The Game: Commanding a small fleet of sleek fighter ships, you’re up against an alien invasion, arriving in wave after unfriendly wave. Alien fighters resemble butterflies and bees, but the real prize is the handful of motherships which arrives with each wave. Capable of taking two hits – the first weakens them and turns them dark blue, the second destroys them – the motherships also come equipped with a tractor beam with which to snare your fighters. But if one of your fighters is captured, and you can destroy the mothership which is towing it, your wayward fighter will be returned, doubling your firepower. (Namco, 1987)
Memories: Where the Galaga sequel Gaplus turned some elements of the game play around, Galaga ’88 returns to the original rules and adds a lot of visual flair.
The colorful and detailed backgrounds form the setting for what is essentially the same game as the original Galaga. And, in a real sign of the times, there are some NES-era touches to Galaga ’88 as well – the player’s ship warps from one parsec to the next, and there is clearly a progression though various levels of distinct stages, evoking memories of “World 1-1” in Super Mario Bros. Another sign of the times comes in the form of the animÃ¨-ish alien characters which appear from time to time. This clearly wasn’t the original Galaga by a long shot.
Galaga ’88 was revamped into Galaga ’90 for NEC’s TurboGrafx 16 system, and I believe it was also translated for the Amiga. (How’s that for an esoteric batch of platforms?)