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Galaxian Review

Developer: Atari Publisher: Atari
Release Date: March 8, 1983 Also On: None

Once upon a time, there was a game called Space Invaders. Space Invaders was a very popular arcade game, then it got ported to the Atari 2600 and virtually put the console on the map. It was, therefore, only a matter of time before Space Invaders would be cloned, and the result was Galaxian.

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The concept behind Galaxian is simple. There are rows of ships floating back and forth at the top of the screen. Unlike in Space Invaders, they do not drop down at all. Rather, small groups of them will periodically break formation and fly to the bottom of the screen kamikaze-style. These are the only ships that can fire at you, and they can kill you either by running into you or by shooting you. Your objective is to destroy all of them before they manage to destroy you. This process repeats and gets steadily more difficult until you lose.

Aesthetically, Galaxian isn’t a bad game. It’s color scheme is certainly more involved than that of most Atari 2600 games. Then again, it was released in 1983, so that is to be expected. The pixels for the game are also smaller than those in most Atari 2600 games, and the ships are fairly detailed for Atari 2600 standards. Like most Atari 2600 games, there is no music, and this game doesn’t even boast a title screen like some that were before it. The sound effects get the job done okay though.

So far as gameplay is concerned, the ship at the bottom of the screen controls well. You can only move left and right, and you can only have one shot on the screen at a time, meaning that if you are firing at something at the top of the screen, you’ll have to wait a second or two before you can fire again. But a lot of games were like that in this era.

In terms of replay value, you’re looking at a game where the only real replay value comes from trying to beat your high score. But this game is entertaining enough that you just may want to do that a bit. The gameplay doesn’t seem overly dated today (other than the lack of rapid fire), and this game is easily as fun now as it would have been then. If you are a fan of the Atari 2600, this is a game to look for.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 6
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 7.1
Written by Martin Review Guide