Tag Archives: space invaders

National Game Registry 1987: Galaga ’88

original platform

The 4th entry in the Galaxian/Galaga series with plenty of new gimmicks.

Galaga ’88 was inducted on August 17th, 2009.

Return to the National Game Registry to view more inductees.

National Game Registry Sidebar: Arcade Compilations

This article features the best console-based compilations of classic arcade games. The included collections were selected based partially on quantity of games and especially on quantity. Most of these compilations include around twenty games each but this article focuses only lists games of NGR-level quality.  Video game publishers love to milk their classic games with re-release after re-release, often spreading games from a single series across different retro collections.  The compilations buck this trend to some extent and provide the best overall value.

Capcom Classics Collection Boxshot

Capcom Classics Collection (PlayStation 2, Xbox)
There are only six NGR-worthy games in this collection but they’re of very high quality and rather lengthy by arcade standards.

1943: The Battle of Midway
-1943 Kai
Final Fight
Ghosts ‘n Goblins
Ghouls ‘n Ghosts
Street Fighter II
-Street Fighter II’ Champion Edition
-Street Fighter II’ Hyper Fighting

bonus: Rounding out the Ghosts ‘n Goblins package, the collection includes a the followingg SNES release:
Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts

Taito Legends (PlayStation 2, Xbox)
This compilation boasts a long list of games and enviable variety.

Bubble Bobble
Rainbow Islands
New Zealand Kids
Zoo Keeper
Super Qix
Plump Pop
Jungle Hunt
Space Invaders
-Space Invaders Part II
Return of the Invaders

Taito Legends 2 (PlayStation 2, Xbox)
Although not quite as strong as its predecessor, this collection features several great but relatively unknown games.

Majestic Twelve: Space Invaders Part IV
Space Invaders DX
Space Invaders ’95
The Fairyland Story
Don Doko Don
Liquid Kids
Bonze Adventure
Bubble Symphony (Xbox only)

Atari Anthology (PlayStation 2, Xbox)
A fairly comprehensive release featuring all of the classic pre-1984 Atari games that one would expect to see.

-Asteroids Deluxe
-Space Duel
Super Breakout
Missile Command

bonus: Dozens of Atari 2600 releases are also included, with ports of many of the above titles, plus the following highlights:

Yars’ Revenge

Midway Arcade Treasures (PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube)
In spite of the title, all of the best games in this collection were originally released by Williams and Atari Games, companies that were later absorbed by Midway.

Robotron 2084
Joust 2: Survival of the Fittest
Smash TV
Marble Madness

Namco Museum Virtual Arcade (Xbox 360)
This collection is rather comprehensive for Pac-Man and Galaga fans with the only glaring ommission being Gaplus.
Ms. Pac-Man
Super Pac-Man
Pac & Pal
Galaga ’88
King & Balloon
Dig Dug
Dig Dug II

bonus: The non-arcade content in this compilation is really impressive, including three update/sequels originally released in Namco Museum Battle for PSP as well as three sequels that debuted in Xbox Live Arcade.

Pac-Man Arrangement 2005
Dig Dug Arrangement 2005
Galaga Arrangement 2005
Pac-Man Championship Edition
Galaga Legions
Mr. Driller Online

Notes: With the exception of Atari Anthology, none of the Xbox releases are compatible with Xbox 360.

Xbox Live Arcade is also a hotbed of retro game sequels and remakes

I recently wrote about the Wii Ware retro sequels that appeal to me but there are even more on Xbox Live. Unlike goddamn Wii Ware, Xbox Live has DEMOS so I’ve actually played all of the games on this list that have been released. This list ONLY contains games that I have determined to be good and possibly worthwhile. This means that Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix will not be listed – it’s a good game but barely an update and probably worth $7, not $15. At the bottom of the list are some upcoming releases that interest me.

On several, previous occasions I claimed that one must have a paid membership to Xbox Live to buy download games.  NOT TRUE.  A free account membership gives one access to both paid games AND demos.


Prince of Persia Classic
$10, Gameloft/Ubisoft

I bought the full game and it’s great.  It’s a remake (in the true sense) of the original PoP.  The story is the same, the levels are similar but everything’s been made from scratch, with very different control mechanics.  The graphics are full 3D and based on the designs from the 2003-2005 PoP games.  I really recommend this one and it’s definitely worth the $10.

Bionic Commando Rearmed
$10, GRIN/Capcom

Another one that I bought – it’s sort of a remake of the NES Bionic Commando, but the levels are (mostly) different, there are many new features, bonus areas, the bosses are really wild, and the dialogue is hilarious.  The price is nice!

Pac-Man Championship Edition
$10, Namco Bandai

This game kinda started the recent trend of taking an old-ass game, keeping the old, pixellated sprites and enveloping it in neon effects and techno music.  This game is highly recommended for fans of the old Pac-Man games.  It has the same gameplay but somewhat more complicated and with many different modes.  A worthy release but at $10 it’s definitely overpriced.

Mega Man 9
$10, Inti Creates/Capcom

Just like the Wii version (which I’ve been playing lately).  It’s just like the NES Mega Mans but with some new – but not drastic – elements.  At $10 it’s a bit overpriced but it is long and challenging.

1942 Joint Strike
$10, Backbone/Capcom

I’ve only played the demo, which is fairly long, but it seems to be pretty tight.  It has a lot more variety than the original 1942 and has great boss fight action and a chase sequence.  I might buy it someday.

Space Invaders Extreme
$10, Backbone/Taito

This is actually a conversion of a DS and PSP release from 2008.  The Xbox Live version has improved visuals that might give you a seizure.  This game shows how effectively a really old formula can become fresh.  The action is much more intense than in the original with waves appearing right after the other and crazy boss fights.  Compared to $30 for the DS version, $10 isn’t too bad.

Galaga Legions
$10, Namco Bandai

Every Galaga sequel has some twist to bring the old fans back in and this is no exception.  Now you have 2 auto turrets that you can position and reposition to your heart’s delight all over the play field.  The action is non-stop.  Another one I may get someday.


The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition

Announced at E3, this game is a remake-from-scratch of the original Monkey Island.  It will have brand new graphics and full voiceover work with a complete overhaul of the command system.

Tales of Monkey Island
Telltale Games/LucasArts

On the heels of the Monkey Island remake comes a new episodic release developed by a team of former LucasArts adventure game folks.  It sounds interesting but I’m only tentatively excited mainly due to Telltale’s modus operandi: 1) they seem to be really hit or miss and 2) the game will be released in 5 installments, likely at $10 apiece.  God!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled

And now we have a 3D remake of the 1991 arcade hit, originally by Konami.  Not much is known but it seems interesting.

Metal Slug 7
SNK Playmore

Wow, I’m glad I didn’t waste $30 to buy this on DS last year!  It’ll probably only be $10 from Xbox Live.  Sweet.

National Game Registry 1980: Moon Cresta

original platform
key personnel
Shigeki Fujiwara

Moon Cresta‘s contribution to the space shooter genre is an absence of uniform behavior, with villains moving in maddeningly random patterns like leaves in a breeze. The star of the game is a large, powerful ship that detaches into three sections. The player begins with the fore section, rather small with only a single beam. If this section is destroyed, the middle section takes over, armed with two beams. Finally, the third section features two beams spread far apart. If the player can keep the sections intact through a few assault waves, an opportunity to combine some of them is offered in the form of a delicate docking maneuver, creating the ultimate weapon.

Moon Cresta was inducted on May 25th, 2009.

Return to the National Game Registry to view more inductees.

Wii Ware has suddenly become a hotbed of retro sequels

When Wii Ware was announced 2 or 3 years ago it was suggested that the service might offer brand new sequels to longtime franchises.  As of 2 weeks ago, over a year into the program, there were only 2 such games that interested me.  But a slew of releases over the last week, plus a couple of games coming very soon, seems to indicate that this potential is being fulfilled.  The best part of all this is that these games are cheap, BUT with a few unpleasant pricing surprises concerning add-ons.

MEGA MAN 9 (Capcom)
-downloadable content: endless attack stage $3, play as Proto Man $2, hard mode $1, super hard mode $1, extra time attack stage $1
-grand total if you want everything: $18

Capcom kind of got the whole retro sequels ball rolling for WiiWare with their ridiculous fanservice game, Mega Man 9, released last year.  It looks and plays just like the 6 NES Mega Man games, which I guess could be good or bad.  If you’re familiar with the old Mega Man games then there’s not much more to say about it.  The price point may have been slightly high considering the technical aspects and all those dumb extra downloads should have been included in the main release at no extra charge.  This is the only game in this article that I have downloaded as of 6/2/9.  I’ve only played it occasionally in short spurts without trying to beat the game so far.

-downloadable content: level 2 $5, level 3 $5, level 4 $5
-grand total for everything: $20

So this one is a mixed package.  Unlike the other games in this article, the gameplay is actually innovative for its series while being true to its theme and roots.  This time around, you get to play as the Invaders and destroy those places we all hate, like Paris.  The graphics aren’t nostalgic; instead featuring full 3D.  That $5 price point seems very nice but that’s only for the first level.  The three additional levels have to be downloaded separately for $5 apiece, which is pretty stupid.  I may just get the first level and destroy whatever I can.

BUBBLE BOBBLE PLUS (Taito/Square Enix)
-downloadable content: 50 level super mode $2, another 50 level super mode $2
-grand total if you want everything: $10

PLUS contains an upgraded remake of the original Bubble Bobble as well as a new 100 level arrange mode that allows for 4-PLAYER Bubble Bobble action.  For all of that, $6 is quite reasonable.  The expansions seem pretty reasonable, as well, offering another 100 total levels for only $4 more.

-downloadable content: to be determined

This game doesn’t hit the US until mid-June but it’s been released everywhere else already.  Unlike Bubble Bobble Plus, it messes with the Rainbow Islands formula a bit more, adding new playing mechanics and speed challenge levels.  The character designs are pretty different from previous games in the series, as well.  And the price is nice.

-downloadable content: a bunch of chapters
-grand total for everything: $37!

This one troubles me a bit.  It’s a sequel to FFIV and was even written by the dude that scripted the original.  However, this episodic content release method, plus the pricing, is just stupid.  Downloading all of the chapters will run you $37 and these chapters not just add-ons; the game is incomplete without them.  Considering we’re dealing with SNES-level graphics, this is definitely a ripoff.  I should expect as much from Square, which charged a whopping $40 for their DS Chrono Trigger port (with minimal upgrades and the same old SNES graphics).  I visted a message board for this game and all the fanboys were DEFENDING the price, even saying that spreading it out made it okay.  wtf?  Give me my fucking game now – not in pieces – and don’t rip me off.  Maybe in 15 years there will be WiiWare emulators.


This one snuck up on me and was a real surprise.  Unlike the other series in this post, Adventure Island has been mostly dormant (except for a Japan-only upgrade of the original installment) for 15 years.  And then BAM, a WiiWare sequel.  What I like about this game is that it seems to focus more on exploration than the earlier games.  Some of the environments look pretty nice and the price point is pretty decent.


Oh, kewl, a new Contra game.  It just came out in Japan a couple of weeks ago and there’s no US date announced yet.  The graphics are 2D but more advanced than SNES and with, dare I say it, a slightly more cartoonish look?  The DS release Contra 4 was a little too slavish in recreating the early 90s Contra vibe so hopefully this one can change things up a bit.

KONKLUZION: The Bubble Bobble and Rainbow Islands have good prices but they seem more like remakes than sequels compared to the other games listed.  The Final Fantasy and Space Invaders games seem awesome until you stumble across the sneaky download pricing model.  So, even though they’re not super innovative, I’d say the Mega Man, Contra, and Adventure Island games appear to occupy the preferred middle ground.

National Game Registry: Millipede

United States Library of Congress

key personnel
Ed Logg

original platform
arcade (1982, Atari

As the sequel to Centipede, Millipede doesn’t break a lot of new ground, but it’s still a very solid, challenging game.  As in the original, an multi-segmented arthropod quickly advances through a mushroom field, attempting to kill the player’s avatar.  The millipede is joined by several new insectoid partners, creating a busier game field, offset by extremely convenient DDT deposits that must have been left behind by dirty corporations.

Millipede was inducted on April 7th, 2009.

Return to the National Game Registry to view more inductees.

National Game Registry 1981: Galaga

original platform

Galaga introduces several improvements to the Galaxian formula; the aliens no longer begin their attack in a Space Invaders-style formation, instead flying in from off-screen in rather sophisticated patterns.  The most interesting innovation is an enemy ship armed with a tractor beam of sorts.  If the beam ensnares the player’s ship, it is lost and will actually join the alien armada until it is reclaimed by destroying the capturing alien.

Galaga was inducted on April 12th, 2009.

Return to the National Game Registry to view more inductees.

National Game Registry: King and Balloon

United States Library of Congress

original platform
arcade (1980, Namco)

King and Balloon is Galaxian in disguise, albeit a very clever disguise.  The aliens are replaced by rows of balloon while the player’s spaceship is replaced by a cannon operated by two guards.  Instead of divebombing, the balloons float down in a series of arcs, attempting to capture the king and steal him away to the skies above.  The only way to lose a life to allow the king to be captured; if the balloons destroy the player’s cannon, the player merely loses a few valuable seconds of defending the king.

King & Balloon was inducted on April 12th, 2009.

Return to the National Game Registry to view more inductees.

National Game Registry 1979: Galaxian

original platform

key personnel
Koichi Tashiro

Arcade enthusiasts must have been underwhelmed when they first saw Galaxian, apparently another Space Invaders clone, until the aliens started dive bombing in formation.  The aliens actually pursue the player’s ship directly, an advancement over Space Invaders.  The graphics are very colorful and Galaxian has the first great theme music in video game history.

Galaxian was inducted on April 12th, 2009.

Return to the National Game Registry to view more inductees.

National Game Registry 1978: Space Invaders

original platform

key personnel
Tomohiro Nishikado

Space Invaders was the video game king of the 1970s with entire arcades dedicated to it.  Alien masses slowly descend toward the bottom of the screen while the player exterminates them one by one with a laser shot.  The simple sound effects include gunfire and an ominous, descending, four note melody.  The original arcade version projected the sprites onto a hand-drawn moon scene.

Space Invaders was inducted on April 12th, 2009.

Return to the National Game Registry to view more inductees.