Galaga

Baldwin discusses Galaga addiction shame

It was the only way he could "go beta".

Hollywood star Alec Baldwin has revealed it wasn't just drink and drugs he was addicted to in the eighties - he also had a thing for arcade game Galaga.

Galaga

Galaga

Invading your space once again.

Standing happily on the shoulders of Space Invaders and enjoying the view while it's there, Galaga is what happens when a game developer poaches a fine concept and genuinely bothers to enhance it. Making it bastard hard didn't hurt either - those 10p pieces can't earn themselves...

A top-down shoot' em up in the most classic of styles, and itself a successor to Galaxian, Galaga shows just how far the genre had moved in a short space of time. Enemies no longer uniformly paraded along the top of the screen in a doomed procession, but instead burst onto the scene from the top, bottom and sides to get the jump on any slovenly players. Respite isn't something the game deems worthy of offering; happily keeping your lone fighter on its toes by chucking in near-continuous streams of foes -- often within seconds of the previous attack.

And while the first level found the dastardly invaders only spitting down a few of their no-longer-straight-falling missiles, within minutes of playing mayhem is well underway. The screen positively fills with bullets and enemy craft of increasing tenacity (including those which require multiple doses of laser fire to be dispatched), making the game as much a test of quick reactions as it is an itchy trigger figure. When a ship then targets the bottom of the screen with a leftover traction beam prop from an old Star Trek episode, you can almost feel the title pushing at the fences of its relatively limited technology. Further evidence that solid thinking has gone into the question of how to evolve an already established gaming concept.

Read more

Galaga

Galaga

Familiar to millions.

Astonishing fact of the day: Tom had never played Galaga until it popped up on Live Arcade this morning, which is the gaming equivalent of never having seen, I dunno, Blade Runner. After a while you just assume everyone must have come across certain cultural icons, but today's confession just goes to show how wrong you can be.

And another thing guaranteed to have the retro community marching on Eurogamer towers with flaming pitchforks was when he admitted "There's nothing to it... shoot things that fly into you until you die - it's Space Invaders with one other idea." Technically, nothing Tom said was incorrect, but since when did simple ideas constitute a bad game? It's time to put my best 'incredulous old fart' hat on and at least try and defend what it stands for, 25 years on from its release.

First of all, out of all the dozens (hundreds?) of Space Invaders clones that spewed forth from the arcades in the late '70s and early '80s, Galaga was easily one the most memorable, and is probably the only one I can stand playing for concentrated periods of time even now. Sure, it's as basic as it gets, tasking you with clearing wave after wave of dive bombing, missile-spewing insectoid enemies and going for the high score. No power-ups (not counting the recapture of your fighter), no weapons upgrades, no continues, just level after level of screen-clearing chaos punctuated by score-boosting Challenge stages. Add the primal videogaming sound effects and addictive little ditties and you'll dive straight into a gaming time warp that never fails to charm the hairy ears of a retro gamer..

Read more