Galaga

Review

posted 8/8/2006 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
Platforms: 360
If there’s one old school game that I really had fun with it’s Galaga. This old school Space Invaders like game doesn’t offer anything complex but the beauty is in its simplicity and addictive nature for me. Now with Xbox Live Arcade, a new generation can experience this game and what Namco done is offer an authentic recreation of the coin-op game.

In Galaga, you control a ship at the bottom of the screen that fires and scrolls left and right. Three different aliens at the upper half of the screen will try and destroy you either by crashing into you or shooting at you with its missiles. Before each level starts, a group of aliens in the shapes of bugs in waves of five will fly from off the screen in some formation. You’ll have the opportunity to take out a few before they fall into place at the top of the screen. After the five waves have passed through, the remaining enemies will start dropping down attacking you. They’ll fire missiles as they drop down and once they past you at the bottom of the screen they’ll re-appear at the top to try again. The game play is very simple as they were back in 1981 but I found the game to be very fun in this day and age.

The controls are simplistic as you can only go left and right and fire. There is an inclusion of an auto-fire button that fires two missiles at a time. I did find the auto-fire to be unreliable as I like more control on when I fire each missile. Still the option is there for you to use if it suits you well.

The top most aliens have the ability to capture your ship. You can sacrifice one of your lives this way and if you shoot the alien as it comes down again with your ship in tow, you’ll be able to pair the two ships for double the firepower. You’ll have to be careful though as you can shoot your ship instead or shoot the alien before it drops down causing you to lose the ship permanently. Doubling your firepower this way is the best way to ensure success in a level but not the only way. It’s up to you to decide if it’s worth sacrificing a ship. Should you be on your last life and get sucked in by the tractor beam, you’ll have a small window to try and take out the capturing alien in order to save your life.

To get more points, some aliens will morph into another type in groups of three. If you take them all out you get a certain number of bonus points. You’ll have a small opportunity to take out the morphed aliens as once they get back you past the screen they disappear for the level.

Every few levels will afford you to participate in a challenge stage. In this stage, you won’t be in any danger and your objective is to try and destroy the 40 aliens that fly by. The stages offer different flight patterns and this is where your double ship configuration really helps. If you destroy all 40, you’ll get a nice little bonus as well.

As with most games back then, you’ll be able to pickup extra ships at certain point levels. This is the reason that the challenge stages are important as they’re easy points and you can easily build up extra ships if you are able to finish all of them off to earn that bonus.

Unlike the original game, you’ll be able to continue from where you die. In the original, when you die your only option is to start from the first level and try to work your way up again. For achievements that have you reaching a certain level, this should help out a lot and the level of frustration is lessened a bit.

The look of the game is exactly like how it was back in 1981. There weren’t any changes or improvements on its port to the Xbox 360 unlike Frogger. This isn’t too bad in my opinion as I love the classic look of the game. There’s an option to adjust the screen size and position but the majority of the screen is taken up by the Galaga background with a small portion of the center being the main game screen. I would’ve liked to have seen a screen flip option for those that are playing on a rotate-able monitor but sadly that option is missing.

There is one change from the arcade game as the cheat whereby enemy fighters stop firing has been removed from the game. This is a good thing as the cheat would’ve enabled leaderboards to be rendered useless. If you would like to know about the cheat, you can read it here.

There aren’t any new features and limited options however. There is the usual leaderboard and some easy achievements but other than that, the game is pretty much the same as the classic arcade product. For 400 points, it’s not a bad pickup for Galaga fans. Old gamers will like the nostalgic feel to the game. The simple and repetitive nature might turn off others but I, for one, found it to be a nice port and true to the classic. I just wished there were some more options available for the game.


C-
It's certainly a true arcade port of the arcade game with the same graphics and gameplay. There aren't many new options however.


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