The original Galaga arcade game was ported to Xbox Live Arcade a couple of years ago, and while it has since been removed, we now have a remake with the kind of shiny, colourful visuals that accompany most port’s enhanced modes. Although it would be unfair to call this a mere enhanced version of the original because it does a lot of new things that they simply couldn’t have done with a port.
Galaga Legions, like the original, doesn’t have much of a back-story, but since a lot of gamers like their titles to have a story, I’ll give you one: “legions of alien insects or ‘Galaga’ are invading earth so it’s up to you to take your space ship and make like a proverbial intergalactic fly swatter.” Satisfied? Moving on…
For the uninitiated, the Galaga series comes from a generation where the story took a back seat to getting the highest score and a lack of saving meant you started a new game and almost never got to the end - unless you spent more time playing the game than having a life. Galaga Legions stays true to the series’ roots and won’t let you continue from the level you got up to last time.
The differences setting this release apart from the original extend past the visuals: where the original Galaga had 20-odd enemies on screen, Galaga Legions sports hundreds. To aid you against the Galaga there are the two companion ships you can detach at a flick of the right analog stick. Each companion craft fires straight up from wherever you plant it; they can be moved/dropped anywhere – strategies can be built on these as the Galaga will fly straight towards you, ignoring the companion ship’s fire. Alternatively you can reattach them to enhance your own attacks at the push of a button.
To further help in your quest of intergalactic genocide, Galaga Legions also sports an auto-fire mode. Ironically, using auto-fire would have been tantamount to cheating in the second generation of gaming - and still is. Although given the high difficulty in Galaga Legions, it will be helpful to younger players.
The single player campaign takes place over five areas. First, we have the adventure mode where you work your way through hordes of Galaga going from area to area. The second is championship mode in which you can select one of the five areas to compete for the highest score. All up retro junkies will get a kick out of the high difficulty and classic style of this shoot-em-up. There is a lot of fun to be had in checking out your friend's leader board and beating their high score.
In the end Galaga Legions provides the fast, intense and unforgiving gameplay modern shooters tend to go easy on.