Times have changed over the past 30 years. TV has gotten better, the cost of fuel has increased substantially and Wagon Wheels have definitely gotten smaller (a joke that only my UK friends will get). One thing that has certainly changed is Galaga.
Back when it was launched in 1981, Galaga was cash-in on the success of Space Invaders. It looked and played better than the game it was based on and it wasn’t long before every arcade had a Galaga cabinet. Throughout the years, Galaga has remained a part of gaming culture. It has spawned several ports and sequels and has appeared on every console. There is a very good chance that everyone who reads this will have played Galaga in some form or another.
This latest outing for Galaga is a little different and has been developed by the same people who made Pac-Man Championship Edition DX, so you can imagine what is in store for you.
It is similar in style to Pacman CEDX in almost every way, but being a completely different game, this is no bad thing. Some of the things that made Pacman CEDX so great have found their way in to Galaga Legions DX; things like the amazing visuals and funky music, the way that the action slows down as you get to close to an enemy and the intense and exciting action. Even with those similarities, Galaga stands out on its own merits. As with Pac-Man, you can choose from 6 different visual styles which includes a homage to the original look and a brand new design. All 6 look stunning and will melt your eyeballs if you stare at them too long!
The premise is simple; there are 9 areas to clear and each area is comprised of 5 sections. Each section has a time limit. Survive long enough and you’ll clear the section. However, things are not as simple as they sound. Galaga now plays as a twin-stick shooter; the enemies come at you from all angles, giving you a slight warning before they appear. Luckily, your starfighter can now navigate the whole of the screen, using the left stick to move and the right stick to direct your fire. Satellites, which give you straight and diagnol modes of fire, also flank your starfighter. This can be swapped over at the click of a bumper and will help you clear out some of the more tricky enemy waves.
In order to gain those big scores, you will need to clear the waves as quickly as possible. This is made easier by the fact that most waves will include several exploding enemies. If you shoot them at the right time, they will clear the whole wave in one go. In some cases, I was clearing waves in about 1 or 2 seconds. It gives you a sense of fast progression and excitement. You will also be given a chance to increase your fire power before the final section, by harvesting Galagas, and using them as satellites. This only happens once per area, but gives you a massive boost when used.
The games biggest drawback is the amount of levels on offer. There are just 9 areas to clear, plus a tutorial mode and a Time Trial mode. It doesn’t seem like a massive amount of content, especially seeing as you can clear an area in about 5-10 minutes. There is, of course, the online leaderboard, which will rank your performance against the world and your friends. This may keep you coming back, so you don’t let your rankings slip.
Also, with it now being a twin-stick shooter, your thumbs may become tired after a while, but this isn’t that much of a problem. You can always take a break. Other than that, the controls work a treat; simple but effective.
Another thing to be on the look out for is the Championship Score Attack Tournament. Namco Bandai will be setting up this event to celebrate the game’s 30th anniversary; so, if you fancy entering, you best start practicing.
There may not be a huge amount of content on offer here, but what’s there is simply amazing. From the intense action to the striking visual, Galaga Legions DX doesn’t sit in the shadow of Pacman CEDX, it stands tall along side it. Galaga may be 30 years old, but this old girl certainly isn’t showing her age!
Review copy provided by publisher.