The science fiction genre has seen a lot of high points throughout its existence, but few were as prolific as the late 1970s. Major franchises, like Star Wars and Alien were spawned in this era, as well as cult classics like Logan's Run and the TV series Battlestar Galactica. Many of these franchises and titles have seen serious resurgences in the last several years, usually to cash in on some manner of nostalgic value. Battlestar Galactica is the latest of these classics to try and rekindle the waning interest in its respective story, and it's now gotten a new miniseries on the Sci-Fi channel and a game for both the Xbox and PlayStation 2--although the two actually have nothing to do with one another, story-wise. Battlestar Galactica the game is a space shooter in the same vein as the Rogue Squadron series but contains a less intricate gameplay setup that is clearly aimed at the more casual fans of the TV show. For what it's worth, Battlestar Galactica puts forth a far more enjoyable effort than your average licensed game, but unfortunately, there are still many problems to be found within.
Further proving that everything from the '70s and '80s will eventually make some kind of comeback, the classic science fiction TV series 'Battlestar Galactica' now has its own game for the Xbox and PS2.
The Battlestar Galactica series was about as by-the-numbers for a sci-fi story of that era as you could get. In the series, humanity had taken to the stars, and it set up shop on a number of different planets throughout the universe. Humans traveled around in huge starships, complete with futuristic fighter jets and all sorts of crazy weaponry. Of course, all was not right with the universe, as humanity also happened to be at war with a race of antagonistic robots called Cylons who were hell-bent on humanity's destruction. The show focused on the crew of the Galactica, obviously one of the most prestigious ships of the colonial fleet. Added to the mix was a healthy dose of improbable situations for the crew of the Galactica to escape from, and you had yourself some classic science fiction television.
Battlestar Galactica is a prequel to the original TV series and takes place a full 40 years before the events of the show. In the game, you take on the role of Adama, a young, spunky pilot in the blue wing division of the Galactica's elite fighter squadron. Fans of the original will immediately recognize that Adama is actually Lorne Greene's Commander Adama character from the TV series, but, as this is a prequel, Adama is much younger and more impetuous than his future self. As is to be expected, Adama and his squadron must go up against impossible odds to defeat the Cylon forces and save the Galactica--and humanity--yet again. To do this, Adama and crew will take on a host of different combat missions against the Cylons. Missions in the game are actually quite varied, though the bulk of them are definitely of the "kill and destroy everything in sight" ilk. Battlestar Galactica gives you a nice variety of ships with which to do the aforementioned killing by letting you pilot multiple classes of the colonial Vipers. Interestingly, you even get to fly a Cylon raider here and there. Weaponry consists of basic lasers and missiles, each of which has different forms of functionality. For example, on the standard Viper, simply pressing the laser attack button will shoot a short burst, whereas holding the button down will fire a more powerful burst. The same goes for missiles. So a quick press will fire a simple, though powerful, one, while holding the button down will let you lock on to an enemy so that you can fire a pair of homing missiles. Missiles can also be programmed--on the fly--for varying degrees of blast radius and overall power by using the directional pad. Missiles are limited by a power meter that appears alongside your damage meter on the game's heads-up display. Energy is depleted as you fire missiles, and once your barrage is finished, it begins to replenish (albeit slowly). Your energy also ties in to your ship's damage meter, so when the meter is full, your damage will slowly start to replenish as well. However, if your energy is below 100 percent, your ship won't repair, and you're far more susceptible to destruction.
The game's controls are relatively easy to pick up and play, and the combat is equally user-friendly.
This is certainly nothing to make light of, as Battlestar Galactica is actually quite a difficult game. In fact, it's shockingly so when you consider how generally easy to pick up the combat is. Aside from the previously mentioned functions, your ship can also perform a speed burst or slow to a halt by pressing the right and left trigger buttons (or R1 and L1 buttons), respectively. It can also jump to an intensely fast speed when you double-tap the right trigger (or R1 button). Targeting is handled by a red icon that appears over your enemy's ship, and a blue marker appears in the best position for you to lead your shots on your target. However, there is one primary flaw with this system that does cause some problems. Once a target is destroyed, your next target is autoselected for you, and, more often than not, that target is not the most important one with regard to your mission. For instance, in any situation where you're being bombarded by multiple types of ships, or you're in a situation where you have to take out a massive, centralized target, the game will frequently switch you to a random Cylon raider that has no real bearing on your current task--save for being a minor nuisance. You can switch to a new target by using the target select button, but it takes a fair amount of time to switch to the enemy you want. In many missions, time is very much of the essence, so this less-than-intuitive method of autotargeting is a pretty big hassle.
A good portion of the game's difficulty can be directly attributed to this flawed targeting system, but there are other factors to take into account as well. The only aspect of the game's inherent toughness that can be legitimately praised is the enemy AI, which is very nicely done. Various types of ships all behave in different--and appropriate--manners, and each one puts up a more than decent challenge. Considering enemies tend to travel in packs, you'll more than likely have a rough firefight on your hands in most every mission, and if you can deal with the targeting issues, the combat can actually be pretty fun. However, while your enemies are more than adept enough to get the job done, your supporting cast leaves a lot to be desired.