Hi everybody, Mr. Glitch here with another classic game review!
Today I'm reviewing Galaga 90 for the TurboGrafx 16. Galaga 90 is an amazingly faithful port of the arcade game Galaga 88, released at a time when most arcade ports were still pretty sub-par. Like its predecessor Galaga, Galaga 90 is a vertical shooter that pits you against wave after wave of space bugs that fly into a formation and then attack you a few at a time. As before, the Boss Galagas can capture your fighter in a tractor beam, and you can recover it to double your firepower. However, in Galaga 90, you can allow your double-fighter to be captured, and (assuming you have any ships left in reserve) recover it to form a badass bug-blastin' triple ship! It's no wider than the double-fighter, but it packs a lot more firepower.
Power-ups are few and far between, with the exception of the blue canisters. Collecting one makes you briefly invincible, and collecting two will send you into a "dimensional warp" at the end of the level. Higher dimensions contain different-looking and harder enemies which are worth more points. This unique dimensions system gives you the choice of coasting through the entire game at a low difficulty, or risking the higher difficulties, earning a bigger score and gaining extra lives more frequently.
In addition to the new strategic elements, Galaga 90 also adds a bit of whimsey to Galaga's formula. Enemies will explode in a shower of fireworks sparks or pop like overinflated balloons. The bonus stages are now musical interludes that feature the space bugs dancing in time to terrific chiptune waltzes, tangos and jitterbugs. Frankly, it's a shame to shoot the little suckers--and if you don't, you'll earn the "secret bonus." There are even a couple of boss battles, wherein you fight a super-sized version of one of that dimension's regular baddies.
Galaga 90 is a terrific shooter, and a real stand-out on a game system known for its terrific space shooters. Its graphics are vibrant and colorful, its music is catchy as hell, and its gameplay is challenging without being frustrating. If you're a Galaga fan, you owe it to yourself to pick this game up. It's available on the Wii's Virtual Console, and its arcade progenitor can be had on iOS devices as part of the Galaga 30th Anniversary Collection.
Thanks for reading my review! Next week, we descend to the depths of the Cosmic Chasm!