November 8, 2006

As a kid I played a lot of [i]Galaga[/i] on my NES. It was one of those games that my dad brought home for “us” to play so that he could spend copious amounts of time hogging the Nintendo. I have a lot of fond memories playing that game with my brother so I figured I would give it a shot once it hit the Live Arcade.

If you aren’t familiar with [i]Galaga[/i], it is the sequal to [i]Galaxian[/i] and was made popular way back in the 80s when arcades ruled the land. You control a spaceship that has a fixed side to side movement while swarms of insect like aliens fly in formation above you and occasionally fly down and dive bomb you while dropping missiles. Eliminating all of the aliens takes you to the next level. Every couple of levels you enter a bonus round called the “Challenging Stage”. In these stages, the enemies don’t attack and your goal is to kill them all before they leave the screen. Doing so will net you a 10,000 point bonus. This feat is considerably easier with dual fighters. You continue on level after level into eternity or until you die. Levels do get progressively harder with more missiles falling as the insects fly onscreen into their formation and things definitely get faster in later levels.

I’ll be the first to admit that despite the enjoyment I get from [i]Galaga[/i], I am not very good at the game and thus I can’t tell you how many levels there are in this version, but based on information from previous versions of the game, I believe there to be about 255 levels. In previous versions, dying sent you back to stage 1, but in this port you can start fresh from the highest level you have previously reached. This effectively allows you to eventually play all the way through the game without being excellent at it. This definitely helps some of us out that are not so good.

The gameplay is very simple and made, from what I can tell, a perfect translation to the 360. The sprite graphics and the sounds are all pulled straight from the old version of the game and are sure to kick in some nostalgic feelings for some of you old timers.

[i]Galaga[/i] is currently going for 400 MS points ($5) on the Live Marketplace which is a great price for such a fun game, even if it is old. Fans of [i]Galaga[/i] are sure to feel right at home and should definitely add this to their library. People not familiar with the [i]Galaga[/i] titles of the past may want to give the demo a play-through to see how they like it. [i]Galaga[/i] is fun, but there are a lot of games jockeying for your attention and a game that hasn’t seen a major revision in 20 years may not be what our younger generations are looking for. Then again, I’ve been wrong before.

Score: 2/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.