Hello. This will not be an easy (dare I say, it will be boring) lecture to read (mostly due to my writing), but I feel the need to state some (maybe obvious) things and share my thoughts.
1. Chicken Invaders Origins
Chicken Invaders started as a parody to a Space Invaders. Some can say that it was an inspiration, but I personally see it as a parody and there are people that also think this way. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t great. Because it was great. I mean, it was better than space invaders. You had weapon upgrades, you had more waves, you had boss fight, more advanced color palette, better sounds. Just everything better, but the decision to name it “Chicken Invaders” for me is the reason why Chicken Invaders isn’t extremely successful. People will always associate it with space invaders parody clone.
2. Mystery of music, free marketing and people
Chicken Invaders 2 may be the part that had the most impact on whole series. And I’m not talking about new graphics, removing the only horizontal movement or even full campaign with bossess, over 100 waves, 3 weapons, bonus points, cutscenes etc. I’m talking about the demo versions. Let’s make an experiment. How many people have heard of Chicken Invaders through demo released like Fricking everywhere. I’ve had a lot of cd games, many from magazines which were extremely popular and they always had some demo versions of games. And you know what was on most of them? Yes, Chicken Invaders 2 demo (either normal edition or x-mas edition) (also this obsession with CI2 demo was maybe just in Poland idk). So here’s a small poll:
What was your first contact with Chicken Invaders series?
- Chicken Invaders 2 demo (normal or x-mas)
- Chicken Invaders 2 (normal or x-mas)
- Literally anything else
I’ll tell you something really disturbing for me. I personally know few people that aren’t hardcore gamers (they even shouldn’t be described as gamers because some of them don’t even game anything anymore and only played for few minutes) and they heard of Chicken Invaders. One person told me that she remembers it because the demo version was installed on school computers. I even made my mom play Chicken Invaders and she loved it (Yes, she hated Chicken Multiplicity in CI4, she said that it’s “okropnie denerwujące”).
Long story short. Chicken Invaders is recognizable even to people that you don’t expect them to know it.
You know for what I remember CI2 most? (not speaking of sentiment and good memories). The music. Soundtrack ties it all. It’s not the main point of the game, but it’s a way to remember the game. We will speak about it more in CIU section.
Another thing to add before ending this really long section is local co-op. It was really good game to play when you had guests and wanted to have fun. You could steal someone presents, watch each other fails or just be great duo on a mission to kill all the chickens. For me it’s one of the strongest advantages of this series.
3. The part that wouldn’t be released if CI was made by Valve
Chicken Invaders 3 had something that made CI2 look bad and stupid. I’m speaking of cutscenes. Cutscenes that now tie in with a story that is a new addition to this series (you can argue that CI2 also had a story - our hero needs to defeat the chickens but it’s not even a story, more like a requirement to finish the game). The story wasn’t a masterpiece to make it a indie hit, but at the time I played it the cutscenes were funny to me and some of them still are (pizza delivery scene to Yolk is the best). I even used to draw it on my laptop in paint (sorry Davoid, the pictures are on a broken laptop HDD that I didn’t have time and money to recover it from). So yeah, we should remember CI3 because it gave us story for this games and also some great weapons (especially intro sequence with us fighting a chicken with lightning fryer, it showed it as a powerful weapon and you wanted to use it)
4. The villain of the series
This was mainly a good part, because it introduced:
- new worlds (retro world, supernova world, feathers (but steel is heavier) world and Space burger world)
- new things called satellites which I immediately started to hate because they make the game easier and game even rewards you for not using them so I just didn’t care about them.
- rotations of spaceship which would later become a big problem to me as seen here - Control over spaceship rotations
- helping spaceship Hen Solo (which was never ever used again)
However it introduced something vile and evil and horrible. Keys. What the chicken was wrong with CI3 unlocks? Why introduce this grind mechanic to something that many describe as game for casual players? This was the biggest disadvantage of this game, but the worst part is that it made a return in every game to this day.
I also have some memories of it, mostly playing it with my mom and one that involved watching credits and spotting polish name here which I would comment with “Oh look, it’s a polish name. I wonder if there are polish people working on CI5”. This young version of me had literally no clue that he will be a CI5 beta tester. There was also after credits scene that I personally thought was a teaser of 5th part, but it just become a joke scene so yeah, Chicken Invaders is not MCU.
5. The part that started my obsession with Steam
tl;dr I was in beta team and made an account on steam as soon as I heard that you can buy a Chicken Invaders from IA site and get a steam key for free. That was 5 years ago. Time sure flies.
But what exactly did CI5 bring?
- Some new weapons (popcorn gun , machine gun)
- Planet missions (fan-freaking-tastic!). If not for a stupid autoscroll on caverns and just generally slower gameplay it would be my most favourite waves ever added. Still hope that we can see it in CIU (Planetary missions generator)
- spaceship customization. You could make your spaceship well… more yours. It was a big deal. At least for a single player because on local co-op you would still fly the same spaceship.
Overall I really like this game, but there are some less great things to state:
- there were no new satellites added (not that I would use them, but something fresh should come)
- the story is the most stupid thing in the whole series. Like even CI2 had better story without having it
- credits are exceptionally long and boring. It’s just a long star wars autoscroll with every single name on different line. It could easily fit together and it would even make sense because people are under the same category “QA”
- yet more things to buy with keys. Here I noticed something that was available in every game from CI3. As I had bought CI5 from IA site I got access to all editions and to my surprise on Halloween edition I had to start collecting keys from 0 again. Apparently every edition starting from CI3 (because it’s the first game with unlockables mechanic) had it’s own saves and it doesn’t just act as a retextures. Which is something that made me even angry because why would you want to grind on every edition separately. Good way of solving this would be to make a global profile that all editions of the same part can access and a player can continue to collect keys (the most ideal way of solving it would be to get rid of dumb keys).