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Galaga: Destination Earth

Score: 75%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Hasbro Interactive
Developer: King of the Jungle
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Shooter

Graphics & Sound:

The graphics in Galaga: Destination Earth are a mixed bag. Some of the levels (the Moon, Mars, Europa) look quite nice with lots of structures that you must zoom into, around, and out of. Others (the Sun) look horribly drab with an ugly repeating texture as the ground and only a few things to really break out the monotony. And you definitely want to play with hardware acceleration -- the already drab graphics look worse in software mode.

The sound is really nothing special, either. If the first few levels had music, I didnít notice it, which goes to show you the impact it had on the game. The later levels have tunes, but nothing thatíll really make you sit up and take notice. And the sound effects are strictly passable -- explosions, shots, and collisions. Nothing here will impress you to be honest.


Gameplay:

And, unfortunately, the same goes for the gameplay. While it seems that King of the Jungle did their best to update the original Galaga, Galaga: DE just doesnít cut it. The one view thatís used most of the time also happens to be the most annoying, and it really doesnít make for a fun game.

Youíre an unnamed pilot on a quest to save the world from the encroaching Galaga fleet. Whatever. The game will take you from the wreckage of the ship you were guarding to flying over the surface of the Sun and back to Earth, all the while blowing up lots and lots of ships.

Those who have played the original title (and those who havenít should, immediately; go find a coin-op machine and waste a few hundred on it like everyone else has) will recognize a few of the ships in the game. The mother ships are back, and they can still abduct your ship. There are a lot of other ships, too, from ones that take way more than two shots to ones with shields on one side that you have to hit at just the right time. The various types add variety, but none of them are really that inventive.

There are three basic modes that you fly in: a traditional ship-at-the-bottom, enemies-at-the-top view, one more like the Gradius games where youíre on the left and the enemies come from the right, and a Starfox-look where youíre behind the ship as it flies in a given corridor. Unfortunately, itís the latter thatís used much of the game, and itís a damned annoying view. Itís hard to get a bead on enemies in the center of the screen, and itís just not as much fun as the other two styles.

And therein lies Galaga: DEís problems. It just isnít as much fun as the original. They tried to mix it up with different levels and different goals (collect all the escape pods, turn on the generators, blow up the enemy generators), but it just doesnít make for a particularly fun game. The only times youíll really enjoy yourself are in the two old-school views, and they donít come up often enough. There are power-ups that try to liven the game up -- one lets you capture enemy ships, which is very nice when you get a good bad guy -- but even those donít make the game.


Difficulty:

You can probably beat the game after playing it once or twice, as long as you remember about the Smartbomb, which you can launch once per life and which kills all on-screen enemies. I forgot, and I wasted many lives on some cheap enemies while on the Moon. Ahh, well. The gameís relatively short, but it doesnít let you save, which means that youíve got to sit down for a good three-hour stint to beat it all the way through.

Game Mechanics:

As I said earlier, the behind-the-ship view really doesnít work that well, and should have been used less than it was. Yes, it showcases the 3D world a little more, but graphics donít make up for weak gameplay. The controls themselves are trivial, with movement, fire, and a few new ones (thrust, rolls) coming up as you get more and more tokens in the game. And, thankfully, your ship can take more than one hit.

Galaga: Destination Earth is a blastfest, only itís not a blast. With a bad camera angle, unimpressive graphics, and dated gameplay, thereís not much going for it. Fans of the original will like it at first, but then it gets irritating. And unlike the hypnotic monotony of the original game, Galaga: DE never quite gets you in the zone. Itís perhaps worth a bargain bin buy, but only for fans of the genre.


-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

Minimum System Requirements:



Win9x, P2 233, 32MB RAM, 64MB HD space, 4X CD-ROM, Sound Card, 2MB Video Card
 

Test System:



AMD K6-III 450 running Windows 98, 256 MB RAM, 6X/24X DVD-ROM, Sound Blaster Live!, Creative Labs TNT2 Ultra w/32 MB RAM

Windows Frogger 2: Swampyís Revenge Windows Grand Canyon (for Flight Simulator)

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated