The Game: A couple of centuries after the attempted Galaga invasion of Earth in 1982, human terraformers have set their sights on a nearby world for colonization, and a massive expedition is launch – but, of course, since such an exploration is a costly venture, defense cutbacks are made, leaving Earth vulnerable to a new Galaga invasion. Of course, you’re the only surviving space fighter pilot in the outer solar system, so it’s up to you to take on the Galaga invaders single-handedly. Now, however, you wage war on the bugs from one of three perspectives: Alpha configuration (an exceedingly difficult first-person vantage point), Gamma configuration (a side-scrolling shooter, a la Defender), and Delta configuration (an upward shooter like the original Galaga). You can also capture the aliens’ tractor beam device and use it against them, capturing their own ships and commandeering them. (Hasbro Interactive [under license from Namco], 2000)
Memories: This game has been much pooh-poohed by the modern gaming press, as well as by several classic gaming outlets. I’m here to break ranks with the masses – who are all too ready to declare that a new title sucks anyway – and let you know that Galaga: Destination Earth isn’t that bad.
With the help of some eye-popping graphics, Galaga has been reinvented as a 3-D shooter which will keep your trigger finger blasting away more than most PC or Playstation titles do. In fact, so much firing is required that Playstation owners are likely to walk away with a bit of hand fatigue. Keep an ice pack handy, and don’t be afraid to put the thing on pause and take a break. Really.
The game starts out with a top-heavy, too-long-by-about-two-minutes animÃ¨ style intro. I’m not sure I’m too cool with Hasbro’s interpretation that the Galaga are actually cybernetically-mutated Earth houseflies who have evolved and developed the technology to travel back in time (even if they could, why would they?), but oh well. Intros can be skipped.
Game play is pretty simple, just the way I like it: no complex chain commands or combo moves to remember. Point the ship at what you want to splash, and fire away.
Admittedly, the first person levels – which take up at least 50% of every stage of game play – are annoying, and it’s hard to line up targets, let alone do the whole tractor beam thing. I wish the player had the option of switching perspectives at will, but oh well.
Some later stages involve dodging force fields and other threats, adding some elements reminiscent of Zaxxon to the new version of Galaga – even the visuals are slightly similar.
Overall, I’m happy to sit and blast away like mad at the aliens in the new version of Galaga, and I love the combination of elements from the original game and its sequel Gaplus. The biggest problem is whether or not you’ve got a decent joystick controller. Like Star Trek: Invasion, this is a game which screams out for a full-sized pro flight stick with killer precision and a rapid fire button.
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