Review by KasketDarkfyre

Reviewed: 11/26/01 | Updated: 11/26/01

Oooo...look at the pretty stars....

Overhead shooters that are ported over from an arcade classic are usually hard to recreate and on a system as limited as the NES was, it could have turned out worse than it actually did. Putting you in control of a fighter ship, you have to take out as many enemy ships, or rather bugs, as you can before they gang up and take you out! The game is strictly a shooter that has very little story to it, but just about everyone has played the game at one point or another and in various forms of it. The game is simple enough to pick up and all you have to have are some quick reflexes and plenty of time to be able to master the game in one sitting. Holding to plenty of action, Galaga is a game that will forever be a classic and is available for NES owners in its original form.

The game play works a little like this in which you have to shoot down a stream of several incoming enemies that come across the screen in different patterns. Once you’ve gotten them to a point at which they reside at the top of the screen, you merely have to follow back and forth when they swoop down and fire on them again to destroy them! You can score better points if you hit them on the first entry in which they all move in a streaming pattern before they get to the top of the screen. Something that you need to be on the look out for is a specific looking enemy that will capture your ship if you let it. Once you’ve let it capture your ship, you can destroy it on its way down and regain your ship, gaining a double shot that will last with you until either it or you are destroyed by incoming fire. This only adds to the challenge and the ability to gain extra points through successful attacks!

The two player option that is available is also fun, but only allows you to play one at a time in a competitive manner through all of the stages. Extra lives are gained through point markers and the game goes on for several stages, with the difficulty increasing after each one. The NES was never known to have extra modes in their games, and this one isn’t any different than any other game that could use improvements! What would have been nice is to see an extra mode or two that you could play with another player, but just having the original version of the game ported over the way that it was supposed to be played is just enough.

The control is simple enough that anyone of any skill level and age can pick up. All you have to do is avoid the different enemies as they come down screen and hit the firing button to shoot up at them! The game hasn’t gained any sort of special moves or anything else that would be considered advanced, so there isn’t anything that needs to be learned other than how to move and avoid the incoming fire. With the dual ships, you have twice the fire power, but still nothing changes in the basic controls and all you have to do is learn to fire when it is needed and when to avoid as necessary!

Visually, the game has taken on a slightly muted look to it. The arcade version of the game had slightly more detail to the enemies and to the hero ship overall, and even though it has lost some of the detail it still is a great game to look at. The different special effects revolve around shooting different enemies and watching them ‘explode’ in different ways. Other than that and the tractor beam that you run into if you’re captured by an enemy ship, you won’t find anything that is different from the original version of the game! This comes as something of a relief, in which most arcade conversions usually lose a lot more than just a little detail and a little color, so to see that the NES version of the game is faithful to the arcade port is a pleasant surprise.

Audio wise, there wasn’t any music that I could remember having heard, with the game revolving around the sound effects only and not keeping any sort of pace to the game. More than likely, the porting of the game brought forward the cases that the arcade version didn’t need music as the surroundings were noisy enough! The sound effects of the game pretty much takes precedence over everything else in the game and because the game isn’t sound intensive and you’ll have the opportunity to play music out of something outside source. The sound effects though allow you to really get into the arcade feel of the game and offer plenty of ‘noise’ in order to get through the stages. A noticeable sound effect that comes out is when you reach a bonus stage and you complete it with a victory song that is rather uplifting and gets you geared up for the next stage!

Overall, Galaga is a great port of the arcade version that gives the NES gamer a taste of the arcade without having to spend the quarters to play all the time. While it has some muted visuals and the sound could have been worked on, the game play that the game offered in the very beginning is true to the arcade big brother! Gamers of all ages should no trouble playing this and picking up on the easy to use control and simple to play game. NES owners should consider this one of the must have games, because in all honesty, it is as close to an arcade version as the NES ever got and with good reproduction! Action gamers and anyone who is a fan of great arcade shooters should try this one out and have some fun.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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