Retro Review: Galaga Destination Earth (Sony PlayStation)

Review-Galaga-Destination-EarthThere's a late period in every consoles life that speaks in volumes at what it has achieved. This achievement is an archive, a backlog, parsonage to what has come and gone. For every great game released under the consoles life there is inevitably an average fleet of titles shouldering about on the shelves looking to bolster the systems catalogue fortunes in a way that only budget titles can. No more so than can be explained in the demise of a games console, we always encounter a fair amount of cheap titles over compensating for the lack of big budget adventures.

These games appear in various forms, be it a incarnation of a previous systems much loved game or simply something odd, rather unhinged and blatantly rushed to make the systems life still have meaning. It's kind of embarrassing for a start. Let's take for example the PlayStation. It was obvious by the millennium that Sony's grey box of illusion had done its job and it was time to usher in something smoother. Productive stance had shifted to developers looking to new world, developing game engines and creating demonstrations on what could now be achieved going forward into the next century.

With all the hype, excitement and fluidity of this transition happening before our eyes, some developers still wanted a slice of the grey box. An example of a supposedly budget title would be Galaga Destination Earth. Ok, so assuming that Galaga was never 'budget' and Namco & Hasbro decided to really push the boundaries of 3D shooter re-imaging, the game could have been a positional contender for the 'later is better' award. The truth is budget or not – Galaga Destination Earth feels extremely low cast in the PlayStation shooter spectrum. It's worth noting that attention to some kind of gameplay and story inactive have surface here, but it doesn't require a gaming genius to understand that the game feels a lot like its not trying to be Galaga. If for instance, R-Type was reimaged in the same style as the normal arcade Galaga, it wouldn't have worked. R-Type(s) was done implacably well. It balanced a shift in direction for the series but didn't over ride the originals distinctive format. Yes, it didn't exactly light up the shooter market but for fans at least, it worked as a change but without being an understudy of its former glory. Galaga DE on the other hand should've stayed in the past all things considering.

Don't fix something that's not already broken...

It's a true case of missing identity. Galaga Destination Earth doesn't know what its meant to be or who it's for. Palatable by misunderstanding, its lost is soul and with it the direction of its intention. It's playable, but lacks the conviction carried over from its former self. When shooters decide to parry over different styles of one genre, it can go horridly in its favour. The top down view is favourable and does its job in winning the player over in what was originally 'Galaga'. It controls merely the same as any top down frantic shooter from the arcade coin swallowing days. The one exception has to be the PlayStation controller which doesn't have the reaction times down to the wire like waggling away at a stick would.

The second format of gameplay is side scrolling. The idea that lends itself to frantic true style top down action doesn't translate well when it suddenly shifts over to subdue side scrolling mediocrity. It's like having the quarter-pounder cheese burger you were just munching on taken away form you whilst you weren't looking and in its stead someone replaced the burger with a tin of pineapple. You don't have a tin opener. You wanted burger. But, you are hungry so you find a way to cope with it. As you are about to open the pineapple through sheer determination, someone steals that from under your nose and places and microwave fish pie ready meal. In this case it's a 3D style shooter with a Star Fox complexion. Changing a game's format throughout the experience isn't anything new or revolutionary but with Galaga Destination Earth it's an astonishingly good example of unhinged identity. Call this boy old-fashioned but this approach rarely works.

Scrapping through nine levels of changing formats isn't fun. Whilst the game is trying to retain the shooter vibe, it's also shooting its self in the foot. The nine levels are sub categorized into stages. It's whilst travelling through these nine stages that the perspective of the game switches - Space invaders, then R-Type then finally Star Fox. The game almost retains original Galaga elements as where enemies will attack in waves and clutter the screen in chaos. However this original style of thinking does not convert well over to the different perspectives.A great example of this would the enemy. The 3D perspective of the game still has vast waves of aliens floating around the player's ship like a wasp trying to make love to an ice cream. The difference between the top down view and the 3D perspective is that you actually see the enemy ships direction in the top down gameplay. Once it transfers to the new wave fandango way of playing, 3D, the ships just simply leave the screen with absolutely no way of telling when they will re-appear. One hundred percent of the time the ships will smash directly into the player's side, causing frustration and annoyance. Three continues and no save feature add to the annoyance of the game due it's longevity along with some rather dumb yet semi laugh out loud moments that defy logic. Once a mission has been complete, the computer decides it's taking over. You pretty much end up watching the transition to a new stage with the pilot being the PlayStation. Seems logical, like a stop gap, a break. No, the ship can still take damage and the computer obviously get's beat at its own game proving that there's something very wrong.

Galaga Destination Earth (PlayStation) Gameplay

 

Conclusion

Galaga Destination Earth is completely void of any love what so ever. You can tell instantly that at some point during production there was a glimmer of hope, visually it had promise. But along the way what really happened was that the people involved simply didn't understand what direction this game was going in. No two player mode, terrible sound bites, musical interaction doesn't exist, flickering and an uncontrollably sub sequential logic shoots this old timer in the knees. As it's been said many a time before and will be said many more times to come, don't fix what's not broke. In fact, don't bother trying to improve something that's deemed working already.


Last Updated ( 19 February 2016 )  
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