Giant Bomb Review

27 Comments

Galaga Legions Review

3
  • XBGS

Galaga Legions isn't a great Galaga sequel, but it's a decent space shooter with some interesting ideas.

Galaga Legions is a pretty interesting update to the old static-screen space shooter equation. Rather than deal in waves that contain set numbers of enemies, Legions constantly bombards you with tons of enemy ships and, at times, feels as frantic as a dual-joystick shooter. But my key issue with it is that it really doesn't feel very much like Galaga at all.

Legions is usually pretty hectic.
The core concept is definitely Galaga-like. It's as if someone sat down and decided to make an entire game out of the "challenging stage" bonus rounds found in the original Galaga. But rather than shooting for accuracy and trying to hit everything, as you did in the '80s, Legions doesn't seem to care if you hit everything or not. It's more about surviving the looping and swooping ships that are constantly flying into and out of the screen.

You'll fight off the enemy by shooting them, naturally. Your ship can only fire up, as normal, but you can move around the screen at will. You also have two satellite cannons that can be deployed at any time using the right stick. Unlike your main ship, the satellites can fire up, down, left, or right depending on which direction you push. You can pick up your satellites by touching them, or a tap of the left bumper will send them back to you. Immediately before ships fly onto the screen, a set of streaky lines details the path of the incoming ships, giving you a moment to set up your satellites and prepare for the attack. The enemies rarely shoot at you, so you're mainly trying to avoid collisions while racking up as high of a score as you can. Eliminating enemies in quick succession, or hitting an explosive ship that takes out all the other enemies in that wave, brings your score multiplier up. It drains very quickly, though, so it doesn't seem like it's one of those action puzzle games where you can do some kind of full combo the whole way through.

Galaga's other defining feature was the way the boss ships would come down and spit out a tractor beam, capturing one of your ships. You could then free your captured ship and dock it with your new one, giving you double firepower. But Galaga Legions instead bases its capturing mechanic off of Gaplus (Galaga's direct sequel), where you could capture enemy ships and use them for additional firepower. In Legions, this is accomplished using a big black hole-like ball that appears at a set point in every level. When you shoot it enough times, it activates, sucks up all the ships on screen, and gives them to you to control. The enemy ships deploy with your satellites, making them much more powerful.

Dodging all this stuff is actually a lot easier than it initially looks.
The background graphics are probably the best thing about Galaga Legions. It goes from being a pretty standard star field to a warping mess of colorful streaks and back again over the course of its five stages. The flashy look definitely makes the game feel more action-packed than it really is. Also, you can unlock additional skins for the various ships, including ships modeled off of original graphics for Galaga, Galaxian, and so on. The old graphics used in these skins have borders around them that make them stand out in the same way that Pac-Man Championship Edition did. Incidentally, Galaga Legions was made by some of the same people that did Pac-Man CE, but the approach to updating an old game is so vastly different in the two games that there's very little common ground between them.

As a game following in the footsteps of the Galaga legacy, Legions doesn't do a very good job. Other than the ability for ships to capture other ships, nothing about this game feels much like the original game. So it might not do anything for people with an eye for nostalgia. But on its own, Galaga Legions manages to be an interesting and unique take on static-screen shooters. The demo provides a pretty complete picture of what the full game is like, so if that excites you at all, chances are you'll find the full game to be just as satisfying.
Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
27 Comments
Posted by TheWorstPlayerEver

I played the demo and I thought it was alright but i'm just holding out for Castle Crashers on Wednesday

Posted by MattyFTM

Good review. I've been thinking about buying this, and now that I know it isn't very galaga-like, I think I'll give it a miss, or at least check out the demo first.

Moderator
Posted by killawogg

i bought the game and i like it but it doesnt feel like galaga to me.  its just another space shooter which isnt bad its a fun game but just not galaga if you like shooters check it out

Posted by Luffy

hm........that's a big maybe

Posted by mellenman

Looks LAME!!!!

Posted by AcidicVision

I personally think this game is a blast. Its pretty to look at, the controls are tight and it commands quick thinking and reflex. It can also get to be a good bit challenging and youll find yourself in situations where sitting and waiting to watch the pattern is more of a payoff than freaking out and trying to shoot yourself a path through enemies. 

Definitley one of the better XBLA games ive bought.

Posted by HTTenrai

I think it's safe to say that Galaga Legions was the low point of this summer's blockbuster arcade releases, and that's not to say it's a bad game at all.

Initially, Galaga Legions intrigued me more than Braid. LOL. Funny how that turned out... ^_^

Posted by vgmkyle

lol It's better than Bionic Commando.

Posted by piecat

I was not impressed by the demo. It'll probably end up being the only arcade game from the summer's arcades releases I don't buy.

Posted by Rmack

I really like it, even if it isn't at all Galaga. It's just a fun game on its own, and challenging as hell to boot.

Posted by selfdestroyer

bought it .. love it.. its a good edition to the shmup or shmup like games. Just like JAP bullet hell games, this one can get really confusing with on screen bullets.

Posted by zityz

its decent, its not like WOW awesome like radient silvergun/ ikaruga BUT it is decent for that type of game.

Also, like many have said, it doesn't feel like galaga at all.

Posted by F1

This game is really good, really hard too. Giant Bomb is like a really harsh bitch with these reviews, but in a good way. lol :P

I don't know what I'm talking about.

Posted by zoozilla

While I agree that the game doesn't feel like Galaga at all, I'm not sure if that's really a criticism.  Playing Galaga now just isn't as exciting as it used to be.

Posted by slowpantz

good review

Posted by Bobby

Thanks to the Internet I've been given the right to disagree! I actually wrote a blog post about why I think it feels more like Galaga than one realizes: http://www.gameculturejournal.com/blog/2008/08/galaga_legions/

Posted by Zergvasion

Good review.
I can't help but feel like something was missing when I played the Trial. It just didn't have the response time as the classic Galaga. It also felt a little crowded in terms of UI. I prefer to have it crowded with AI.

Posted by ZoMBiiE

It doesn't feel like Galaga at all.  I'll pass.

Posted by carzy

game sucks

Posted by Sin4profit

Yep, chalk another one up for the, "only game in the summer blockbuster line up i'm not getting" crowd.

Posted by Rowr

I like it. Screw you guys.

Posted by Midgar

I tried the demo but didn't really get into it. It was alright but not worth getting.

Posted by VoodooTerror

what is it with jeff giving everything 3 stars? c'mon jeff, be contraversial!!!

Posted by PsYuSoFly

ok WOW it's not like galaga, we get it. But it's still an awesome game.

Posted by lowestformofwit
Posted by Jolly_Lolly

After trying the demo two times I knew immediately to save my money for CC (which I did ;))

Posted by Dan_CiTi

This game is amazing. It's no Braid and it doesn't have as much to do  as Castle Crashers or Bionic Commando but it's so wonderfully made.  It's more of a Galaga-styled shmup than a Galaga "revisioning" really.