Classic Retro Video Game Reviews

Atari Galaxian -Atari 5200
Retro Gaming Review

Atari 5200 Super System console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game ReviewAtari Galaxian for Atari 5200 Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Title: Galaxian
Manufacturer: Atari
Platform: Atari 5200
Release Date: 1985
Part #: CX5206
Rating: 3 out of 5
ESRB Rating: N/A

Rating: Atari Galaxian Classic Retro Video Game Review Rating
Atari Galaxian Screenshot:
Atari Galaxian for Atari 5200 screenshot Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review

I loved Galaxian in the arcade! It's startup sound probably ranks highest for me in brining back memories of arcades in the 80s. The home conversion for the Atari 5200 brings back more frustration than quarter-dropping memories. Both the graphics and sound are faithful to the arcade original, yet not close enough to impress. The Galaxian arcade controls were very well laid out.

The 5200 suffered from poor controllers - and perhaps that's to blame in Galaxian - which makes this version damn hard to play. You wouldn't think moving left/right with 1 fire button would be so taxing on a system. Should you be so bold as to give this game a shot, the Galaxian 5200 overlay identifies the difficulty level and number of players. The 5200 trackball controller is compatible for both 1 & 2 player games and I've heard preferable. with the Trackball, plug it into the left port and both players take turns in the 2-player variations.

Galaxian Story Arc

I was disappointed by the back-story in the manual. It's generic if not identical to several other save-the-world space shooters. You know... just joined the fleet, first day on the job, centuries old galactic war, defeat the enemy, save the planet... Blah Blah Blah. Most space shooters follow a theme like this, but there are several descriptors and phrases that are blatant duplicates from others. No originality! Parts of it don't even make sense with the actual game play.
So, anyway...

Holy shit! Check this out...
Although true color (as opposed to a color overlay for a game that was otherwise black and white) began appearing as early as 1975, Galaxian took graphics a step further with multi-colored animated sprites and explosions, a theme song, different colored
fonts for the score and high score, more prominent background music, a scrolling starfield, graphic icons that showed the number of ships left and how many rounds the player had completed.

You start with 3 lives and 32 waves increasing in difficulty. The Galaxian Fleet is comprised of Drones (blue), Emissaries (purple), Hornets (red) and Flagship Commanders (yellow). They swoop down at your ship firing missiles and dodging your return fire. Sometimes they'll descend solo and other times they are flanked by escorts. Your score is dependent on how many escorts you take out along with the enemy.

In some levels you will find the Galaxians fire in a discernable pattern whereas other levels deliver a random fire-pattern. The first bonus life is awarded at 5,000 points.

I have mixed feelings on this version of Galaxian. Arcade-wise, Galaga had not been released, making Galaxian an interesting option for those who loved Space Invaders. I'm a huge Galaga fan, so perhaps I'm a bit jaded when it comes to Galaxian. It's a good shooter on it's own, but the Atari 5200 doesn't do it justice.

Atari 5200 Super System console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Final Judgement:

Atari Galaxian

suffers from poor control on the 5200. It's a great game robbed of greatness by lack of control.

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