total Martian dominance. This is Earth's greatest hour. Earth's last stand!
A furious arcade shoot 'em up rages in the skies, while down below you must position military units and remote gun turrets to protect the towns and citizens caught up in the invasion. Titled B-Movie on PAL format.
Visually Invasion From Beyond is one smart cookie. Viewed from above
and behind your fighter aircraft, the polygon environment is both rich in
detail and high in color. An entire 3D world has been carefully mapped out
allowing you to fly virtually anywhere... between the quaint village
chapel and the dusty old mill, up and over the dense pine forests, back
down by the river bank that divides the green pastures, over the hills and
far away.... The physics have obviously been designed with a global world
in mind because should you keep moving forward you will eventually return
to your original starting point.
Pop-up is avoided by a careful layer of mist which lies just far enough ahead to allow optimum control without fear of flying into the unknown. It also allows the game to scroll along at a commendable frame rate, possibly 50 frames per second.
This is a world preparing for invasion, therefore helicopters scan the skies, army vehicles patrol the roads, while little people go about their everyday business totally oblivious to the military presence.
Once the action starts the light-sourcing and lens flare is incredible. Thousands upon thousands of enemy saucers rain down from the heavens (BIG TIME!... we're talking Independence Day style here) and fire at all and sundry. Buildings are reduced to rubble amidst an gigantic ball of flame, civilians run around engulfed in flames, heck even the small weapons give of a nuclear effect. It's utter chaos!
While the earlier levels, which are all set on Earth, are graphically impressive the Space scenery leaves little to be desired. It seems as if the last few levels have been slightly rushed... or maybe the developers thought that gamers wouldn't reach this far.
Sounds and Effects
I quite enjoyed the music. It reminded me of one of those spoof Mel
Brooks movies where every tune sounds familiar... but you cannot remember
precisely where it comes from. You find yourself thinking "Hey, that
almost sounds like...." over and over again, from the pompous
military drum roll as you select your craft to the typical B-Movie style
mission and intro music.
Most of the sound effects are straight from the arcades. Your craft sounds not unlike a washing machine which, when accelerated, goes into spin mode, while the aliens laser blasts bleep and tweet like R2D2 having a real good moan.
Invasion From Beyond is basically a mission based arcade
shoot-em-up. Controlling your craft is relatively simple with forward and
reverse buttons configured on the face pad and strafe buttons on the
shoulder. Turning and tilting may be activated by using the directional
pad or the left analog stick. There are two further face buttons that fire
weapon and operate the Suck 'O' Matic device. This ingenious device
teleports up, and beams down cargo and humans. You cannot actually leave
the planet, nor will you crash land on the surface, because your aircraft
always remains within a desirable flying zone slightly above the ground.
Initially there are three ships to choose from that differ in strength of shield, speed, handling and cargo space. Further craft are unlocked as you advance through the stages. You begin basic training with the bare minimum of firepower, machine gun and pummel rockets, but these simple pea-shooters gradually reach bombastic proportions.
Rather than risk instant failure the simulation facility is worth checking out. This is used to test your skills against the best recorded alien maneuvers. In effect this is a practice mode.
Before meeting the enemy you must first pass a Basic Training course. This involves performing a few medial tasks such as chasing the wing-tail of a helicopter, collecting balloons and moving objects with your Suck 'O' Matic. Your craft is fitted with a helpful lock-on targeting device. Firing weapons is no different from many other arcade shooters... just tap your finger on the button fast and furiously.
Each level begins with the craft hovering over your base. You may return here as often as you wish to replenish fuel. On the screen is a small radar which is alive with activity. Colored dots represent key buildings, important objects, humans relating to the mission, aliens and enemy craft. Whenever a small radio signal icon begins flashing on the screen there will be an updated message waiting from Earthlink command in your briefing menu. These are your missions and must be followed precisely.
On each level you have three lives to complete the set of missions. These usually begin with clearing the streets of citizens within a given time (usually a couple of minutes) by using the Suck 'O' Matic to teleport the folk on board and then beaming them down into a safe building. Your second task would probably be to collect and place an artillery gunner near the safe haven for defence purposes. So far, so good. Now the action begins.
A message will then come through that the Earth is about to be attacked by alien craft. At this point any strategic gameplay goes right out of the window and reduces it all into a mindless blast-fest. Hundreds of flying saucers, space ships and transport craft descend from the skies. Wave after wave... the attacks just keep coming. Now I wouldn't have minded this so much but skillful flying counts for nothing. Strafe left to avoid an incoming and you will just as likely get a rocket up your backside from another craft attacking from the rear. They are like angry wasps on the rampage and all you can do is keep on running and occasionally turning around to pick off the odd craft until their numbers are reduced to a manageable level. It's just not fun!
Value for Money
Frantic arcade-style 3D shooter action! Fully destructible
backgrounds! Thousands upon thousands of flying Martian adversaries!
Spectacular explosions! A riveting, retro-rich storyline inspired by the
golden age of B-Movie science fiction thrillers!
Value for Money?
a game that looks so cool... what a shame the gameplay doesn't follow
suit. Avoiding incoming is virtually impossible. I suppose if you are
some kind of Dan Dare, or an Arnie Freak, then you may get a few kicks
out of waging a war where the odds are a thousand to one but be
warned... the skill factor is virtually nil.
Furthermore, anyone who actually makes it to the end of game deserves a medal... not the Grand Finale movie which is absolutely abysmal and further proves to me that the game was rushed towards the end.