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Joystiq presents

Space Invaders Extreme: DS vs. PSP

Space Invaders Extreme has been out in the U.S. and Europe for about a month now, so if you haven't bought this gem yet (and according to certain chartz, most of you haven't), we can only assume it's because you're still deciding which version to pick up.

As you probably know, the game released for both the DS and the PSP. One of the reasons that certain bloggers (namely, this one) were so excited for the U.S. release of Space Invaders Extreme in the first place was because its downloadable demo for the PSP was nothing short of awesome. You can imagine, then, how torn we were when it came to choosing between the DS and PSP versions of the game. We only figured that some of our readers were going through the same dilemma, and thus we ended up trying out both just so that you don't have to.

If you want to see how Space Invaders Extreme DS and PSP stack up against each other, just click on past the break for a pretty chart and in-depth category breakdowns.

Space Invaders
Extreme (DS)
Space Invaders Extreme (PSP)
Price $19.99 $19.99
Is superior in...

Sound Quality
Music Yes
Sound Effects
Difficulty No Yes
Controls Tie (under default conditions) Tie
Multiplayer Yes No
Menu Navigation Yes No
Is compatible with...

Paddle controller
Yes No

Local multiplayer
Yes (single cart)
Yes (two games needed)
Online multiplayer
Online leaderboards
Yes No

Winner: Tie
Both versions retail for $19.99, so the DS doesn't get the edge as far as pricing goes (like you might have imagined). If you plan to import a paddle controller, the PSP version looks especially cheap. On the other hand, at least the DS has a paddle import option.

Winner: PSP
As if there was any doubt, the PSP takes the cake in visuals. While the style of Space Invaders Extreme allows for the DS version to hold its own, the game looks absolutely stunning on the PSP. (Seriously, it's gorgeous.) The dual-screened DS can have its advantages at times, though, like during boss battles.

Note: Some people seem to think that the animated backgrounds in the PSP version are too distracting and need to be turned off, but we didn't find them to be a problem.

Winner: PSP
Once again, PSP hardware is just superior to that of the DS in certain areas, such as sound quality.

Music and Sound Effects
Winner: DS
Wait, what? The DS took an audio category??? Well, yes. While it's true that the audio (naturally) sounds better on the PSP system, the music on the DS title is better suited for the game. That's not to say that the PSP's Space Invaders Extreme soundtrack isn't cool, because it is (especially if you like electronic beats). Yet, the PSP's tracks can often be distracting (i.e., they're too techno), and they don't flow as well with the game's awesome sound effects. The music in the DS version, on the other hand, simply sounds much more natural. The sound effects are also more varied on the DS version, which is a definite plus.

Winner: PSP
Consider the PSP the winner of this category if you prefer your games to be as hard as possible. There's no doubt that the PSP version of the game is the more difficult one. Since the screen is bigger, Taito didn't mind having spaceships or other obstacles appear at you near your cannon. Obviously, the closer an enemy is to you, the harder it is to kill them and avoid their fire. Boss battles on the PSP can also be harder since the bosses are closer to you, as opposed to on the DS where boss battles utilize the handheld's two screens. The DS version is certainly challenging enough as it is, though, so unless you're a Space Invaders pro, you'll probably be satisfied either way.

Winner: Tie/DS
It's a little misleading to call the DS a winner here because in their default states, both versions tie. On both the PSP and DS, you need to use the D-pad to move around your cannon. (On the PSP you also have the option of using the analog stick, but that's even more uncomfortable.) The reason we gave this category to the DS, though, is because of potential. While importing a paddle controller will cost you an extra $25 or so, using it will give you the ultimate control scheme for Space Invaders Extreme.

Winner: DS
If multiplayer is a selling point for you, then definitely stick with the DS version. Both systems offer a wireless multiplayer mode for Space Invaders Extreme, but only the DS version allows you to face others through wi-fi. Since it has an online mode, you can also utilize leaderboards in the DS Extreme (via Ranking Mode). To put the final nail in the multiplayer coffin, the PSP ad-hoc multiplayer requires two copies of the game, whereas the DS wireless can be played with a single cart.

Winner: DS
Considering other features (like rumble, for example), the DS takes the "extra perks" category. There are also random extras on the DS version, such as Mr. ESC (from Exit) dashing through the screen whenever you pick the "Exit" option. Finally, the menus are much easier to navigate on dual screens than on the PSP.

Winner: DS
You certainly can't go wrong by picking up the PSP version of Space Invaders Extreme, especially since it's just so damn pretty. At the end of the day, though, it's the DS's Extreme that has more worthwhile goodies. Even if you couldn't care less about online multiplayer and leaderboards (although we're guessing that you do care), the superior music and sound effect combinations on the DS make it all the better. Then, if you plan to import the DS's paddle controller, there's really no contest as to which is the better version of the game.

Has this comparison gotten you interested in the DS version of Space Invaders Extreme? If so, you can read our full review of the game right here. Those of you who love all things Space Invaders should also check out these really cool items.

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