E3 2011: Galaga Legions DX Hands-On Preview

We check out a handful of levels from Namco Bandai's colorful and inventive shooter.


Galaga Legions DX

Remember how Pac-Man Championship Edition DX reinvented Pac-Man in a major way last year? Well now Namco Bandai is looking to do the same thing with Galaga. Slated for release later this year, Galaga Legions DX is an enhanced version of Galaga Legions, which was released back in 2008. At first glance, the upcoming game could easily be mistaken for its predecessor. Before each wave of enemies, lines appear on the screen to telegraph the routes that enemies are going to take around the screen, and those lines are immediately followed by colored boxes that indicate said enemies' starting positions. These visually pleasing effects certainly make it easier for you to position yourself prior to the enemies' arrival, but even if you're not familiar with the 2008 game, you might still find yourself unprepared for what happens next.

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The most obvious difference between Galaga Legions DX and Galaga Legions is that where the previous game only let you shoot vertically while using satellites that fired horizontally to reach otherwise inaccessible enemies, the upcoming game is a dual-stick shooter. You move your ship with the left analog stick and fire in any direction with the right, and you use the right shoulder button to switch satellite modes. In this way you can choose to either focus all of its fire in one direction or split it into three, depending on the situation.

Like its predecessor, Galaga Legions DX throws a lot of enemies onscreen at once; so many that at times you're literally surrounded by them and only able to move into pockets of space that you've created with your guns. Seeing dozens upon dozens of enemies flying around the screen simultaneously can be intimidating at first, but that changes when you notice that there are a handful of larger enemies among them. Destroying one of these leaders and minibosses invariably causes a chain reaction that takes out a large number of the smaller enemies, and in some stages you're even presented with snakelike formations of enemies that can be taken out simply by targeting the large enemy that serves as the snake's head.

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Although we had an opportunity to play through only a handful of levels, we're told that Galaga Legions DX will boast significantly more content than the previous game, split across no fewer than 12 distinct modes. We're also told that it will be possible to switch between a number of different retro and modern visual styles when playing. We look forward to checking those out and to bringing you more information on this promising reinvention of a classic shooter in the weeks and months ahead.

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