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3D Galaxy Force II Review

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On 01/28/2014 at 12:00 PM by Nick DiMola

A Star Fox clone this is not.

Only for those with nostalgia for the original release or a longstanding curiosity to try it out, sans its incredible cabinet.

Looks can be deceiving, particularly in the case of 3D Galaxy Force II. After watching a bit of footage of the game, I thought I was in for a fantastic Star Fox-like experience, piloting through space, taking down enemies and battling epic bosses at the conclusion of each level. While these are things you’ll do throughout the game, it never exhibits the finesse of the Star Fox series and the imprecise controls ensure that most players aren’t going to get much out of this particular 3D Classic.

From what I’ve come to learn of Galaxy Force II, it was originally released in the arcade with quite the set up. Players took a seat in its giant cabinet, which would move and shake based on the action happening within the game. The appeal there is quite clear; regardless of the quality of the actual gameplay, you’re likely to enjoy the pure novelty of the experience. When you extract the game from its fancy arcade presence, the majority of its appeal is also revoked.

Like the Star Fox games, players are automatically propelled through the sky (or space) to destroy exotic enemies across distinct worlds with either their limited missiles or unlimited blaster. An ever-depleting energy gauge lines the bottom of the screen, creating a sense of urgency to complete the level as quickly as possible. Every hit sustained depletes that gauge more rapidly and running out of energy means Game Over. Defeating enemies will build up a separate energy meter that only refills the main meter at certain key points in some of the levels and when the entire level is completed.

Given the system in place, it’s extremely difficult to reach the end of Galaxy Force II. The imprecise controls make it extremely tough to defeat enemies and with limited lock-on missiles it’s very hard to build up enough extra energy to finish everything. Like Shinobi III, M2 has cooked in all sorts of modifications to the core game that make it more palatable, but even with these benefits it’s still tough. And unlike Shinobi III, the additions don’t make the game fundamentally better.

At its standard settings I couldn’t even get past the second level, so it’s clear this arcade was a quarter-muncher and from what I’ve seen the rest of the game’s design is built with the same idea in mind. Though many arcade games can be remedied with “unlimited quarters,” Galaxy Force II doesn’t fit that mold. It’s unfortunate, because the game looks great, especially in 3D.

This is one of those arcade revivals that’s neat to see, but ultimately has very limited value. Unless you’ve got some sort of nostalgia for Galaxy Force II or longstanding curiosity, you’re better off skipping this 3D Classic.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



Jamie Alston Staff Writer

01/28/2014 at 12:10 PM

Yeah, this game has quarter mucher written all over it.  I still have fun playing it on MAME though.  Spactacular graphics for its time.

Chris Iozzi Staff Alumnus

02/05/2014 at 10:36 PM

I have an over pouring of nostalgia for this game and I think the 3D-ified version is incredible. I played the huge motorized arcade version back in the day and also the Saturn import version is incredible. The Saturn could push all those 2D scaling sprites no problem, but I bet the PSX would have quite a struggle with it. I can see why someone without the nostalgia may not like it, but I think it rocks.

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