Galaga Legions Review
Galaga Legions, from Namco Bandai Games, is a twitch shooter that’s trying to do for Galaga what Pac-Man CE did for the original pill-popping, maze crazy, ghost hunting game; and it succeeds rather well.
The game structure is split into two parts (though these are essentially the same thing). The normal arcade mode moves the player through the five different levels, where-as the championship mode allows any of these levels to be played in singularity, giving rise to high-score chasing antics.
Whilst Galaxy Legions is by no means difficult to pick up, there are a few tutorials to get newbies up to speed. Along with teaching the basics of ship control, these also delve into the more complex strategical elements, such as induced enemy kills and emerging point predictions. This helps the player to better understand the finer concepts of the game.
The basic rules are very simple: pilot a fighter aircraft with the left stick, and its two satellites deployed with the right stick. This is coupled with destroying the the ghastly enemy alien hordes, known as the Galaga, as quickly and efficiently as possible. Whilst the main fighter only has the ability to shoot upwards, the two satellite craft can be placed up, down, left or right independently. The firing of lasers can be controlled be the player, but for starters it probably best to leave this on auto, mostly due the the blazing rate the game runs at.
Things start out relatively slowly at first, lulling the player into a false sense that the game is going to be an easy, soon forgotten about, five minute wonder. The speed of the game, and the rate of the enemy formations, soon picks up pace and by the fifth level Galaga are flying across the screen at lightning speed; it’s enough to make the eyes boggle.
To score well in the game it’s important to learn the fixed formations through each section of the five game levels. Each swarm’s flight-path is previewed to the player before the legions appear, by way of neon lines. Working out what’s going to go where, particularly later in the game, can take some concentration, but judicious placing of the satellite craft can play dividends here: taking out the main Galaga will cause cascading explosions of their dozens of children, and is better for the scoreline.
On some of the level sections a special Galaga will appear, which if destroyed, will suck up the children enemy craft surrounding it. This gives the player a Legion Swarm, vastly increasing fire-power; something that needs to be timed correctly for maximum effect. The more enemies on screen, the stronger the swarm becomes.
Whilst there doesn’t appear to be much to Galaga Legions on the surface, there is a level of tactical skill in placing craft in the right place at the right time, as well as a memory game for the swarm patterns. As a twitch shooter, there’s a definite addictive quality that is perfect for the arcade high-score chase. Whilst it might not quite give Geometry Wars a hiding, it’s certainly something different from the raft of twin stick shooters that grace XBLA.