The Game: As commander of the three-stage fighter rocket Eagle, your job is to ward off endless varieties of evasively weaving space attackers. Every time you knock out two consecutive screens of assailants, you’ll have an opportunity to dock your ship to another one of Eagle’s three stages, until all three portions of the ship are combined to create one bad-ass weapons platform. But you can also lose stages very quickly, ending your game – a bigger ship makes a bigger and easier target. (Centuri [under license from Nichibutsu], 1982)
Memories: Don’t ask me what happened here. I distinctly remember playing both Eagle and Moon Cresta in the arcades and thinking how similar they were. Much later, with the benefit of emulation, I could play both back-to-back and realized what I’d always suspected: they’re the same game!
In Centuri’s Eagle, the player’s three-stage rocket fighter is given a different (and much weirder) shape, and the opening music has been transformed into something which is barely music at all. (And one has to keep in mind – Moon Cresta‘s fanfare wasn’t exactly a timeless classic as it was.)
Though Nichibutsu revived Moon Cresta in the 1990s during that decades surge of interest in arcade classics, Eagle lives on to this day only through emulation. I have no idea why these two games were both unleashed at roughly the same time in the States.