Google+   Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | AND | IOS | PS3 | PS4 | VITA | WIIU | X360 | XB1 | All

Galactic Attack (Saturn) artwork

Galactic Attack (Saturn) review

"Not too many games are this privileged. After all, Taito’s vertically scrolling shoot 'em up has three names. It was released in Japan’s arcades as Rayforce, ported home to Japanese Saturns as Layer Section, and finally arrived on North American Saturns as Galactic Attack (yes, we got the crummy name, as is the case more often than not). "

Layer Section in disguise!

Not too many games are this privileged. After all, Taito’s vertically scrolling shoot 'em up has three names. It was released in Japan’s arcades as Rayforce, ported home to Japanese Saturns as Layer Section, and finally arrived on North American Saturns as Galactic Attack (yes, we got the crummy name, as is the case more often than not).

The game marks the beginning of a shooter trilogy for Taito, which continues in Layer Section 2, or Raystorm, which was released both for the Saturn and the Playstation. The series then came to an end with the appropriately titled RayCrisis: Series Termination, which is only available for the Playstation. The story in Galactic Attack is nothing new, but it’s oddly compelling. A pseudo-sentient computer named “Con-Human,” is developed by humans to solve the world’s problems. Of course it goes haywire and starts altering the earth’s environment to suit its own needs, and begins building weapons. Humanity suffers great losses in Con-Human’s wake, and all their hopes ride on the prototype: “Project Rayforce.” Interestingly enough, the story in the third game precedes these happenings in the first game. Sort of like Star Wars: Episode I. But I digress.

As far as the series goes, this game lands right in the middle. It plays better than Raystorm, but not as smoothly as RayCrisis. Less importantly, it looks slightly worse than the polygonal Raystorm, (and therefore cannot hold a candle to the visually ostentatious RayCrisis) though perhaps it’s a difficult comparison because Galactic Attack is the only hand-drawn game in the trilogy. There are some juicy, memorable moments though, such as when you find yourself descending into different 'layer sections', or when you encounter the grabby fifth level guardian.

The music isn’t as good as the soundtracks featured by its big brothers either, though it is still solid shooter fare by Zuntata, Taito’s in-house shooter game composers. You’ll still be privy to what is best described as hard-driving, techno/elevator music. If you don’t believe me, take a listen and you’ll understand better.

Galactic Attack's control is spot on, something that is greatly appreciated in a game of such extreme difficulty. Its successors had a particularly vexing knock against them, (especially Raystorm) as they were insanely difficult at times, yet featured very dodgy controls. Your ship would bank when you navigated it to one side or the other, and struggle to right itself. Thankfully, this ridiculous function is inconspicuous in its absence here. Also, for those--such as myself--who felt that Raystorm's demands on your reflexes were often a bit unseemly, (something evidenced by numerous claims of gamers requiring the Free Play mode to beat it) take heart. Beating Galactic Attack without cheating is actually possible; cheap deaths from overwhelming odds are limited in comparison.

In the context of other overhead shooters, Galactic Attack is definitely above average. Crisp control, and solid music and graphics allow it to excel in the presentation department. However, the cranked up difficulty curve may put off some. The first 4 levels play perfectly, with a challenge that will prove ideal for most fans of the genre. But when level 5 comes along, it brings with it its own brand of hell. You will die in bunches and curse your ship’s seemingly inadequate equipment.

You see, a la Xevious, the Rayforce series of games outfits your spacecraft with only a generic, forward-firing laser and a lock-on laser. The latter works by way of a targeting reticle, which allows you to sight enemies a ‘layer’ beneath you, and fire on them with streaking, bending lasers. That’s all you’ve got onboard. You will earn power ups that increase the amount of simultaneous lock-ons, but no other weapons will be uncovered, not even the all-powerful smart bomb that appeared in Galactic Attack.

The four continues that Taito supplies will only prove sufficient after much practice, and for most, the demand on their patience will be too great. But if you’re into conquering the most difficult shooters, then by all means, get your Saturn warmed up for a bout with Galactic Attack.

Rating: 7/10

Masters's avatar
Staff review by Marc Golding (January 14, 2004)

A bio for this contributor is currently unavailable, but check back soon to see if that changes. If you are the author of this review, you can update your bio from the Settings page.

More Reviews by Marc Golding
Velocibox (PlayStation 4) artwork
Velocibox (PlayStation 4)

Cruel and unusual punishment.
Submerged (PlayStation 4) artwork
Submerged (PlayStation 4)

So much more could have been done with Submerged. Calling the failing here tragic barely qualifies as hyperbole.
My Hero (Sega Master System) artwork
My Hero (Sega Master System)

You play the role of The Hero, but you look like Edward Carnby, specifically from Alone in the Dark 2, right down to the blue leisure suit and pitiful death sequences. You are the strapping, golden-domed captain of the football team, enjoying a sunset with your prudish girlfriend on the beach, besotting her with...


If you enjoyed this Galactic Attack review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

Site Policies & Ethics | Contact | Advertise | Sponsor a Guide | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2015 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. Galactic Attack is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to Galactic Attack, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors. Staff and freelance reviews are typically written based on time spent with a retail review copy or review key for the game that is provided by its publisher.