Wednesday, 6 February 2013

#9 Galaxian

Released: 1979 - Arcade                               

Developer: Namco
Played: 4th February 2013 - MAME Emulator & Rom

I have to say from the off, I wasn’t as bowled over by Galaxian as I thought I would be, it’s like a fancier Space Invaders but with none of the charm and more epilepsy inducing visuals. The simple graphics have given way to more colour, more action, and more explosions and whilst I’m usually not against this I just felt that it left a lot to be desired. I suppose this could be because I’m playing it retroactively and have played many games like it over the last 20 years, but I’ll try and approach it from a point of seeing it for the first time.

After playing Asteroids, Space Invaders and Pong, Galaxian does blow them out of the water visually, the sprites are multicoloured, the background animated and the effects when killing an enemy are even improved. When it comes to playing, it’s essentially the Space Invaders format, a group of aliens; you have three lives, shoot to kill. The changes however are notable, this time we’re in space, flying along through the cosmos, battling a group of space bugs hell-bent on destroying the ship and feasting on our brains, probably to get earth defence codes, location and/or other secrets…that’s the usual sci-fi spiel right? This time instead of advancing and reversing direction the bugs kamikaze dive towards you whilst shooting, either in singles or multiples and basically try to kill you on the way or just or crash if that fails just smash straight into the ship, if you miss any or they miss you the bugs magically reappear at the top of the screen and rejoin the colony ready for another attack. For the first time background music is present during the main game and even a crude theme song is present on the title screen, this would become a staple in years to come.

Whilst I might not be a loyal Galaxian fan I know that a lot of people are and I can appreciate why, especially on release, it’s fast, exciting and there's plenty to keep you coming back.