Galaga Legions DX

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Galaga Legions DX
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Galaga Legions DX
Shooter/Shmup
PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade
Reviews based on the XBLA version
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Developer: Namco Bandai
Release Date: June 29th, 2011
Achievement Guide Available
Galaga has been an important and staple video game ever since it’s introduction back in 1981 in arcades all across Japan and North America. Over the years, the game has been tweaked and altered, usually not much, but sometimes quite dramatically. Namco has since made the original title available digitally, such as on the Xbox Live Arcade. As the years have gone on, the company has worked on revitalizing many of their original titles, and in 2010 announced the Namco Generations line of downloading games that would see the classics modernized. While Pac-Man Championship Edition DX was the launching title, it was simply a rehashed version of Pac-Man Championship Edition with a little extra flare. Would Galaga Legions suffer the same fate as Pac-Man Championship Edition did, or would it have more stock to it other then a few modified components?

Sadly, Galaga Legions DX is basically nothing more then the original Galaga Legions Arcade title rehashed, but again tweaked. The game comes with four different mode options: Championship, Areas, Time Attack, and Tutorial. Obviously the Tutorial Mode is self-explanatory, but those familiar with the initial Galaga Legion release, or even just Galaga in general will find no purpose whatsoever in this mode other then to shake off some cobwebs and kick up the dust that settled on the gamer’s skills towards this series. Among these options is the ability to utilize Leaderboards that base your completion and time on their overall leaderboards and show your world rank. This is where Championship Mode comes in. Right away you are introduced with the typical electrical circle surrounded by aliens you need to shoot in order to get them to become ghost attack modules for your ship. You then plow through wave after wave of Galaga in five different levels. This mode is very entertaining, but doesn’t offer anything new or exciting past that first playthrough, and after a few times with Championship Mode, you’ll start to lose interest thanks to the repetition.

There’s also the addition of “Areas” in the gameplay modes. These modes total to nine different areas, and each area is broken down into five levels, much like Championship Mode, which unleashes wave after wave of enemies at you. Unlike Championship where the goal is to get as many points as possible and climb the leaderboards (or to beat your friend’s score if you’re that much of a competition junkie), this one does have a focus on score, but is more geared toward survival then anything. You will plow through each wave and get a brief screen to collect your sanity between the levels, and each Area is typically defined as three stages that build up with the attacks to help you familiarize the attack patterns, often displayed by the Galaga Legions established attack lines that appear on screen prior to the wave’s assault and give you an idea of where they will attack and how, followed by a boss fight on the fourth level, and a recap on the fifth level with the additional backing reinforcement Galaga that you obtain in a similar manner to the first level of Championship Mode. The ship’s speed increases greatly, and the attacks happen a lot faster thanks to this stage’s “Turbo” approach. It leads to some fun, but again unless you’re a junkie for comptetition, once through these nine areas will be enough. But, once is not enough to fully say you have completed this game.

The final mode is Time Attack mode. Again, it’s similar to Championship and Areas in design, except now you focus solely on wiping out the established waves before time runs out, and you have a large supply of lives. If you fail to do it before the time ends, you get a chance to continue, but it doesn’t count as a completed part of the levels from each mode. This mode also gives you a level select screen, which is nice to have. It marks each level you complete, and allows you to go back as many times as you want. However, in order to fully complete this, you not only have to redo all give Championship levels and all five of each of the nine Areas, but all five levels of the Tutorial Mode as well.

The graphics for this title are great, looking sleek and stylish to represent the Science Fiction nature of the game, and the music works well with it to keep the vibe of the original arcade cabinet, but they just don’t hold much weight to them to be interesting past a few plays. The controls for this title are a little different this time around. You get satellites around your ship that you can clump together for a straight forward attack, or can uncouple them and have them fire off in varying angles. The method to attack here is the right analog stick, leaving the satellites to attack in whichever direction you aim, similar to other titles like Geometry Wars. In additional, you have the ability to change difficulties from easy to hard in Championship and Areas, but no other modes, as well as the ability to change the aliens between the more common modern day HD form, to the varying eight bit block form of the varying incarnations from back int he day. Sadly, this is all the game really offers you in the line of extras like that. The only other element of the game at this point becomes the Tournament play, which is an option on the title screen, but since playing this game on it’s release, it has not opened and reads that the option is closed, but the promising idea of online Galaga tournaments does sound enticing enough to keep the game handy on your hard drive to pop in once in a while to see if one is happening.

Finally there’s the achievements (or trophies). Of course it’s a digital title so there’s twelve in total, and they are not very hard at all. This leads to a problem as it reflects how easy the gameplay itself can be. All of the achievements are based on finishing each mode, with one requiring you to finish all nine Area Mode challenges on hard difficulty. This would be a problem if hard mode were actually hard, but even at it’s most challenging in later levels you’re still able to run-and-gun through many stages, heading right up to the proper bombs to wipe out hordes of Galaga, or even just rushing to destroy the giant red alien leadership in seconds and kill off the entire horde under it’s command. The last Area may pose some problems and a few retries, but overall it just simply feels like Normal Mode and will make players maybe have to replay once here and there starting around Area Seven, and by then you know the pattern and just screwed something up stupidly, or weren’t in the right position, or just didn’t switch the attack method with the satellites surrounding your ship in time.

Galaga Legions DX is nothing more then a stylish rehash of Galaga Legions, but with a more sleek design to the gameplay. The levels are fun, but even at it’s hardest the game never really poses much of a problem for the player. If you enjoy climbing the ranks of leaderboards, then this game may hold your interest for a while, but due to it’s repetitive nature at times, Galaga Legions DX does tend to get boring rather quickly, and can leave the player craving more for the initial launch price paid considering all of it can be completed in roughly six hours. Granted this is no Kane & Lynch II or even a movie licensed tie-in, and six hours is a little more understandable for roughly one sixth of the price of a retail title, but Namco could have done more. If you’re buying it for the achievements/trophies, it’s even a bit of a let down then as they are generic objectives you can easily obtain in one sitting, though more challenging then those that came with the original Galaga on the marketplace. Overall, it’s not bad, and it’s definitely not as short on any level as Pac-Man Championship Edition DX was, but unless there’s planned downloadable content for this title that will really make gamers want to go back and play this game, or just offer up a new challenge, this entry into the series marks the thirtieth anniversary, but doesn’t leaving the listener feeling like it was a great birthday bash.

Overall Score: 6.5/10