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Invasion: The Abductors (Arcade)

The reviews on this site are the text versions of the videos on my YouTube channel. The text based reviews use (if at all) very little pictures. Please follow the link to the corresponding video in order to see in game graphics.

Invasion the Abductors was made in 1999 by Play Mechanix and was released by Midway for the arcades. As it is one of those games, which aren't properly emulated using MAME, I played the game and captured the footage using the original arcade PCB.

In the game's story insectivoid aliens attacked earth and infected many cities. They capture women and turn people and animals into hostile zombie like mutants. Earth offers space mercenaries a bounty on freeing them from the aliens. The player slips into the role of a paladin from Pleiades who decides to take the job. The paladin wields a futuristic weapon called the dynamic demon demodulator which is very effective against the invaders. Sadly this gun did not make its way to the arcade cabinet. Supposedly it was too expensive to manufacture. Just a few were produced as a prototype. A pair of them is today at the so called Galloping Ghost Arcade in Brookfield, Illinois. A link to their YouTube channel is in the video description. Instead of the shiny gun the arcade cabinet came with the Colt 1911 like Area 51 light guns which were designed by Atari. Today most Invasion the Abductors cabinets are equipped with so called Happ 45 Cal light guns. These are the direct successor to the original gun, as Midway Amusement was bought by Happ two years after the release of Invasion the Abductors.

The game consists of four chapters. To each chapter a difficulty level is attributed. Three of the chapters can be played in any order, but the final chapter has to be unlocked by completing the other chapters first. The chapters are split up into sectors. In Chicago the player starts off in the town, saves a water tower stops an invasion fleet and then fights a large scorpion like monster. In New York the player starts off hovering through the town, shooting rockets, then fights a worm, continues to battle on the streets and fights a spider like monster. The last section of this chapter takes the player to the metro system. In Los Angeles the player fights the aliens on a highway. The next section takes the player to Santa Monica Pier, where the player eventually goes to an amusement area. The chapter concludes in a boss fight against a large octopus. The final chapter starts in a hangar and then takes the player to were the abducted women and monuments are stored.

After each sector a score screen is displayed. In contrast to other games accuracy isn't directly monitored. A points bonus is granted if the player manages to kill every enemy of a certain type in a given sector. A small amount of bonus points is also yielded by saving civilians and by preventing the aliens from stealing monuments. If the player fails to save a particular monument it will be visible inside the alien mother ship in the last chapter. There are several endings to the game, which increases the replay value a lot. In the good ending the paladin manages to return all stolen monuments and blows up the alien mother ship.

Several pick ups are spread around the game such as health, shields, smart bombs and ammunition for alternative fire modes. These fire modes include a machine gun, rockets and a death ray. The afore mentioned smart bombs could be an unused asset, as I wasn't able to activate these and as I wasn't able to find any reference mentioning them.

The game can be played by up to two players. In the options the difficulty, the amount of health and the degree of violence can be set. Sadly there is no calibration screen, but personally I found the hit detection to be adequate. The contrast of the screen flashing can be increased in software which probably is necessary for most cases as Happ guns are rather light hungry and won't work well with dim screens.

Personally I like the comedic tone of the game very much. Some of the monuments are obviously totally wrecked after being saved from abduction which is very ironic. The gore which can be set to be very much over the top, helps to make this game feel like a B movie. The graphics are very pretty and the music fits the game well. I think it is too bad that the game never received a home conversion, as it doesn't have to hide itself behind the competition. In the recent past some Play Mechanix games were ported to modern systems and I would love to see their whole back catalogue being playable again.

On the arcade flyer a women is shown as she is held captive in a storage vessel on the alien mother ship. The same artwork was used for the cabinet itself.