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Xbox Live Arcade Review: Galaga

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Video games move fast. By 1981, Space Invaders was obsolete, replaced by the faster, intense action of Namco's Galaga. Far better than its predecessor Galaxian, this classic shooter has found a home on the Xbox Live Marketplace. Given how many times the game has been included on Namco's compilations, it's a little hard to call $5 a fair price (when those discs have 10 or so games for $20), especially without any extras.

As an emulated port, there is nothing wrong with this version. Namco has their emulation down to a fine art at this point. With a classic set of aliens, certainly more identifiable than Space Invaders alien marauders, and simple game play, Galaga is an all out winner.

This version maintains everything needed for the intensity of this shooter. Only able to move left or right, players are trapped in a cycle of never-ending fire from a formation of attacking critters. Their predictable patterns may seem archaic at first glance, but familiarity actually causes more tension. As you try and process which way one enemy is bombarding you, you'll need to quickly think where the one behind him will end up.

Their masses of firepower add an additional layer of difficulty, while the game's unique mechanic of letting your ship get captured to power-up is the only hope the players have in later levels. It's a shame you'll be doing all of this alone, since there are no multi-player modes to speak of. While the original only offered alternating play, a side-by-side mode over Xbox Live simply seems logical. Konami did it with Frogger, and Galaga desperately needs something extra.

Long-term challenge only exists for high score fanatics. The achievements can be fully earned in a few hours, and the ability to start on any level (after you make it that far) diminishes the replay drastically. It doesn't take away from the classic feel of the game which is entirely intact. We've been spoiled and the expectations are higher.

If you're like a lot of console-owning gamers, Galaga is probably on your shelf somewhere. Actually, it's there multiple times most likely. The $5 is a fair price compared to other Live Arcade games, but not the countless Namco compilations. It needed some form of extras to justify the price.

Galaga is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB. This game can also be found on: Everything you own that plugs into a wall.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.
  • http://www.breakingwindows.com/ Ken Edwards

    The only thing that really bothers me about the game is how slow it is. Not the actual game itself, but trudging through the menus is absolute hell. This was accepted in an arcade cab, but not now that we have a Start button on our controller.

    Starting a game takes forever, and restarting a game after you die takes even longer.

    You do not see this in Frogger. It is annoying when we are used to instantly loading games on the XBLA, it does not matter if this is an arcade port or not. They have already modified it for the 360, they could have addressed the in-game menus as well.

  • chaniciagh

    i think that this website sucks. i mean what are you suppossed to do here i mean yalll really need to get a life and move on i mean most of you are like 50 year olds. Gross… PLEASE GO GET A JOB AND A WIFE HUSBAND what ever you dig. and grow up and get a life. geeez luis.

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Matt Paprocki

    And yet you took the time out of your apparently perfect life ripping on people who enjoy something you don’t. I love the internet.