Now celebrating its 30th Anniversary, Galaga’s seen something of a reboot with the release of Galaga Legions DX – an updated version of another remake of Galaga, Galaga Legions. If you're already starting to feel a bit lost – don’t worry, you’re not alone – but luckily, there’s more difference between the two versions than an extra few letters on the end of the name.
Galaga Legions DX sees you bravely piloting your ship against the waves of alien hordes, but where the 80s classic only let you move horizontally (thereby making it pretty hard to dodge your enemies), in Galaga Legions DX, you can move in all directions. New for the DX instalment is the ability to choose where you aim, too, giving you full, 360 degree firepower – which, when the levels are this crazy, is something you’ll want. There are 9 areas for you to conquer, each of which is made out of five levels, which present you with several different waves of enemy to conquer.
Before the aliens ships start coming in each wave, you're given a little bit of a warning, as neon lines trace the path they’re going to take across the screen, giving you plenty of time to move out of the way, or position yourself strategically. The idea here is to simply clear as many waves of enemies as possible, as quickly as possible, as on the fifth level, your points get doubled – so the quicker you get there, the longer you’ll have, and the more points you’ll be able to rack up.
What stands between you and point-based glory, however, are the aliens. Hundreds of them. Each wave is a sprawling mass of hundreds of alien ships, religiously following their route across the screen like some sort of bizarre, extra-terrestrial spirograph, as you pound away at the ever encroaching mass of aliens, with your guns barely managing to scratch the surface. When the wave starts to bear down on you, and you find yourself backed into a corner, things can actually be pretty exciting, as you just end up firing, closing your eyes, and praying for your survival.
Luckily for you, there are a few tricks you can use to help increase your chance of survival. Firstly, each of the waves usually comes with its own distinctive leader ship – which is also its biggest weakness. Destroy that, and you’ll take out its entire squad – which could be anything from five to fifty ships deep. Clearing an entire screen by only shooting two ships is quite a feat – but it’s entirely possible, and it’s certainly the best way to reach the last level quickly. Another useful enemy, a sort of circular blob, triggers a black hole when it’s hit, and swallows up your enemies, causing them to have something of an epiphany, as they change sides, and start fighting for you.
Your guns fire in two distinct modes. The first, direct fire, simply has your guns fire wherever you point them, in a straight line – which is fine when the enemies are all directly ahead of you, but on a game as crazy as Galaga Legions DX, that’s not all that often. More useful, then, is the strange, reflex shooting mode, which lets you angle your guns independently. Push the right analogue stick around, and your guns on either side will mirror each other, letting you shoot in three directions at once – which is just what the doctor ordered when you (regularly) find yourself surrounded.
The main challenge here comes not so much from surviving the endless onslaught, but rather in figuring out the most efficient way to destroy every enemy on the screen. Of course, you could always just hard nose it and take out each enemy one by one, but planning, getting your ship in the right place, and picking off the leader ships is where the real challenge lies.
Most importantly, though, is the fact that unlike most similar games on the Xbox Live Arcade, Galaga Legions DX isn’t actually all that hard. In fact, several tweaks have been made to make the game a lot easier. Dodging the enemies isn’t too much of a challenge, as your guns usually manage to just about hold them back, but when you do come a bit too close for comfort, the game slows down time, giving you chance to get out of the way, or fire off a few well placed shots to get yourself out of a pickle. Equally, you start each level with a decent amount of lives, and can take several hits before you pop your clogs, meaning most people should be able to finish at least the majority of the levels, if not them all!
In all, Galaga Legions DX is a great update of a timeless arcade classic, well fitting of the 30th anniversary. Although it doesn’t have much of a single player mode, and is definitely lacking in a decent leaderboard (it’s a bit too tricky to see what your friend’s scores – which is kind of the whole point of a score attack game) – it somehow manages to stay true to the original, whilst giving it a facelift. Add in the fact that you can choose from several different graphical styles, and make your enemies look like they’ve come straight from the original, and you’ve got a game any Galaga fan should invest in – although there’s probably not enough difference here to warrant a purchase if you already own Galaga Legions.
- Not incredibly hard, unlike other games in the same genre!
- Classic Galaga - updated.
- Edge-of-your-seat tense at times.
- Not enough single player levels.
- Leaderboards not implemented as well as they should be.
- Only replay value is for high scores