Posted on June 22nd, 2009 5 comments
Release Date: 7/15/88
Price: 4900 yen
Media: HuCard (2 Mbit)
PC Engine FAN Score: 23.06 / 30.00
Kōgien: “An upgraded Space Invaders-type game, but one with a lot of depth. The power-up system, where you rescue and join with fighters captured by the enemy, is in this game as well. A passable arcade port.”
Namco’s second PCE game, and another well-done arcade port that would’ve been perfect if the staff had just a little more than 2 megabits of space to work with. (The PCE port lacks a fair bit of animation and the interstitial alien cutscenes, but includes a hidden “Second Quest” of sorts that has different endines and power-ups dropped by enemies. Access it by holding Up and pressing Run on the title.)
Galaga ’88’s Wikipedia page is remarkably detailed and more complete than even the Japanese-language one. To it I’ll only add that the PCE port plays very close to the arcade, as close as is really possible given the comparatively cramped screen. (The home game is a bit more difficult than the 1987 original simply because the horizontal TV screen means there’s less empty space between you and the aliens.) Like Yōkai Dōchūki, the game’s from the golden age of Namco — nearly every one of their System 1 arcade titles have a lovely, refined, avant-garde audiovisual sense that is like nothing games saw before or since.
(In many ways Namco valued style just as much as gameplay during this era. You can see this in the bonus stages, where you get just as many bonus points for just sitting there and enjoying the Galactic Dancin’ as you would’ve received for a perfect performance.)
More console-recorded super playing. Take a look at this video if you don’t what I’m talking about in the previous paragraph. Then take a look at the X68000 port, which has an exclusive Arrange Mode with Namco characters of all sorts making cameo appearances.
(Buttons I and II both fire in Galaga ’88, making rapid fire easy and also kind on the fingers.)