Galaga: Destination Earth is a modern re-imagining of the classic Namco arcade game, Galaga, developed by British studio King of the Jungle and published by Hasbro Interactive for the PlayStation and Windows in 2000.
The game has nine different stages, each consisting of several waves/phases, and begins with an overhead, almost 2D interpretation of the Galaga theme, which may initially feel a little underwhelming, although this – I believe – is a deliberate attempt to sucker-punch you with the second phase of the first stage. Once you’ve cleared the first phase your ship approaches a debris field and the view transitions to a third-person, into-the-screen viewpoint, which is much more impressive-looking.
Galaga: Destination Earth actually uses a variety of viewpoints and as the game progresses you quickly realise that the attack patterns dictate the perspective of the action; some stages are overhead vertical (Gamma stages), some are side-scrolling (Delta stages), and others are third-person (Alpha stages). Occasionally you even get to sit inside a turret, in first-person, and blast the enemy, which is neat – if a little static compared to the rest of the game.
The aim of each stage also varies depending on the attack pattern and this is briefly explained as the phases begin (and you’d be remiss to ignore or miss these messages). In mission zones you have to collect a certain number of escape pods within a set time limit (if you fail to do that the stage will end and re-start from the beginning, so it’s wise to concentrate on the mission in hand rather than simply shooting stuff). In challenge stages you have to try to destroy all enemy ships – if possible – and the more you destroy the more bonus points you earn.
Similar to the original Galaga you can also capture a second – or a third ship – to act as your wing men. If a tractor beam ship is destroyed a green cube will come out of it, and if you collect this green cube it will then allow you capture an enemy ship to act as a wing men for you, at least until they are destroyed by enemy fire. You can also collect ranking stars (to boost your rank), extra smart bombs, and extra lives, by flying into them as you progress.
The cut sequences in Galaga: Destination Earth are a bit crappy, but the in-game action is pretty good. The stages are a little short in places and although the graphics are generally very good overall the action does seem to repeat a bit in certain places (the third-person levels in stage one kept repeating the same three or four debris fields over and over for me, which I noticed). Some stages, like the Saturn Mining Colony, are quite spectacular though.
Galaga: Destination Earth seems to be aimed more at the mainstream gamer, rather than the hardcore arcade gamer, which is a little disappointing, but it’s not a bad game overall. I quite enjoyed playing it.