Nick DeMarco

TURN TO CHANNEL 3: ‘Galaga ’90’ successfully updated a classic for the next decade

TURN TO CHANNEL 3: ‘Galaga ’90’ successfully updated a classic for the next decade
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November is a month that we give thanks and, for me, that’s thanks to some extra special games being a part of my gamer life at one point or another. We will be saluting five awesome games (at least to me) this month, beginning with one that may be familiar to many and is a known favorite of mine among many friends and customers at my store in Mayfield.

Get ready for an intergalactic edition of Turn to Channel 3 with the shoot ’em up game “Galaga ‘90,” an update of the original 1981 arcade hit on the underrated TurboGrafx-16!

“Galaga ‘90” (TurboGrafx-16)


At first glance, “Galaga ‘90” doesn’t seem that different from its predecessors, but it’s those subtle differences that make it stand out from a crowded pack of retro shooters. The soundtrack to this game has a more defined little song that is synonymous with the “Galaga” series and, with that, the usual sounds of your ship firing and enemies that perish with simple bleeps and fireworks of explosions. This is a good example of the way “Galaga ‘90” takes what we loved about the original “Galaga” and almost lets it grow up to a new standard.


Once again, enemies, while different than the arcade original, don’t differ that much, at least at the beginning of the game. These versions, while less bug-like in some cases, are simplistic like those that came before. However, as the game progresses, the enemies become more varied and a lot more interesting in design, with everything from plant-like creatures to those that actually reflect your shots until they open up, almost like a clam or an oyster.

The environments don’t differ a whole lot other than the backdrops to signify when you’ve come to a new planet, but there is one thing crucial to mention about “Galaga ‘90,” which will tie into my next bit, and that would be that the bosses look awesome!


“Galaga ‘90” takes that linear formula we are used to with “Galaga” games, blasting enemies away to clear a level, and sprinkles in things like boss fights and the ability to warp if you obtain two S symbols as you play through a planet. I really like how, even though it is easy for you to go after those warps, the game almost punishes you by being cocky and throwing far more aggressive enemies at you with each new planet.

The breaks in between levels that have you going through various different waves of enemies as your ship coasts towards a boss fight are a nice touch that definitely changes the way you look at “Galaga” games, and it’s one of the main reasons why I feel that the replay value for this game is higher than you’d think.


After all these years, “Galaga” still entices gamers young and old with the thrill of attaining a high score, and at $20-$30 (depending on if you want a complete copy or not), it is a fun game at a reasonable price. Should you have a TurboGrafx-16 console, I highly suggest hunting this one down because you are sure to come back to it again and again, especially if you are someone who grew up pumping quarters into the original game at your local arcade.

Next time on Turn to Channel 3, we head on over to the PlayStation as we cure our need, the need for speed, with “Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit!”

Until then, stay warm and always keep your favorite game handy because there’s never a bad time to game on!

Tune in to NEPA Scene’s gaming column, Turn to Channel 3, every Thursday for new perspectives on retro gaming as well as fresh twists on the classics. All ratings for Turn to Channel 3 are based on a scale of 1-10.