Note: This review was done using original Turbografx 16 hardware without emulation.
Above: One reason why the Turbografx 16 failed in the US is because all their box art resembles Mega Man 1 or NES black box artwork. Why NEC, why!?
Galaga ’90 is the western version of Galaga ’88. Galaga ’88 is an arcade port of the game of the same name. The question everyone has on his or her minds is one thing: does it get the Malstrom Award, the award given to legendary games that never age? Let’s find out!
Galaga, itself, is a classic like Pac-Man. While Galaga is an improvement on Space Invaders to take such gameplay further in more interesting was, Galaga ’90 does the same thing to Galaga.
First, you have a choice. You can choose to fly one ship or you can choose to fly two ships linked together. The two ships linked will give you double fire power but easier to hit. You also have one less life going this way.
Like in Galaga, your ship can be captured and retaken to have two ships with twice the firepower. But you can now get three ships linked together!
Above: I don’t think that song appears in the game. hahaha
Galaga ’90 goes through your usual formation of aliens, but there are scrolling stages (with asteroids) as well as boss fights. There are multiple paths to go through in this game. These are triggered if you take dimensional rifts. The game also keeps track of your accuracy too and, at the game over screen, will show you the path you took, how far you got, and how many of your shots hit.
Above: This is an excellent and thorough review of the game.
Folks, I don’t even like Galaga, but I LOVE GALAGA ’90. I do not know what it is. The visuals and music lack that ‘oomph’ that other games on the Turbografx 16 have, but in a way that is also refreshing as that ‘oomph’ is part of that decade. Galaga ’90 is timeless and transcends the time it was made. This doesn’t feel like a 1990 game, it feels like a great game… just like Pac-Man does or even classic Galaga. If Galaga is a Super Mario Brothers for shmups, Galaga ’90 would be the Super Mario Brothers 3 for it. It hits everything that Galaga does and raises the level.
When you first play the game, you will wonder what the fuss is about. It seems so… quiet. But as we all know, shmups and arcade games are not games you play once and expect to have the full experience. Multiple plays will reveal the genius of the highly crafted gameplay. The gameplay in this game is extremely well done.
I think Galaga ’90 is not just one of the best games in the TG 16 library, it is one of the top games of ALL consoles’ libraries. This is the pinnacle of classic Galaga gameplay. What can compare, reader? What can compare? People will still be playing this game fifty years from now. (It is already 28 years old)
One major retro game reviewer had this to say of the game: “it is so extraordinary that it pretty much justifies buying a whole Turbografx 16 system.”
The quality is also is a breath of fresh air in its charm and gameplay on a system super-saturated with shmups. So yes, it gets the Malstrom Award for being a legendary game that never ages.
Above: Galaga ’90 gets the Malstrom Seal of Approval. The game is timeless!
-TG 16 Games Reviewed So Far-
Malstrom Awards: (Addictive and Awesome even today, they refuse to age. Score of 10)
Devil’s Crush (Imaginative sound and theme. You’ll keep coming back to this one.)
Galaga ’90 (It is to shmups what SMB3 is to platformers: gaming perfection.)
Gradius (Four options can cause slowdown, but this arcade port remains difficult and legendary.)
R-type (Never gets old because it can never be beaten. Fun to try here and there.)
Honorable Mentions: (Good games that are flawed or gameplay has suffered aging. Score of 6-9)
(7) Alien Crush (Interesting, addictive, but flawed. Good to play as a break to Devil’s Crush)
(6) Bonk’s Adventure (Meh platformer oozes incredible charm)
Don’t bother: (Not that fun to play today. Score of 5 and below.)
(5) Neutopia (boring, bad game design, can’t hold a candle to Zelda, fire wand is only thing going for this game)
(4) Ninja Gaiden (Compared to NES: worse sound and controls, terrible parallax scrolling. Nothing to see here.)
(3) Street Fighter 2: Champion Edition (2 button controller is terrible for 6 button game. Good luck getting a 6 button controller.)