SEGA’s 3D Classic series shifts to the outer reaches of space, as 3D Galaxy Force II delivers a spellbinding slice of intergalactic perfection to the Nintendo eShop.
The sequel to 1988’s Galaxy Force, this remastered arcade cabinet classic sees players cast as a pilot in the Space Federation’s Galaxy Force, the interstellar fighter TRX-5 Quasar being your ship of choice as you’re sent against the invading forces of the Fourth Empire – their ruler, Halcyon, having selected the Junos star system as his final target for galactic dominance.
That quest is reborn on 3DS, and whilst developer M2 initially voiced their concerns about selecting the game, they believed it was the “natural choice” after they had completed work on 3D Space Harrier and 3D Super Hang-on. Fears that they wouldn’t be able to achieve a consistent 60 frames per second, especially with the stereoscopic 3D effect coming into play, fall by the wayside, with 3D Galaxy Force II easily presenting a considerable technical accomplishment.
Your journey will take you across the Junos moon, the giant-worm infested Malkland, gas planet Orthea, the icy climbs of Ashutar, and dodging the fiery columns spewed by the magma planet Velteor, each tasking you with penetrating enemy bases to destroy their control centres. Swarms of enemy ships will attack from the front, sides and rear, players employing the use of lasers and a multi-missile launcher to take down their foes, looking to complete the mission before their ship’s fuel depletes.
Whilst the lack of an expanded weapon selection is a debatable criticism against the original hardware limitations, although even power-ups are few and far between, it is the fluidity of movement that makes 3D Galaxy Force II truly mesmerising. Players are granted such an intricate degree of control throughout the entire screen, a notable boast against other on-rail shooters at the time. Players can also choose to control the ship’s throttle through using the touch screen, or the second thumbstick granted by attaching the Circle Pad Pro.
Even newcomers have nothing to fear, with M2 delivering options to raise your ship’s energy, quicken the energy timer, strengthen shields and lower the overall difficulty that the game poses. Similarly, in reverse, those looking for an increased challenge can do the opposite, and it’s a welcome consideration that has been made here. They’ve even gone as far as including a selection of screen sizes, letting players house the game in a recreated arcade cabinet, whilst allowing you to choose whether you want the HUD to shift around in response to the movement of your ship.
This largely serves to expand upon the game’s admittedly limited amount of content, delivering five relatively short levels and a sixth that acts as a showdown as you take on the Fourth Empire’s main stronghold. With the difficulty eased these can be bested quickly, longevity only found if you slowly bump everything back up as you get to grips with the mechanics. Complete the game and you unlock the unaltered original arcade version which makes for an interesting comparison, although, as a whole, 3D Galaxy Force II presents another treasured reminder of the insurmountable SEGA of yesteryear, updated for the modern age.