Title Deluxe Galaga (AGA) Programmer Edgar M. Vigdal, PD Game Type Shoot-em-up Players 1 or 2 Compatibility AGA HD Installable Yes Submission Joona Palaste (firstname.lastname@example.org) Profiled Reviewer Review This is truly a game that deserves the praise of "a Shareware game which is better than many commercial games". Not since Xenon 2 have I seen a shoot-em-up game that was this addictive, and it's all downloadable for free. But what exactly is this wondrous game? First let's look back through history. In the transition from the 1970s to the 1980s, the games people were playing were simple and predictable shoot-em-ups like Space Invaders, which were a quick diversion, but soon became monotonous. In 1981, the Japanese company Namco released a coin-op called Galaga, which was a great leap forwards from Space Invaders. No longer did the aliens march leisurely and predictably left and right and then stepped down, practically lining up to be shot. No, they flew in formations of different shapes, and occasionally one or two of the aliens would make a solo flight and try to collide with the player, all the while shooting its tiny projectiles. Some of the aliens had tractor beams, which they used to scoop up the player's ship. If you had a life left, you could rescue your previous ship with the next one and double your firepower. This kept people hooked for years. Numerous Galaga clones have since appeared on both the Amiga and the PC, but none as reputable as this one: Deluxe Galaga. Born in October 1993 at the hands of the Norwegian programmer Edgar M. Vigdal, as the second of his "Deluxe" series (the first was Deluxe Pacman), the game was released to AmiNet, where it gained an excellent reputation and has since been greatly updated. I am reviewing Deluxe Galaga AGA v2.6B, the last public release of Deluxe Galaga. The game takes place over a whole host of levels (75, in fact). In each of these your task is simply to shoot all the aliens. Your ship is limited to horizontal movement at the bottom of the screen, while the aliens have full 2D freedom to fly wherever they please. Still, their attack patterns are predetermined and can be learnt pretty quickly. You start out in the game with only a small single-shot weapon but there are upgrades available for bigger guns like the triple shot or the strangely-named War.I.Plasma, as well as shields, extra lives and other stuff. These upgrades can be either left behind by dead aliens or bought at a shop which appears every time you complete a series of 4 levels. Getting a decent weapon is essential to survival past the first 10 or so levels, so it's good advice to always be on the look-out for more money. The aliens in the game are really diverse. There are 18 different graphical styles of aliens, some of which I have given nicknames like "taxis", "fans" or "flowers". (The "fans" in particular are quite tricky buggers!) Every one of these alien "species" has a set of 4 levels: Two normal attack waves, a mothership attack wave where the normal aliens are accompanied by a couple of bigger ones, and then either a "kamikaze" attack wave or a bonus level. The exceptions to this pattern are the really huge war cruisers which appear on levels 25, 50 and 75. While merely killing all the aliens on the normal 75 levels would be fun enough, there are two sub-games available: memory and meteor storm. In the memory sub-game, you have to turn over cards and match pairs, keeping all the pairs you find. (It is similar to the one in Super Mario III.) In the meteor storm sub-game, you fly at a frantic speed through a meteor shower, trying to avoid all the meteors. You can't shoot in this sub-game, so avoidance is your only chance of progress. The rewards for your progress are high scores, loads of money, and rank markers. Rank markers are left behind by the bigger aliens, and collecting 6 different ones advances you to the next rank, of which there are five. The only difference your rank makes is more fame in the High Scores list, though. Deluxe Galaga tries its best to look like a coin-op from the 1980s, and to this end it succeeds remarkably well. You'd be forgiven for reaching for your back pocket before you grab the joystick. The graphics are wonderfully 1980s styled, with loads of pretty colours. For the sound, you get a choice between sound effects (your typical 1980s shoot-em-up variety) or music, which you can choose yourself by loading your own ProTracker or MED modules into the game. I always use the music modules. The gameplay is about as basic as it gets, with no skills required beyond fast reactions. But this is exactly what you'll require from a 1980s-style shoot-em-up. All the extras such as the sub-games make the game even more polished. For good-quality blasting fun on even a lower-specced AGA Amiga, you simply can't go wrong with Deluxe Galaga. I've played it for years, and amassed a high score of over 51 million points (on Easy level, though). The only thing which I'm disappointed with is that Edgar M. Vigdal has stopped writing Amiga games, and as such this is as good as Deluxe Galaga will ever get. The enclosed documentation mentions a "super version" and development tools, neither of which I have ever seen. This is truly a shame, as this could have evolved into the perfect shoot-em-up game at the hands of die-hard enthuasists.