Box Shot
Platform: NES
Publisher: Namco
Designer: Namco
Genre: Shoot-em-up
Players: 1
Published Date 1987
Reviewed by: Adam King

One of my favorite arcade games has to be Galaga. It was just sheer fun to shoot at enemies that come by. The toy company Bandai brought over Galaga to the NES, with some good results.

There isn't much of a story (but who needs one in a shooter like this? Many older games never had a story anyway). You're a lone space pilot, sent to defend your home planet from the vile forces of the Galaga armada. That's just about it.

You control this space craft throughout the game. It can only move left or right along the bottom of the screen, not up or down. In each level, enemy spaceships and aliens come swooping down the screen, then get in formation (some try a suicide run right into your ship). Once all the ships are in formation, they come down again, shooting lasers and trying to ram into your craft. If they miss, they go back into formation and go back to shooting for awhile. It's essentially a variaton on Space Invaders, but what a variation it is. Luckily, you have some lasers of your own, with which to counteract their rush. This game uses the classic arcade trick: Wait for the Galaga commander (one of the baddies) to capture your ship, then free it for double the firepower. Once all the ships are destroyed, you move on to the next level, where faster ships come along. Every so often, you'll visit the Challenging Stage, where you can test your marksmanship for bonus points.

The graphics match the arcade game nicely, with the scrolling star background. The sounds are okay, with cute sound effects. There's no music, except of the tune when you start, and the game over music. It's bare bones, yes, but near arcade perfect. Your craft controls quite nicely, and that's also a plus.

Basically, Galaga matches the classic arcade game nearly to the letter. If you're unable (or unwilling) to join the emulation gravy train, you can still experience Galaga at home. It can bring back memories of the old days, moving your fighter back and forth, pounding the fire button AFAP (As Fast As Possible). This is a must play for arcade freaks. Simple but fun.