Galaxy Force 2 review - Sega Megadrive

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Those evil aliens just will not stop. They always seem to think that they can get away with taking over planets that have been conquered fairly and squarely by Earth. So, just to teach them a lesson, the wily Earth armed forces are going to send out another barely-armed single-man fighter to destroy the entire alien operation.

Being a bit of a thickie, you have, of course, volunteered to take on this highly dangerous mission against a massed enemy of a far greater technological level than yourself, to defend inhospitable planets which conspire against you with a variety of lethal natural hazards.

Galaxy Force II is yet another in a long line of shoot 'em ups on the Megadrive. This time, the action is viewed in 3D from behind the craft, Afterburner style, and the player zooms around five different planets, destroying the alien stronghold on each one. This involves flying low over the planet surface blowing up all and sundry, then flying through a tunnel to reach the nerve centre of that particular planet. Destroy that, and it's onto the next planet for more death, destruction and devastation hi-jinks and frolics.

What the Mean Machines staff thought


" After the high quality 3D graphics of Space Harrier II and Afterburner, I thought this would be a knockout. Sadly, it's not. The still screenshots look impressive, but playing the game soon reveals its flaws. The 3D effect is jerky and unrealistic, the tunnel sequence is absolutely pathetic (just a naff series of concentric squares) and the controls are sluggish. Not only that, the game's not particularly challenging and since the five levels are all pretty short, it doesn't take long to go all the way through the game. Even the biggest Galaxy Force fans will be disappointed by this conversion. "

" The Master System conversion of Galaxy Force was a miracle considering the limitations of that machine. So the Megadrive version must be fab, right? Well, no actually. Galaxy Force II is a lame effort, with all the speed and playability of something slow and boring. The sprites aren't so bad, but the animation is lacklustre and jerky. The real fault, however, is the unresponsive controls. The ship seems to jerk and hop its way around the screen entirely of its own accord, making the game frustrating, and the dodgy collision detection doesn't add to the game's lasting appeal either. If you want a 3D shoot 'em up for your Megadrive, get Afterburner II or even Space Harrier, but I'd avoid this disappointing release. "


Overall Score59%

Retrospective comments


Scott H's comments

Galaxy Force II in the arcades was a “Y Board” game, which is a board with 3 68000 CPUs at 12.5 Mhz each. Compare this to the AfterBurner's “X Board” with two of the same, or the MD/Genesis hardware which only has one 68000 chip running at 7.5 Mhz before you consider comparing ports. Galaxy Force II in the arcades is a sprite scaling monster, making up multiple large spacecraft of linked sprites which scale smoothly, and allowing for a full screen tilt and rotation which has yet to be emulated (apart from the Japanese Saturn port). So, comparing the 3D in AfterBurner and Space Harrier II on the MD/Genesis to that of Galaxy Force is a touch misleading.

The chief difference between Galaxy Force II and the previous two rail shooters for the Megadrive is the large play field and greater capacity for gaining and lowering altitude. Secondarily to that, the animated sprite scaling in Galaxy Force II is superior to that of Space Harrier II or AfterBurner's. In fact, the sprites can animate so smoothly that they best even later Psuedo 3D titles like Hyperzone, F-Zero and Mario Kart on the SNES.

With that said, Galaxy Force II is slower than Space Harrier II or Afterburner, so you spend a lot more time staring at those concentric bars of color scaling towards you with sprites on them, and that is where the game exposes its own limitations. In this sense, the Master System game is much better at adapting to the hardware, and exposes itself much less than its Megadrive brother. One of the keys to a successful title is to push the hardware without appearing to do so, and it is in this area that Galaxy force falls short. The rating this review leaves is probably fair in comparison to other rail shooters, so long as a 50% is seen as completely average (rather than bad or flawed).

Mean Machines Issue 15 - Christmas 1991
Shoot 'Em Up Sega Megadrive
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