David Stanfield On September 23, 2008 at 11:45 am

Well the Summer of Arcade on XBLA has come and gone. We were all huddled around  our Xbox’s for 5 awesome weeks of consecutive gaming. The puzzle-solving fest of Braid, the 8 bit NES remake classic of Bionic Commando: Rearmed, the sequel to one of the most popular and oldest titles on XBLA with Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2, and the Award-winning studio The Behemoth brought some old time hack and slash with 4 player multiplayer with the all hand drawn Castle Crashers. But today I’m here to tackle the only game I left out of the list above and that’s the remake of an old time classic with Galaga Legions.

First off, Namco-Bandai has done this before; this is the same team who also gave us Pac-Man Championship Edition their first attempt at enhancing a remake for this generation of consoles using XBLA, and Pac-Man was still a cult favorite even given its new twist on the old formula.  What does Legions offer us this go around? We’ve got 12 Achievements for those who need to get an extra 200 gamer points and Leaderboards for the score crunchers who tackle the bulk of the game in the Single player modes, "Adventure" and "Championship".

"Adventure" and "Championship" offer five stages of enemy waves with a boss wave at the end of each area which get progressively harder as you advance from area to area. The order in which these areas are played is the same no matter of which mode you choose. The real difference is that Adventure is a continuous battle with lives and score carrying over for max scoring, and Championship is 1 area at a time with max lives. You’re going to need every life you have because you only have 1 hit and you’re dead. It may seem a little harsh and hey it’s a shooter, but you’re not without some help. On the mode menu I highly recommend the demo they include to help get familiar with how it all works.  It can give you a good head start on some of the many wave patterns you’re about to get yourself into and how to tackle them. Also there is a tutorial mode for some more basic instructions on how scoring works, the enemies’ weaknesses, and probably the main crutch and fun twist to the game: your 2 aces in the black hole of enemy hell, your satellites.

Satellites are you best friends…you get 2 of them; they are invincible and help you out more times than you think. While you can move freely around the entire screen shooting vertically, your little friends can be placed in a fixed position by using the right thumb stick in 1 of 4 positions: up, left, right, and down anywhere on screen. You can call them back by hitting the left bumper or flying over them. Trust me, this skill of placement and using it well will be so vital down the road, just you wait. When you become trapped or pinned down by enemy waves the satellite can help get you out of those crazy spots. There are no bombs or anything to kill everything on screen, but there is one nice power up you can get by shooting at black holes. After you activate it, it will gather up all the enemies that surround it and max out score and enhance you and your satellites with more firepower. You can lose your new found friends though so master that placement of everything and they can help you get farther down the road.

If you can stick it out and not break a few controllers, remain Zen and finish waves after wave of the endless amounts of ships, for each area there are some small hardcore rewards given in the form of new skins for your ship and the enemies, 1 per area cleared for the first 3 areas. You do begin the game with Original and Vintage. Each skin is based on other, older games in the series which isn’t that bad.

Now if you haven’t thought it already, yeah this game’s patterns and timing require a lot of memorization and, yes, you are going to die. This game has a somewhat steep learning curve at first. It’s just the way it is here folks, small steps leading to the goal of beating an area, sure you can hop on YouTube and find videos but what’s the real fun in that less your seriously losing it, but you just might.

This game is 800 points; I’m sure everyone would agree if it was 400 points sales would probably higher obviously and more folks would have jumped on it.  Everyone bought Castle Crashers at 1200 before all the patch bugs were fixed (I’m not downing the game here folks; it’s still great piece of work; I love those Knights and their friends too). But I feel this was catering to the folks who enjoyed Pac-Man: Championship Edition and the Shooter fans with the Ikaruga and Triggerheart Exelica types out there. Now we come to the best thing: I cannot stop raving about XBL marketplace. This is why demos are free. I really have to say get the demo first here with only 2 modes of really the same thing , it’s a great pick up and go game with a fair bit of replayability if you’re going for all 5 areas and score competitions amongst your friends on your leader boards, but some might not find that to be enough.

Speaking for myself, it may be short and sweet but I enjoy it and its Pac man predecessor and I’m glad I spent the points on both of them. Hopefully Namco will keep going with these fresh new retro remakes like New Rally X, Pole position, Dig Dug or something else to grasp my attention away from the other bigger mainstream titles coming out in the upcoming months.


Once you get used to the pick and go type controls you can slowly find the inner strategy using your 2 helpers by your side.


Well seeing as this isn’t the 80’s anymore, I believe Namco took good advantage of the updated visuals and those use of those skins for our generation.


New game, new updated music, keep you in the mood preparing for space war.


Awesome remake, easy to learn and just go with or for high score runs. New satilite twist is fun new mechanic. Not much in the way of modes/content might seem like a waste of money less you’re a hardcore retro shump fan.

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