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Galaga

Developer / Publisher: Namco
September 1981
Galaga - cover art
Glitchwave rating
3.51 / 5.0
0.5
5.0
 
 
490 Ratings / 4 Reviews
#925 All-time
#1 for 1981
Humanity is being invaded by aliens, and you operate a space fighter to repel them. The alien hornets and moths fly in mesmerising patterns, shooting you and trying to collide with you, but the most feared are the titular galagas, who can employ a tractor beam to steal one of your starfighters. This colourful space shooter is an upgrade on Galaxian.
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1981 Namco  
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1981 Namco Midway  
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1983 Namco Sega  
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JP
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1985 Namco  
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JP NGG-4500
1987 Namco GCC  
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XNA 0 77000 70004 9
1988 Namco Bandai  
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XNA 0 45557 08000 6 NES-AG-USA
1990 Namco  
Floppy
JP NDS-GAG
2006 Namco Bandai Namco  
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ギャラガ ファミリーコンピュータ版
2007 Namco Bandai Namco  
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2007 Namco Bandai Namco  
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ギャラガ アーケード版
2009 Namco Bandai Namco  
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2013 Namco Bandai Namco  
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2013 Namco Bandai Namco  
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2013 Namco Bandai Namco  
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2014 Namco Bandai Namco  
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2016 Namco BNSI  
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2023 Namco Hamster  
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Namco  
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JP 4 907898 000056
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Title
One of Namco's best
Galaga isn't only an improvement over Galaxian, it flat out makes its predecessor obsolete. This is no joke. Galaga is takes everything from Galaxian and makes it better. The sounds, sprites, designs, difficulty curve and mechanics are all a massive step up. The only thing that is a step down is the name. Galaxian just has a better ring to it than Galaga.

Like I said, Galaga is essentially Galaxian 2.0. It follows the same premise. The player is a ship that shoots alien invaders; a premise nearly every shmup follows. The real fun is in its details and gameplay. In Galaxian, every level started with the alien armada already assembled on screen. In Galaga, the armada flies in small squads you can shoot down making for a more engaging and interactive introduction. The sprites are also much brighter than in Galaxian making them pop more for the player. There's a larger variety of enemies that all act differently from one another giving a new level of variety that wasn't present in Galaxian . Some make different sounds when shot down. The sound effects are far less grading. The main theme is also a joy to hear. I'd say it's almost on par with Pac-Man. The ship you control is much quicker and you are now able to fire two shots on screen rather that just one. The shots themselves are also faster.

With the improvements stated above, this game already is better than its predecessor. But that's not all. Perhaps the biggest improvement Galaga makes is its accessibility or rather its difficulty curve. With the ship being much easier to control, it made the game much easier to get good at making the skill curve and difficulty more manageable. Even better, the extra life system has an extra perk to it. One of the enemy variants has a tractor beam equipped. It is used to capture the ship you play as and if it captures you, it counts as a lost life, but that ship isn't destroyed. If you have a spare life, you can rescue that ship you just lost by shooting down the enemy who took it when it charges. You will then be able to dual wield ships and fire double the projectiles. The only downside now is that you're a bigger target and will lose this power up if you aren't careful. There are also bonus levels where you shoot down strings of moving enemies who don't fight back for bonus points.

As much as I praise this game, there are some drawbacks worth mentioning. First, while the added mechanics and enemy behaviors do help with adding depth to the gameplay, especially at a time when games offered everything they had in the first level, it still is nothing compared to later games in the shmup genre. The background is also very bland and uninteresting. It's not like this was that big of a deal back then because both of this game's predecessors had black stock backgrounds. I could also imagine this game getting really stale after a while.
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Joe_Kloos 2022-02-10T00:51:12Z
2022-02-10T00:51:12Z
3.5
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I've always had a pension for "retro games". I grew up in the PS2/Gamecube console generation, but I've always took the effort to play out older titles. The furthest I would go back to when seeking out these older games was the NES era as anything else beforehand seemed way to primitive to me. I respected these games for their place in video game history, but everything about them from the levels, progression, graphics, sound design, etc. was far too rudimentary to hold my attention. For some reason, Galaga was the only game from the pre-NES era that was an exception. In my hometown, the pub down the street had an arcade machine with Pac-Man, Galaga, Dig Dug, and Pole Position. It was it's own Namco Museum. Galaga was the only one of these games I would ever bother playing. Galaga was a cut above it's contemporaries.

Galaga still has plenty of dated aspects that I am not a huge fan of. I'm just not a big fan of arcade style games because of their design. Instead of a progressive experience, the goal is to rack up a high score and drain the player of their pocket change by proxy. Galaga is designed like this but I suppose I can't fault the game too much. This was just par for the course at the time. No one could even fathom that video games could even have save points at the time. It just feels tedious working your way back up from the beginning of a game after coming so far. In Galaga's case, that aspect doesn't matter as much and I can't quite pinpoint why. I guess it's because level 1 is just as enjoyable as level 20.

Galaga also feels like an overall stepping stone to other video games at the time. Compared to other early 1980's arcade games, the sound design, graphics, and gameplay seem vastly superior. Galaga has a memorable theme that puts the fun, galactic mood on full display. The constant blaster noises never get irritating and all of the other sounds in the game are just as pleasant. The graphics are an improvement on the overall early 1980's video game aesthetic because you can actually tell what everything is. The enemy spaceships kind of look like an array of bugs, but perhaps that is supposed to be the case because it's consistent across every enemy type. The way that the enemies explode in a cloud of pixels is also very alluring. The way your spaceship blows up looks really cool as well.

Galaga is also a very simple game, but that is the appeal. It's a space shooter where you shoot at enemy spaceships until the enemy spaceships destroy you. The space shooter genre just works so well in simplicity and Galaga perfected what Space Invaders laid out. The controls are a bit rigid, but it never really becomes a problem. The coolest thing about Galaga is that it might have pioneered the in-game secret. A certain type of enemy can abduct your ship and when he does this, you can shoot at down to regain your old ship and use two ships at once. Was this the first video game secret ever? Did every kid that figured this out have their minds fucking blown by this? Either way, this extra step in innovation proves my point about Galaga.
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Erockthestrange 2017-07-21T20:29:00Z
2017-07-21T20:29:00Z
7.0
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Galaga is a retro shooting game, similar to Space Invaders but slightly more advanced. The first time I experienced this game was during the loading screens of Tekken, although this doesn't seem as good as I remember.

The gameplay seems fairly slow, and annoyingly; your attacks often go between the gaps of enemies. The enemies fly in from the lower parts of the screen, and move into a space invader formation. Then they begin to break in waves to attack you. Their flight paths aren't linear; they often spiral around, making them hard to hit. Once they reach the bottom screen, they will re-enter from the top.

Most of the initial levels just seem slight variants of the same pattern of enemies so it all seems too familiar, even over a few plays. When I got a bit better at the game, I found myself frustrated that it feels like a lot of effort to go through the first several levels, then you can find yourself losing a few lives too easily. You only have a few lives, so it quickly becomes "Game Over" and then you are back to replaying the first several levels.
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CaptainClam 2019-08-02T18:00:16Z
2019-08-02T18:00:16Z
2.0
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Galaga is a pretty decent arcade game that is mildly fun, its an improvement over the original Space Invaders and this game actually provides decent challenge. At the same time it is really repetitive and minimal but I suppose that's just a symptoms of the arcade era where games had no stories and gameplay was very limited to usually a single screen and basic enemies with simple AI.
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jweber14 2017-07-21T21:39:42Z
2017-07-21T21:39:42Z
3.5
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It perfected the Galaxian formula. What can I say? It just added some more complex flying patterns to spice things up a bit, adding bonus rounds, and the graphics are cute as always, but it's essentially Galaxian: The Update.

You HAVE to check out Gaplus if you want to see the next level.
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Clownboss 2016-07-23T19:40:27Z
2016-07-23T19:40:27Z
3.5
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Shooty shooty
Its obviously very impressive for the time, but playing it now i feel that im just playing a more polished version of space invaders. Then again pretty much all smups were dereivative of that title. This one features a higher intensity and balances it out by giving the player better weapons. Its has aged pretty well actually, it controls well, has decent sounds and feels satisfying when you beat a level. That said, on one side im not the biggest fan of this genre, and on the other there have definitly been major improvements in the genre that leaves this one feeling a bit too empty, dull and basic. Decent game.
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Threntall 2016-06-16T11:58:20Z
2016-06-16T11:58:20Z
2.5
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Catalog

flaviodnz1 Galaga: Demons of Death 2023-02-03T15:49:49Z
NES • XNA
2023-02-03T15:49:49Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
🏆 Achievements: RetroAchievements
flaviodnz1 セガ・ギャラガ 2023-02-03T15:49:26Z
SG-1000 • JP
2023-02-03T15:49:26Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
🏆 Achievements: RetroAchievements
flaviodnz1 Galaga 2023-02-03T15:46:20Z
Atari 7800 • XNA
2023-02-03T15:46:20Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
🏆 Achievements: RetroAchievements
flaviodnz1 Galaga 2023-02-03T15:45:45Z
Arcade • US
2023-02-03T15:45:45Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
📘 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die 🏆 Achievements: RetroAchievements
coolhand Galaga 2023-02-03T03:03:35Z
2023-02-03T03:03:35Z
3.5
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Vainx Galaga 2023-02-02T08:38:04Z
2023-02-02T08:38:04Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
sappukei Galaga 2023-01-19T06:00:03Z
2023-01-19T06:00:03Z
4
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
cutoffs Galaga 2023-01-17T23:47:11Z
2023-01-17T23:47:11Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
nibbish Galaga 2023-01-17T22:36:59Z
2023-01-17T22:36:59Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
ariyorke Galaga 2023-01-13T22:12:11Z
2023-01-13T22:12:11Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Zippybing Galaga 2023-01-13T07:17:41Z
Arcade • US
2023-01-13T07:17:41Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
ARCADE40
chikin Galaga 2023-01-04T04:07:49Z
2023-01-04T04:07:49Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  

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  • violetinreal 2021-05-07 03:11:09.697396+00
    how did they make a game this fun in 1981
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  • scoobydoo19 2021-12-22 18:27:05.573352+00
    this game goes hard
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  • neetrain 2022-01-17 07:24:37.194792+00
    how did they make a game this fun in 1981 [2]
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  • Clownboss 2022-07-17 01:31:06.733121+00
    Score: 57,760pts
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