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Galaxian - The Atari Times


Could have been much better
by Ryan Genno

December 5, 2006
Galaxian will go down in history for not only being the first ever video game to use true colour but also for having some very impressive Artificial Intelligence thanks to some tricky aliens that were tough to kill. Galaxian may be older game now but it is still a huge legend in the gaming world and it was another mega hit for Namco. So how did Galaxian do on the 5200? Not too good unfortunately.

In the game it's your mission to destroy a large swarm of aggressive alien bugs before they destroy you. Unlike other popular shooters like Space Invaders your enemies won't just move back and forth and wait to be shot, instead some of the bugs will swoop away from their formation to attack you personally. The good thing about this is the bugs will be worth more points and you can even get special bonuses for destroying the leaders of the group at the right time. You need precise timing to survive and that's where this 5200 version falls apart.

In the game you can only move your starship left and right so you would think the masters at Atari would be able to handle this simple concept. The problems with those 5200 non-recentering controllers has never been more apparent then in this game right here. Even with the slightest touch on the joystick it's hard not to go too fast which makes aiming your slow moving missiles nearly impossible. How are you suppose to play a game like this with controls this bad?

The graphics are one of the bright spots about this game and to be honest they weren't even that good. On the positive side the aliens are colourful and the stars in the background actually move. On the negative side there is a lot of slowdown and flickers which shows tons of graphical problems with the system itself.

As bad as the graphics and controls were, nothing compares to the future pain from listening to God awful music and sound effects here. I don't know what happened but the annoyingly constant buzzing sound and overly loud sound effects is just hell on the ears. Galaxian for the Atari 5200 is easily one of the worst sounding games I ever heard!

Galaxian should have been one of those games that should have helped sell the 5200 system. Sadly, the terrible sound effects, poor controls, and repetitive game play ruin this classic shoot em up so the whole title acted as video game repellent. This game was never one of favourites to begin with but this version made it even worse because of the extremely sloppy translation here. Avoid Galaxian for the 5200 unless you need another hockey puck.


(c) Atari

Prepare for battle!
As you can see, now you're chasing the aliens!
System: 5200
Publisher: Atari
Genre: Shooter
Graphics Score: 40%
Sound & Music Score: 00%
Gameplay Score: 20%
Control Score: 10%

Final Score: 23%

Reader Comments for Galaxian

Sad by Atarifever on 2006-12-05 10:32:40
This is really sad considering the nigh onto Godlike wizardry that was pulled off to get the game done well on the 2600. Funny that Atari would go through that trouble to get it onto the more limited system (where it actually even sounds pretty decent for a 2600 arcade port), and then just throw something together for the 5200.
Kinda doubt that... by Darryl B. on 2006-12-06 13:27:03
I don't know, right now the average score for this game is 73%, so it can't be TOO bad. Ryan might just want to try it out with an alternative joystick (those ARE out there, like with adapters where you can use 2600 controllers, I think) and see what he thinks about the game then.
galaxian by ken on 2006-12-06 22:28:21
sure it's not the greatest but an overall score of 23% is unfair. when i was a kid, it was one of my favorite. when you play on the highest level and try to survive, i thought that was really fun. i have no problems with the joystick. i'd like to see everyone's highest score.
Re: galaxian by Ryan Genno on 2006-12-12 19:49:29
OK, maybe I was a bit unfair on the 23% rating here. It should have been an 12! The controls are still usable in a way but the loose set up here no way as good as the superior 2600 edition and that's just pathetic in my opinion.
Re: Kinda doubt that by Ryan Genno on 2006-12-12 19:54:15
I would love another 5200 controller like one of those Wicos myself but they are so expensive. I won't say no to a free one though! :)
Re: Sad by Ryan Genno on 2006-12-12 20:00:25
Yeah, you can tell Atari really half assed some of their 5200 projects like this one here. Thanks Atarifever!
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