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CONSOLE: Arcade DEVELOPER: Namco PUBLISHER: Midway
RELEASE DATE (NA): December 1981 GENRE: Shooter
// review by SoyBomb

Gaga for Galaga.

Galaga serves as the sequel to the iconic and pioneering Galaxian, a Space Invaders-like game in which your ship needed to shoot down aliens floating overhead before they pulled some cosmic ballet moves and dashed toward you. As the game progressed, the formations of the aliens became more complex and their desire to annihilate you intensified dramatically.

Galaga takes that ball and runs with it, offering much of the same type of gameplay. You're still a ship at the bottom of the screen, flying through space, trying to shoot down every last one of the aliens before they crunch your ship into a crumpled ball of circuits or before they just flat-out shoot you down.

In essence, Galaga looks like a copy-paste sequel, but it actually takes the overall concept one step further by building on the foundation left by Galaxian and adding a few new features. First and foremost, you can now shoot two bullets at a time, rather than one. That's d-d-double the power! Galaga also offers bonus stages every four stages, giving the player chances for more points and thus, better chances at earning bonus ships. Enemies also now have the capability of suddenly reorganizing themselves into a special formation, during which time the player can earn a ton of points. Although the gameplay may get a little old after a while, Galaga continues to keep players on their toes by modifying attack formations so you can never get too comfortable or over-confident.

Certain enemies, specifically the "Galaga", can attempt to ensnare your ship with a tractor beam after you shoot them once. If the enemy is succesful, your ship becomes part of their formation in the Galaga body, and you will need to destroy it on your next life. If you manage to free it instead, both ships can combine to become a Dual Fighter with twice the killing power (though also twice the size).


She's quite a Galaga.

The game also provides a hit-and-miss ratio statement to show you how much of a great or poor marksman you are. It's a solid ego boost, if you sorely need one.

Whether you consider these features enough to warrant an entire sequel, I leave that in your capable hands. But Galaga ended up being a smash hit, far bigger than Galaxian ever was. In fact, it was one of the most financially successful games of its time. Even Matthew Broderick approves; he seems fairly hooked in the movie "WarGames".

This one's been re-released or remixed more times than Disney animated films. You can easily find Galaga on the NES, the Atari 2600, the MSX, the SG-1000, Xbox One, PC, Android, iOS, and so on. Heck, it's even been immortalized in a hack called "Beer-Aga", in which everything is BEER!

Galaga has been very influential in video game history, sometimes even being referred to as one of the best games of all time. There's even a Galaga boss item in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate! You know you've made it big when you pop up in Smash Bros.!


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