Galaga Legions Hands On Impressions: Heavenly Galaga Hell

Microsoft and Namco Bandai are hoping that the future-retro success of the critically acclaimed Pac-Man Championship Edition can be repeated in another arcade classic, Galaga. The 27-year old vertical shooter is getting a proper update in Galaga Legions, a spectacular laser light show that blends "bullet hell" style gameplay with classic Galaga design.

It's pretty simple stuff on the surface. Move your ship anywhere on the screen with the left analog stick. With the right stick, you can place your ship's two satellite guns. These two guns can be dropped anywhere on the fly, with a quick tap in the direction you want the guns to autofire.

Your ship will autofire by default too, but you can choose to call your own shots with the right trigger. The point? Higher scoring bonuses. The whole mechanic makes a lot of sense and you'll need equal parts strategy, quick reflexes and pattern recognition to make it through all five areas.

Like the original Galaga, Legions throws wave after wave of enemy at the player. The formations are more varied in the XBLA update — those series of blue lines you see in the pictures draw on screen prior to each wave — and enemies can come from any direction at very high speeds. You'll have to quickly plan where your ship and your satellite guns should be to survive the crush of Galagas.

And like the original, you'll be able to add extra fighters to your assault team. This time, instead of the Galagas capturing your ship, you'll capture theirs. In some formations, a special freighter-style ship will appear. Shoot it, and the remaining Galagas will be absorbed and added to your forces. This addition of a few dozen fighters on your side of the screen adds a heaping help of chaos, but seeing the swarm of space bugs go after their former allies is awesome stuff.

Like Pac-Man Championship Edition, Galaga Legions looks to have copious replayability. It's not just a lovely looking freakshow, it's fun to play and a great example of how to update an old franchise.

Galaga Legions Hands On Impressions: Heavenly Galaga Hell

Galaga Legions Hands On Impressions: Heavenly Galaga Hell

Galaga Legions Hands On Impressions: Heavenly Galaga Hell

Galaga Legions Hands On Impressions: Heavenly Galaga Hell

Galaga Legions Hands On Impressions: Heavenly Galaga Hell