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Video Game / Space Invaders Infinity Gene

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"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change."

Space Invaders Infinity Gene is a Bullet Hell spin-off of Space Invaders, released in 2009 for Android and iPhone, then in 2010 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles as a digital download.

As the name suggests, Infinity Gene centers around the game evolving as you play, beginning as "Space Invaders with some minor embellishment" and progressively becoming "fast-paced modern Shoot 'Em Up that resembles Space Invaders only vaguely." New weapons are unlocked over the course of the game, as well, designed to tear through hundreds of invaders at once. Infinity Gene introduces a variety of new mechanics, such as a power-up system and free movement across the screen. To match, the invaders are now equipped with swarms of new enemies and armadas of ships to take you on.


  • Art Shift: The game's appearance is modified between stages, starting out with a simple gradient background and sprite and ending up with full 3D models and environments.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Many bosses have segments that, when destroyed, deal a significant amount of damage or force it to move to its next phase. However, shooting weak points is rarely required and the boss can simply be killed by brute force. Using the Classic weapon can result in very odd interactions, depending on where you shoot.
  • Auto-Scrolling Level: Frequently throughout the game from Section 3 onwards, along with the battles against the Gigantic UFO and the Ultimate UFO.
  • Battleship Raid: The Gigantic UFO and Ultimate UFO are both fought in this manner, with the latter having an entire level devoted to fighting it.
  • Book Ends: The first seconds of gameplay of consist of a recreation of the original Space Invaders, before launching you into the first proper stage. After defeating the Final Boss, the final seconds of gameplay consist of going back to that same recreation, though this time you're trying to shoot down the last alien before it touches down.
  • Boss-Only Level: A few; 1-6 is the earliest and features the very first boss in the game.
  • Boss Rush: Several; 3-5 has you fight many bosses displayed up to that point, with 5-5 displaying bosses from both the 2D and 3D sections of the game. X-29, a bonus stage, is similar to 3-5, but all the bosses are much harder.
  • Broken Record: Nameless' theme plays the same high-pitched synth riff from the title screen nonstop, interspersed with bits of music that had played in previous levels.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: Some bonus levels are incredibly challenging, such as X-29, a much more difficult version of 3-5.
  • Bullet Hell: The very core of Infinity Gene, getting exponentially worse on higher difficulty settings.
  • Company Cross References: The Boss Warning Siren for major bosses reads "WARNING — A FORMIDABLE ENEMY (name of boss) HAS ENTERED THE BATTLE." It is very similar to Taito's Darius series' boss warning: "WARNING — A HUGE BATTLESIHP (name of boss) IS APPROACHING FAST." The reference is more explicit in the Japanese version, where "HUGE" is used in place of "FORMIDABLE".
  • Continuing is Painful: Downplayed. Dying will result in you losing all the power-ups you collected and scattering them about, with little time to collect them all before your temporary invincibility wears off. However, power-up UFOs tend to spawn frequently outside of boss fights, so you won't be underpowered for very long.
  • Cosmetic Award: There is no reason to clear any of the bonus levels; all it does it turn that level's square blue, signifying completion.
  • Collision Damage: Once you unlock the ability to move up and down, this very quickly becomes a major issue as some enemies are fast-moving and come from the sides of the screen, or even from below.
  • Dare to Be Badass: Making contact with an enemy bullet within a second of it being shot results in a Nagoya Attack, which will reward you with a ton of points.
  • Deadly Walls: Used in some levels from section 3 onward, and some bonus levels. Colliding with them will destroy your ship.
  • Degraded Boss: Many bosses, once defeated for the first time, will return as common enemies, albeit with less health and alongside other enemies which can even be copies of themselves.
  • Denial of Diagonal Attack: Played with, per the "evolution" aspect. At first you're completely incapable of shooting diagonally or directly behind yourself, but many unlockable weapons avert this in various ways, to the point where there are two weapons capable of firing in all directions.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The Variable weapon, which equips the ship with a set of four beam swords that tear through anything they touch. Although it can be very awkward to aim and requires you to get close to your enemies to use effectively, they can tear through even bosses in seconds when used right and will usually set you up to do Nagoya Attacks.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Unknown, at least in the console version, where it signifies the game's 3D shift. In the mobile version, it's the actual final boss.
  • Downloadable Content: Additional level packs can be bought for both the console and mobile versions.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Downplayed. Aside from fewer opportunities to score points, completing the game on Easy replaces the final message with "Why not try the game on Normal?"
    • Playing on Easy or setting your number of additional ships to anything higher than 3 will also disable your score for the stage being saved, though you can still unlock content as normal.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Unknown, the boss of 3-6, flashes rapidly between forms unlike any other enemy in the game.
  • Epileptic Flashing Lights: Many enemies will die in flashing explosions. Combined with how many enemies can come onto screen at once, there are times where the screen will be filled with strobing lights. The opening message when entering the first stage qualifies as well.
  • Evolving Weapon: Every weapon you can use gets stronger as you collect power-ups from defeated UFOs, which can increase range, fire rate, damage, bullet speed and more depending on the weapon you chose. Dying at any time will reset your weapon to its default state and scatter your held power-ups. Not so much with the Classic weapon, which does not upgrade in any sense no matter how many power-ups you happen to collect.
  • Final Boss: Unknown in the mobile versions, Nameless in the console versions.
  • Flunky Boss: Quite common when bosses are encountered in bonus stages. Some bosses can have other bosses appear alongside them in the campaign, such as the Gigantic UFO, which summons the Satoru UFO midway through the fight.
  • Hard Mode Perks: Playing on Insane or higher will cause enemies to shoot bullets at you upon death, which can be used to score a lot of Nagoya Attacks very quickly.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Nameless's theme, Unconscious, will occasionally have loud static. It also makes an absolutely horrible cacophony of sounds and bits of songs from earlier in the game upon being defeated.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: A shot from the Gravity weapon will pull in nearby enemies; hopefully you're not between them and the black hole, lest you suffer a particularly stupid death.
    • This is how Nameless is defeated; you need to shoot the lasers it fires, which will become projectiles and turn around to hit it.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Challenge Mode in the console versions gives you randomly generated levels the gradually increase in length and difficulty as you clear them. You can always win, but sometimes enemies will blindside you out of nowhere unless you're at the bottom of the screen. Bosses are randomized as well; you could fight one that takes a few seconds to beat, or you could get something such as the Gigantic UFO, which consists of nearly a minute of just looking at it in the background, a minute or so of avoiding some simple shots, and finally the actual fight against the UFO itself.
  • "Instant Death" Radius: The Field weapon, at least when faced with swarms of weaker enemies. Bosses are much more resilient, however.
  • Lethal Joke Character: The Classic weapon, which has your ship retain the basic sprite appearance even in the 3D stages. It can only have one shot on the screen at once. On the other hand, that shot can One-Hit Kill anything - even multi-stage bosses, or bosses that usually require several weak points to be destroyed. Moreover, the single bullet can be fired as soon as the last one is destroyed, meaning you can tear through crowds of huge enemies. It even causes time to briefly pause upon every successful hit.
  • More Dakka: All the weapons you unlock are designed to tear through hundreds of invaders in rapid succession; even the starting weapon is no slouch. Collecting power-ups increases the levels of dakka even further.
  • Mercy Invincibility: You have a few seconds of invulnerability after your ship is shot down, which is usually enough time to collect most of your dropped power-ups, if not all of them.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Winning on any difficulty higher than Easy will get you the message, "To everyone who loves games. And Charles Darwin."
  • Mythology Gag: The power-up items are the Newalone particles taken directly from Metal Black, an obscure Taito shooter that has more in common with Darius than Space Invaders.
    • A more direct call back to Darius comes in the form of Boss Warning Siren in the familiar form, "WARNING - A FORMIDABLE ENEMY '[Boss Name]' HAS ENTERED THE BATTLE."
    • Selecting the Lock-On weapon will result in your ship bearing a suspicious resemblance, both in performance and shape, to the R-Gray from the Layer Section/Ray series of shoot-em-ups.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Stage 2-1 has a lot of enemies capable of shooting horizontally - usually right when they're in line with your ship. When you play it for the first time, you can neither shoot to your side nor get out of the way of the bullets, making the stage Unwinnable by Design. However, you're given the ability to move up directly after your game-over, and are given a weapon capable of shooting to the side not long afterward.
    • This holds true for the rest of the first playthrough, where you will often unlock options that will help you overcome otherwise brutal challenges. Massive evolution point requirement? Go play that Bonus Level you just unlocked! Need to shoot something that's behind you when fighting the Gigantic UFO? Evolve the Lock-On weapon!
  • Nintendo Hard: Any difficulty above Normal qualifies, especially Nightmare. The screen will usually be filled with bullets, enemies are numerous, and you have to do it all with a handful of lives of which the only way to restock them being through getting a Game Over restarting the stage from the beginning. And this is to say nothing of some incredibly challenging stages, Challenge Mode, and the numerous bosses. To top it all off, your ship can only take one hit. Good luck!
  • Nothing Is Scarier: There is near zero going on in 5-6; a black void with a few rows of gates that restrict your ship to the center of the screen, slowly approaching the final boss with an echoing siren in the background.
  • Nostalgia Level: The very beginning, which has you playing a normal round of Space Invaders with no score or lives. After shooting a few down, the game begins.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: There's not a hint of story to speak of, not even vaguely. Just shoot down swarms of increasingly powerful invaders and try not to get shot yourself.
  • One Bullet at a Time: As you might expect, you can only have a single bullet on screen at once at the very beginning, though this is very quickly subverted once you get control of a proper ship. This comes back in the finale where you have to shoot the last invader, and can be thrust upon yourself by picking the Classic ship.
  • One-Hit Kill: The Classic Weapon. Despite being only One Bullet at a Time, that one bullet will one-shot almost anything it hits, including most bosses.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Your ship can only take a single hit. Fortunately, it's quite small and can weave between bullets with ease given enough practice.
  • Pinball Scoring: Getting through a handful of stages can leave you with hundreds upon millions of points, especially if you execute many Nagoya Attacks successfully.
  • Post-Final Boss: After defeating Nameless, the game reverts to its original state and you're tasked with shooting the very last invader. Kill it or not, the game cuts to the credits after one of you perishes.
  • Secret Level: Many can be unlocked throughout the game with unique mechanics.
  • Sensory Abuse: The message that displays upon beginning 1-1 is accompanied by loud static. The final boss does something very similar upon its defeat.
  • Sequential Boss: Lots of them throughout, usually fought at the end of sections. Unknown is a particularly strong example of this, changing its patterns and attack methods three times throughout its fight.
  • Segmented Serpent: Centipede. Its head is equipped with a gun which shoots lasers at you. When a segment is destroyed, the boss will split into individual serpents; each with guns on their heads. Destroying a head will cause all pieces to scatter and reform into one serpent again. Once enough segments are destroyed, the boss stops reforming, and the remaining segments start chasing you, all with guns.
  • Shout-Out: Quite a few of these are present throughout, especially those referring to other Taito titles.
    • One of the minor bosses extends a pixel-width tendril that makes a few random turns and develops a gunpod at the end; you fight it by shooting the gunpod, forcing it to retract along the tendril until it collides with the main ship. In a sense, the fight is against the tendril. The boss is named Jolyne.
    • The "Option" weapon is a direct reference to the Options from Gradius: they even move in the same way!
    • The iOS version of Infinity Gene has Downloadable Content featuring Silver Hawk from Darius, Inter Gray from Night Striker, Black Fly from Metal Black, and the R-Gray2 from RayStorm.
  • Spread Shot: The Search weapon, which fires a wave ahead of you that grows in size and tears apart anything in its path.
  • Sound Test: Available as an unlockable and can be expanded to listen to more songs and in-game sound effects by collecting DNA.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix: Even as the game becomes completely 3D, UFOs that drop power-ups always remain 2D. Some enemies remain 2D as well.
  • Theme Naming: Stages are named using a great variety of scientific terms related to the study of life and organisms, usually pertaining to what the stage is about.
  • Upgraded Boss: Whenever a boss from the campaign appears in a bonus stage, there's a great likelihood that it will have more health, more aggressive attack patterns and/or appear alongside other enemies that weren't originally there. Stage X-29 is a particularly good example, being a much harder version of Stage 3-5, a boss rush featuring every major boss from sections 2 and 3 up to that point.
  • Unlockable Content: Collecting DNA throughout levels will trigger evolutions, which can unlock things such as bonus levels, new weapons, songs and sound effects to be played in the sound test.
  • Unlockable Difficulty Levels: Hard can be unlocked by clearing the campaign for the first time, Insane can be unlocked by completing enough bonus stages, and Nightmare can be unlocked by completing Challenge Mode.
  • Unrealistic Black Hole: The Gravity weapon fires these, which pull in smaller enemies and some projectiles.
  • Unwinnable by Design: Done for narrative purposes in 2-1, where you're put against enemies that can shoot sideways, leaving you unable to dodge their bullets.
  • Video-Game Lives: Usually, you're given exactly three lives and cannot get any more without getting a Game Over, in which case they'll be restocked. Over time, you'll unlock the ability to set your lives counter higher, but doing so means your score for the stage will not be saved.
  • Video Game 3D Leap: Presentation Upgrade example, as a game mechanic. Sections 4 and 5 take place in 3D environments, with your ship and many enemies changing their appearances to match. Some bosses take advantage of the third dimension as well, with Crab walking along the ground and occasionally jumping, Water Strider sliding across a tube to leave dangerous trails, and Vertebrate being a massive tower that must be destroyed one segment at a time.
  • Wolfpack Boss: The Progressive UFO, a collection of five different enemies that form the shape of a classic UFO, with unique attack patterns. Defeating the central cannon ends the fight instantly.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: One of the very first things you unlock is the ability to move your ship up and down the screen, and many weapons bless you with the ability to shoot to your side or behind you.