#141 Galaga ’88

Posted: 11th January 2021 by Jeroen in Games
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922nd played so far

Genre: Shoot ‘Em Up
Platform: Arcade
Year of Release: 1987
Developer: Namco
Publisher: Namco/Atari Games

We’ve had a lot of games in the Space Invaders mold already, including the original Galaga which updated the basic game by adding in swooping in, changing formations. They are some interesting games, and I believe the Galaga formula really helped make the genre more interesting. Galaga ’88 will update these further and I wonder how, exactly, it was updated for 1988.

Our Thoughts

Galaga ’88 clearly builds on the formula of the series so far. It obviously still has the waves that come in one after the other, with a good early chance to attack, and taking out what you can. As a formula, that stays as good as it can be. It did feel a lot harder – while the non-linear progression is a nice idea, the game is harder and I couldn’t get quite as far myself.

There’s one saving grace with this difficulty that both made the game easier and made it feel more interesting. You can get a dual fighter, in which case you are basically playing with two linked ships. It doubles your fire power and effectively gives you an extra life, with only one fighter disappearing when you get hit. It makes the game easier, while you’re still strategizing to make the best use of the double fighter. It’s a pretty neat twist and adds enough to make it a good game.

Final Thoughts

Sure, Galaga ’88 may not push the boat out that far. It has some decent backgrounds, but doesn’t necessarily step it up miles when it comes to the sprites. The gameplay mostly stays the same, but the double fighter does enough to push it a bit further. Unfortunately, the difficulty is also higher (I suspect as a general trend for sequels in the arcade, where you wanted to get more out of your players), but it feels like the evolution could have been nicer.