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.Powered by Sidelines