Published by Sierra Online this is Artech Studio’s second contribution to XBLA, the fan favorite Boogie Bunnies being the first. Artech Studio’s history is deep in PC and PS2 game but if its first two arcade titles are any inclination I can not wait to see what is next.
Aces of the Galaxy is a fast paced, non-stop, on-rails arcade shooter with the HD graphics that we have come to expect in all games today. Aces of the Galaxy places the player in a “galaxy far-far away” where you have just taken control of the Skurgian Empire’s newest space ship, “The Omega Prototype” (3 models to choose from).
Your objective: to completely destroy the alien pursuers and make it back to the Fleet with the “goods”. In movie terms think, I am Clint Eastwood in “Firefox” (look it up and watch you’ll understand).
Aces of the Galaxy comes with three difficulty levels; but to make the game A LOT more challenging you are given a total of three lives to complete the entire game. There are no saves, no continues, no redos. One extra life can be earned throughout the game but it is not easy and this all adds to the urgency of the situation.
With Single Player, Local and Xbox Live Co-Op Play you can experience this fast paced flier by yourself on your couch, with a friend on your couch, or over Live with a friend, or complete stranger, all in the comfort of your couch. This game is rated E10+, for everyone 10+ years old, mainly for its Fantasy Violence. For comparison, and if I haven’t dated myself enough already, I would rate Aces of the Galaxy in the same group as Galaga, Tempest, and Space Invaders.
In Aces of the Galaxy there are many branching paths the player can take. While you will play a total of ten levels per game, if you are good enough, there are many ways to do so. Also if you collect the “Warp Upgrade” in the level, once that level is completed you can choose one of three paths (Fire, Ice or Asteroids). With a total of 25+ different levels there are numerous paths to take giving Aces of the Galaxy great replay value.
To help you along the way you are given three main weapons: Chain Gun, “Homing” Missiles, and Torpedoes. Although a button mapping feature would be a nice addition, I quickly became familiar with the configuration and had no issues utilizing all the weapons for maximum destruction. Also hidden throughout the levels are weapons upgrades. You can carry only one at a time, So Choose Wisely!
Running in 720p the graphics of Aces of the Galaxy are pretty stunning. Depending on the path you choose all the levels have the same sharp, crisp feel with an excellent draw distance. On most levels is a planet, moon or asteroid in the background along with numerous bigger enemy ships that the player doesn’t need to bother much with. But combine that with the enemies the player does need to worry about flying in from every direction, their subsequently being blown into chunks and their final explosion; the screen gets filled with a dazzling light show not unlike a 4th of July fireworks display.
As for the sound of Aces of the Galaxy; it’s in 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound. If you have any kind of a surround sound system you will notice it with Aces of the Galaxy. Each enemy appears to have a distinct sound and I have become quite familiar with the “suicide ships” scream. I have been told numerous times by my wife to turn the game down, to me that is a sign of great audio.
OVERALL = 8.5
In the Xbox Live Arcade, that even Microsoft admits is over crowded, Aces of the Galaxy stands out and is an homage to the old-school on-rail shooters many of us gamers grew up on. With its HD graphics, online play, and branching paths Aces of the Galaxy is a fun, enjoyable, but yet still very challenging, arcade space shooter game.
As always, and unlike other consoles, please go download the trial, give Aces of the Galaxy and “The Omega Prototype” a spin for yourself. If you find it as fun as I have, download the Full Game and send me message on Live!
Gamertag is INFECTEDPB503 and “I’ll be your wingman anytime”!
And don’t forget:
Get all the achievements in Aces of the Galaxy and enter XBLRadio’s “The Friend in Need” Contest for a chance to win a Free Game from Sierra Online!
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