Wednesday, August 3, 2011

DX Magic Strikes Again?? The Galaga Legions DX Review

Galaga Legions was considered a solid modern take on a classic game, but it was not that memorable to be considered among the best downloadabale games out today. It is still nice to see enemies filling around the screen at once wave after wave as your ship blasts away at them. After the success of Pac-Man Championship Edition DX, Namco Bandai decides to give Galaga another chance with Legions DX under their Namco Generations lineup hoping to make the game more crazy and fun. The improvements and changes did make it a better game, but still lacks that special memorable moment that makes you keep playing.

At its core, Legions DX is the same game as before with your ship mowing down numerous enemy Galaga formations in various wave patterns. The wave patterns still pop out for a second or two before enemies appear so you much think of a gameplan to dispose them quickly. Chain reactions also can be still be caused by destroying certain enemies to the point of destroying an entire wave if timed right. What makes the game have the DX treatment is similar to how Pac-Man CE did it, which is more emphasis on getting the higher score than survival. In the original Legions, your ship's firing controls were pretty limited only firing up even though you can plot satellites at strategic spots to take out enemy waves. This time around, the satellites are only on your ship and you can fire in any direction like a twin stick shooter, which is a significant improvement making the game more approachable to play. There are two firing styles that can be switched at any time too as one is the firing up standard while the other allows your satellites to fire diagonally. The other additional improvement to the gameplay is the slowmo from Pac-Man CE DX, which the game slows down for a bit if you're about to get hit by an enemy in which you can move out of harm's way. This is also why you're not going to die as often as in the original if you're in a tight situation as the game can be pretty generous in terms of the ship's hit box. Even though the gameplay improvements make Legions DX easier and more approachable for anyone to play, there is still no memorable moment like say eating a long ghost train in Pac-Man CE DX, that makes you want to come back and play again.

All of the game's modes are playable from the get go with nine areas, championship, and time attack. Championship mode is pretty self-explanatory as it is a mix of waves from the nine areas and the main competitive mode for high scores. Namco Bandai plans to hold score attack tournaments for this mode on a frequent basis for prizes, which is a nice touch as hopefully they will do host these for a good period of time. The nine areas follow a similar formula of five stages with the fourth one being a boss at the end and the fifth being a bonus stage as you attempt to build up your high score with captured Galagas getting through as many waves as you can in a limited time. Time attack is also self-explanatory trying to beat all the levels with a fast time. Galaga Legions DX does have difficulty options to choose from, but the only difference I noticed is how many lives you start with and considering you're going for score rather than survive all the levels, lives are not that much of a concern especially when you get extra ones easily after surpassing a certain score. The achievements and trophies are pretty easy to get, which is expected for Namco downloadable games as long as you're willing to grind it out in all of the game's modes.

The graphics are pretty much the same between the original Legions and this DX version, Enemies can fill up the whole screen at times and the explosion effects still look sharp as well especially after numerous chain reactions happening. The slowmo effect also happens when you're about to destroy an entire wave. The framerate still runs smoothly and consistently without any hitches too. Also seen in past Namco downloadable games are various visual styles to choose from the old school Galaga style from the arcades to other games in the franchise like Galaxian. Most of the game's audio is also recycled from the original using the same background music for most of the stages.

Galaga Legions DX is a much improved game as a whole, but still faces the same problem the original had, which is a lack of excitement. This is definitely a game meant to be played in short minute bursts than hourly sessions where you're probably bored after that given time. The gameplay improvements from better controls and firepower to the slowmo effect when you are near death make the game more easier and approachable to play. Since DX is in the title, emphasis on score than survival is great encouraging players to chase high scores in the game's online leaderboards where you can see replays of the higher ranked attempts. However, as mentioned earlier, the game does not feel as memorable as I hoped given the Galaga name. For ten dollars (or 800 Microsoft Points on Xbox Live Arcade), Galaga Legions DX is still worth it if you enjoyed the original and you want more of that, but if the original didn't grab your attention then, this DX version won't either.

Score = 7/10

  • Gameplay improvements such as better ship controls and slowmo make the game easier and approachable since the primary emphasis is on score than survival.
  • All modes are playable out of the gate
  • Still a sharp looking game that runs smoothly despite looking the same as the original especially with the amount of enemies the game can throw at you.
  • Still missing that memorable moment that makes you want to keep playing. (Mowing down enemy waves with captured Galagas is just not the same as eating a long ghost train in Pac-Man CE DX)
  • Becomes a grind if you're playing long stretches, so its best played in short minute bursts as they are intended to be.
  • If the original Legions didn't grab your attention then, Legions DX won't either.

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