[Review] Galaga (NES)


REVIEW # 00000000  01000110

My heart says…

Unfortunately Galaga is a game I’ve never owned. Even because having been released only in the NTSC region it would have been impossible for me to have it. I’ve heard a lot about it and first played it on the NES Mini and I understood why they talked so much about it. Even if it’s a rather straightforward space shooter a la Space Invaders, it featured some elements that were quite new back then when it first hit the market (although on Arcade): first of all it was among the first games in which the “invaders” actually were moving on screen (beyond moving right and left) and really “invading” because after a while the keep coming shooting at you; secondly the game has a “blinking” background, different from previous games that featured a black screen. So, it was something that today seems ridiculous but back then meant a lot and I can’t help but thinking that if I was a kid in the 80s I should have loved Galaga!

Splash screen

It’s one of the most classic NES splash screen. Black background and the Galaga logo which is actually not so space shooter like. It looks more like a logo for some candys or lollipops. But maybe they did it on purpose, who knows…

Graphics

The NES version of Galaga has some great visuals, very polish and it almost looks like it has been released later that it actually was. The main improvement in comparison with other space invaders clones it’s the possibility for the “invaders” to move and chase you as well as the moving background. To give the illusion of the movement, Galaga has a sort of two different parallax scrolling backdrops (even thought this descripion is actuially not really true): it’s like seeing a GoPro centered on the “battleground” while everything, the starship and the invaders, are moving upwards. Of course other inprovements were made from the original Space invader which was more than 10 years old back them, suche as more colours, improved sounds and musics and some special effect, like the explosion of the spacecraft when is touched by an invader.

Narrative

Nothing much to say here. It’s just the sci-fi craze that affected all the arts: in the 50s we have the classic sci-fi wave in the cinema, between the end of the 60sa and the beginning of the 70s, we have David Bowie’s space oddity in music and in the 70s/80s the space shooters on consoles.

Gameplay


10 INPUT SHOOT

20 INPUT ELUDE

30 GO TO 10

This is more or less a synthesys of what Galaga is like. The only thing you have to do is shoot, kill and avoid being killed. There are no power ups and every screen is identical to the previous one, except that the aliens are faster and more pissed off. The ship can move only left-right as in Space Invaders, so the movements sometimes are too limited.

Every often there’s a bonus stage in which you can collect point to earn extra lives; these stages are essentials  to go on with the game so it’s better to be extra careful and to be a perfect sniper. The main different from Space Invaders is that the aliens don’t go just left-right but once they are in formation start to come down and chase the spacecraft. Some aliens have also a sort of magnetic device with which can capture the player, but this in an event rather easy to avoid.

Controls

As already said, the ship can go just left, right and shoot, so the NES controller is more than enough. It’s a bit a shame the spaceship cannot move up-down but maybe in this case it would have been better a joystick or the NES Advantage, but since in America the game came out before the Advantage was released I can fairly say the controls are ok as they are.

Sound

Just a few sound effects, like the tune you can hear at the beginning of each level (which is quite enjoyable, though) but nothing more. This kind of games always lacks in the sound department, since 99% of the effects are the lasers shot but the spacecraft to the invaders. So let’s say that Galaga is nothing more nothing less.

Longevity

Galaga is a timeless game and not having a definite ending can be played for hours and hours. You’ll never have two equal games and as it is for Tetris the only limit is the strenght of your thumbs.

Final Score 72/100


Year: 1988

Developer: Namco

Publisher: Bandai America

Genre: Shooter, Shoot ’em up

Game Mode: Single Player, Double Player

Original Platform: NES (ported from Arcade)

From the same developer/publisher:

  • Pac-Man (1980) and sequels
  • Rally-X (1980)
  • Bosconian (1981)
  • Dig Dug (1982) and sequels
  • Xevious (1982)
  • Pole Position (1982) and sequels
  • Final Lap (1987) and sequels
  • Splatterhouse (1988)
  • Air Combat (1992)
  • Ridge Racer (1993)
  • Tekken (1994) and sequels
  • Soul Calibur (1998)

Inspired to:

  • Space Invaders (1978)

If you liked it you can also try:

  • Asteroids (1979)
  • Centipede (1980)

Other chapters of the saga:

  • Galaxian (1979)
  • Gaplus (1984)
  • Galaga ’88 (1987)
  • Galaga Arrangement (1995)

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. stlgamer75 says:

    Easily one of my top 5 favorite arcade games of all time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. benez256 says:

      …and the other 4 are?

      Like

  2. The time I put into this one goodness took so many of my quarters back in the day excellent review

    Liked by 1 person

    1. benez256 says:

      Thanks! Luckily (or maybe no?) for me I haven’t spent a fortune in the arcades sice I’ve played first on the NES Mini. Now I plan to buy the official NES cartridge…

      Like

      1. Happy Hunting shouldn’t be too hard to find

        Liked by 1 person

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