It’s really hard to find a game to even come close to your favorite arcade game. Galaga has always been a huge quarter eater for me. As soon as I even step foot in an arcade, whether it be near home or down at the shore, I immediately gravitate toward the Galaga machine. I love the simple fast paced nature of the game and I can easily play it for hours. Unfortunately there really hasn’t been any update to the game, but RadianGames Crossfire 2 comes pretty close. This simple shooter reminds me a lot of Galaga in that it’s just plain addicting. The premise of the game is simple; shoot the alien spaceships. The spaceships don’t really look much like spaceships, but that doesn’t make them any less impressive.
The style remind me a lot of Geometry Wars in that everything has sort of a neon glow to it. The visuals are pretty amazing, and since you will want to play it over and over, it definitely helps that it is easy on the eyes. The enemy ships look mostly like a bunch of shapes, and they sort of bundle together to create a massive enemy to tackle. These enemies do not really chase you, but that does not make them any less dangerous. Enemies constantly shoot at you upon getting close to them, and it’s necessary to break apart their large group in order to defeat each ship. One type of ship actually may come back in smaller numbers, making it necessary to act quick to destroy the other enemies on the field.
The controls are pretty straightforward. Most of the time you will spend just moving one stick and pressing a button to shoot. Your ship has the ability to beam from the top of the level to the bottom in order to catch an enemy on his bad side. This makes the game more interesting in that you can attack the group of enemies from two different positions.
Among your other defenses are power ups which are obtained by shooting special spaceships that pass through the level rather quickly. They will drop a power up such as “slow down” which slow enemies and even the music down, or invisibility which is self-explanatory. You obtain the power up by beaming through it, because unlike special ammo it will likely be floating mid-level. Special ammo can run out, but shooting enemies will usually drop plenty and it can be picked up by sliding though it.
Another portion of the game is upgrades. You can make your ship stronger in every way by upgrading skills with points you get by surviving waves of enemies. The only annoying thing I found with this system is how often the upgrade window seemed to pop up. Every couple of waves it would pop and ask me to upgrade, and usually I would think to myself “Come on! I want to get back to the game!” Upgrades can make your ship’s health stronger or regenerate faster, and can also increase your rate of fire and fire-power. These upgrades definitely make the game easier in the end when the enemies are much harder.
The game has several modes and several difficulty levels. I found the easiest difficulty level way too easy, and had literally beat the entire game in ten minutes without dying. Beating the game will yield you another variation of the Conquest mode. Conquest mode is the main mode of the game and has a little story to it. The story is simple and is marketed by funny little two lined rhymes to mark progress in the story. The medium difficulty was definitely a welcome step up, and I did get stuck on several levels. Score Attack is exactly what it sounds like and provides you the chance to see how you rank in the Crossfire world.
Overall I am extremely pleased with Crossfire 2. It will definitely keep me occupied for a while, and feels like an updated version of an arcade classic. It is a must buy for XBLA fans!