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Galaxian 2

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Released: 1981

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Publisher: Entex/Futuretronics

Developer: Entex/Futuretronics

Submitted by: Rob Roemer

Following the blazing success of Space Invaders and soon after Galaxian in the arcades, Entex/Futuretronics Industries decided to take things one step further and in 1981 produced a futuristic, almost mini-arcade handheld game (resembling somewhat a Battlestar Galactica spaceship) for the home and entitled it "Galaxian 2"- the 2 referred to the fact that two players could simultaneously engage in play.

Receiving one as a Christmas gift as a kid, I was obviously elated, to the point though where at times I had to be restrained, as the endless backflips I performed were – according to my parents – possibly causing disc damage, and replacing subsequently broken furniture was proving to be quite costly. It's just that it wasn't often I got exactly what I wanted at Christmas.

Gameplay for single-player mode had the player taking control of the 'Galaxy ship', shooting at waves of kamikaze bomb-dropping aliens in similar vein to the original arcade game, although you also had the ability to shoot through the alien's bombs to destroy them. Two-player action involved one player controlling the ship and the other controlling the attacking aliens, which really was some novelty back then, although keeping the unit still during frantic gameplay was always something of an issue that even industrial tape itself could not rectify.

The game also featured two user-selectable skill levels, the B-game in particular quite brutal as the amount of constant rapid alien fire in comparison to your own one-missile-for-every-five-fire-button-depresses seemed slightly unfair, but as the A-game was quite beatable, I saw the harder game simply as a bonus and therefore forgiveable. The display featured 3-colour fluorescent characters on-screen and was quite clear and crisp (as long as the batteries were fresh or adapter didn't fly out of the socket), and the effective, chirpy sounds and start/end game melodies provided a surprisingly good rendition of its arcade counterpart.

A thoroughly decent handheld, 'Galaxian 2' was about as good as it got at the time for arcade clones, and was constructed so well mine still works perfectly today. It certainly outlasted many others rendered long ago to the simmering electronic junk pile, anyway. Recommended.