E3 2008: Galaga Legions Hands-On

We had a blast with this reinvigorated space shooter for Xbox Live Arcade.

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Of all the Xbox Live Arcade games on display at E3 2008, Galaga Legions is the most surprising. That is, until you find out that it has been developed by the same Namco Bandai team that completely reenergized Pac-Man in the impressive Xbox Live Arcade title, Pac-Man Championship Edition. That game was no fluke; these guys are pros at reinvigorating classic games, and they've applied their restorative powers to Galaga.

Sure, you still pilot a ship from a top-down perspective while swarms of enemies descend upon you. But now there are two major differences. The first is the presence of satellites. You have two of these handy-dandy gadgets. To place one, you simply flick the right stick in whichever direction you want it to face and shoot. To place another, simply flick the right stick again. As you continue to flick, your oldest of two satellites will disappear to be replaced by the new one. Though you can only shoot upward, these satellites can fire in four directions and can be deployed on the fly with a minimum of effort. The result is a completely new tactical layer and a whole new galaxy of tactical potential.

This is compounded by the fact that before the swarms of enemy ships fly onto the screen, you'll see trails indicating their paths. Not only are these intersecting lines cool to look at, but they also let you anticipate the enemy paths and set your satellites accordingly. Then you simply move to a place without any lines and clean up the stragglers. Of course, if a huge mass of enemies get by your well-placed traps, it's time to get defensive. Place your new satellites, and then draw the swarm over and over into their lines of fire to survive.

We played through a single chaotic level and barely survived to the end only to discover we'd beaten the tutorial. The next level was level one. This is excellent news, because we had a great time. And chances are if you dig a tutorial, you're really going to like the game it leads to. Look for this space ace to land on Xbox Live Arcade later this summer.

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