Aqua Invasion, by Crystal Paradigm
Review by James McGovern
Did You Hear Something?
Ever since the original invasion of Space Invaders in 1978, the good planet Earth has been plagued by the monotonous heartbeat of the approaching horde and the inevitable “Game Over” signaling yet another defeat for humankind. In the years soon after the first sightings, many more waves approached our vulnerable planet and conquered us repeatedly, leaving empty pockets and arthritic digits in their wake.
After a few years of relative peace, we became complacent while they planned. They knew that soon our nostalgic tendencies would cause us to forget the pain of defeat and look once again to the heavens in search of the pixilated intruders. We were looking in the wrong direction.
To the Hydrofoil!
Deep beneath the sea, the undulating crustaceans of the newly arrived Aqua Invasion descend menacingly toward the lost city of Atlantis and you are its only defender. A Jaws-like heartbeat drones in the background as the aquatic vertebrates descend, reverse direction, and attack.
Considering the prolificacy of the Space Invaders franchise, I doubt there are many on earth that will not recognize the familiar gameplay and objective in Aqua Invasion. Though the graphics depict an underwater invasion, there is nothing new here, but then again, this is not the point.
Can “Retro” be New?
The folks at Crystal Paradigm Software are intent on creating new games with a retro influence based on the coin-operated titles of days gone by. Aqua Invasion is the first title in what I am told is a coming slew of new retro-inspired games. Though Aqua Invasion is an obvious Space Invaders clone, new titles will be, “…completely new retro-style arcade games.” I am also told that they have a universal game controller in the works that is intended to work with all future releases.
Just Like Old Times
One thing I found refreshing about Aqua Invasion is the attract modes. The various antagonists cycle around the current high scores in one mode, credits scroll in another, then the game goes into auto-play to display the action. While most if not all new games use the console inspired menu systems, Aqua Invasion prefers to pay homage to the coin operated arcade games by utilizing the attract modes of days gone by.
One downside of the game is that you are unable to remap the controls. If you are playing the game with a keyboard, this will not be an issue, but it may cause problems if you load it up on your arcade cabinet. The folks at Crystal Paradigm tell me this will be a feature in future releases.
Don’t Let Your Guard Down
Aqua Invasion is a well done, if simple game that honors the games on which it is based. At $5 a copy with free shipping in the U.S. the price is right considering you might pay $30 or more for Space Invaders as released for the GameBoy Advance. While my days of spending hours playing Space Invaders or subsequent clones are long gone, if you are a fan of the genre this offering is right up your alley. It is also important that the effort of these folks in creating new retro-titles be recognized. It is a worthy effort that deserves support. I am excited to see what is coming next and will be sure to keep my eyes peeled not only on the stars, but on the oceans as well.
Product Name: Aqua Invasion
Developer: Crystal Paradigm
Release Date: August 27, 2004
Genre(s): Retro Space Invaders Arcade Tribute
Price: $5 per copy. This price includes free shipping, a license to use the game on only one computer at a time
Controller Notes: Two button side to side + fire button
How to Buy: Currently accepting both mail orders and telephone orders at Crystal Paradigm's address and telephone number:
Crystal Paradigm 25255 Main Rd. Cutchogue , NY 11935 Phone: (631) 384-3793.
I am only accepting US orders, excluding New York temporarily, however.
Support Notes: e-mail (trlr28optonline.net) or phone for technical support.