Aces of the Galaxy Review

If you are looking for some classic 3D space shooting action or a quick cooperative gameplay session for yourself and a friend, then look no further than Sierra Online and Artech Studios’ Aces of the Galaxy, which delivers a healthy dose of both, in a visually impressive package.

Aces of the Galaxy offers players everything one might expect from the genre, and does so with gusto. It reminded me of Star Fox 64 (a good thing), featuring three types of weapons, a wide variety of enemy ships, and and choose-your-own-path type of level progression. What it most noticeably lacked were large-scale boss fights and anything more than a nominal storyline.

Each eight-stage trip through Aces of the Galaxy is unique because by activating warps within each level players are given the opportunity to choose one of three different planets for the next round of dogfights. There are 25 of these planets, in total, with three distinct themes: fire, ice, and asteroid (unsurprisingly characterized by a sea of planetary flotsam).

The action is fast-paced and intense, almost turning into what I would call a ‘junior 3D bullet hell’ during its most frantic periods. Players have an arsenal consisting of a rapid-fire chain gun, multi-target cluster missiles, and heavy-damage torpedoes, as well as the ability to scan for invisible enemies and slow down time for short durations. Each weapon can be upgraded via powerups that are scattered throughout space, and they make a significant difference in enemy-obliterating efficiency.

Unfortunately, these upgrades do not carry over from one level to the next, and are often difficult to notice until the last minute, due to all of the semi-psychedelic activity going on at any given moment. Another small gripe is that the game doesn’t include any sort of true large-area attack, such as bombs, to take out wads of enemies at once; torpedoes only inflict splash damage to ships within a very small radius of the primary target.

One very important addition to Aces of the Galaxy is cooperative play, which comes in both local and Live flavors. Throughout my experience with the game, however, I could not find a single online multiplayer match. I would assume that it is fundamentally the same as local play, with the ability to talk to one another and plan strategic assaults, but if nobody is out there to play with, this mode is effectively useless (For now? Forever? Who knows?). Local co-op, on the other hand, is great fun, and can potentially consume hours on end.

In a nutshell, Aces of the Galaxy is a well-made and enjoyable 3D space shooter. Although it lacks a few desirable components and may not have great story depth or especially unique design, it is good for its pure arcade-style gameplay and can be played over and over, in short bursts or at length. Add a friend and the game becomes that much more appealing.


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Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

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