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Originally posted at: http://www.redringcircus.com/2010/07/crossfire-indie-game-spotlight-xbox-360.html
Indie Game Spotlight
Space Invaders isn't exactly a new concept, especially with two re-imaginings (Space Invaders Extreme and Space Invaders Infinity Gene) released in the last two years. A copycat should surely crowd the market, but Crossfire's take on the formula is a fresh twist that gives even the official versions a run for their money.
The hook of Crossfire is your ship's ability to jump between the bottom and top of the screen. The move allows you to dodge fire, collect power-ups, and get behind enemies. The effect is disorienting at first, and with enemies that aren't afraid to shoot back, the challenge becomes visualizing all the madness.
The actual shooting is reminiscent of more modern 2D space shooters. Armed with a bullet-hose, you'll have to dodge and weave between some devious bullet patterns. It can get pretty hectic, but with the ability to leap from floor to ceiling many dangers can be avoided by playing intelligently.
The game offers a steady difficulty ramp while still providing enough challenge for dedicated players. It does a great job of introducing each new enemy and then slowly working in combinations. The final level's enemy pattern is a nearly impenetrable wall of death.
The game provides you with three lives to start, but you can continue at the beginning of a level as many times as you want. Crossfire's 50 levels can be completed in 20-30 minutes or so, and even less with a second player helping. Even so, a few extra modes spice things up, and ultimately these kinds of games are about perfecting a run and getting a high score.
Crossfire's level progression, controls, enemy patterns, and overall feel are expertly crafted for high score runs. You'll always have that sense of improvement, eventually breezing through early levels and catching onto patterns in the trickier ones. It's for that reason that the game's biggest flaw is such a detriment to the experience – Crossfire has absolutely no online leaderboards.
If you can get past that, it's a surprisingly polished indie game that shouldn't be missed.