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Galaga Legions DX Review

Galaga Legions DX Review

When discussing the days of cabinet arcade gaming it's inevitable that you'd reach for the Namco classics, games which came to define a large part of every gamers childhood in the 80s and 90s. As of late, Namco has seen fit to bring back some of these classic titles with a new twist for more modern gamers, and so far they've been doing a pretty good job. Next up on the list of games to revive is Galaga, one of the worlds first top-down shooters that required both a steady eye and smooth reflexes to avoid lasers and dodge aliens. Sure, it's seen a fair share of remakes over the years but Galaga Legions is a pretty different beast when it comes to drawing comparisons between it and the original. That being said, Legions DX somehow manages to draw even further away from the classic cabinet title, which (for those of whom enjoy a little bit of change) is a very good thing.

In theory Galaga Legions DX is a massive expansion upon the last game, which can be hard to picture if you've of course never played Galaga Legions. The original Galaga gave players a ship which could strafe left and right, and of course you could shoot up at the aliens, all of whom are arranged in neat rows and slowly attack the player in waves.

Legions and of course, Legions DX throws all of this out the window retaining only the very core element of Galaga gameplay: shooting aliens. From the very beginning players are able to move their space craft in just about any direction they like, still restricted to a top-down perspective, but finally able to move freely about the screen. Additionally the space craft no longer just shoots a single beam, now players get to choose between a controlled blast forward or a spread fire that covers a potential of three directions at once. Players also get to choose the direction their ship faces, a change from Galaga Legion that takes gameplay in an extremely different direction.

The aliens have also received a makeover. They are still swarming forward in an attempt to collide with the player, but their old block formation has been removed to allow for a fluid stream of movement. Each level is broken down into more complex invasions, all of which start the same way. On screen, players are prompted with a string of lines that show which direction the aliens will be coming from and what path they will be taking. This is then followed by a caution indicator highlighting where the aliens will be spawning from. Players then have a limited amount of time to kill all the aliens on screen by either blasting them individually or blowing up certain explosive baddies which will cause a chain reaction. Alternatively, killing the 'leader' of the invasion will detonate all of the others instantly, racking up quite an impressive set of points. This shift in gameplay means that Galaga Legions DX isn't really about strictly killing the aliens, but doing so as fast as possible while at the same time facing relatively predictable waves invaders; and with aliens no longer retaining their habits of spawning only from the front players have a lot more to keep their eyes on visually.

Considering that there wasn't really too much leg room to work with when it comes to Galaga's original gameplay Namco did an amazing job at reinventing the franchise. Though predictable to an extent, the new means of surviving each wave and killing off invading aliens is unique enough to hold interest while at the same time still maintaining that classic arcade feeling. Pushing for points while working against the clock really captures the sort of competitive spirit that's surrounded many of these classic cabinet games, and the extremely tight, responsive controls help motivate players to make each run as flawless as possible.

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