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.