If there was ever a game that showed off the huge difference in graphical power between arcades and home consoles during the golden age of arcades, it would be Sega’s Galaxy Force.
Released to arcades in 1988, Galaxy Force really blew the minds of gamers at the time with it’s incredible use of sprite scaling to provide a convincing illusion of a 3D world using only 2D sprites while running at 60 frames per second (the deluxe cabinet even tilted and rotated as you moved ingame)! Keep in mind, this was at the time when 8-bit consoles were still considered current gen so well done 2D graphics were enough to really impress gamers. Although several (but extremely watered down) ports to home consoles and PCs of the time were made, it would take almost 19 years for home consoles to become powerful enough to handle an arcade perfect port!
In terms of gameplay, Galaxy Force is a rail shooter where you must pilot a ship through various planets to reach an enemy base and destroy it’s core without getting your ship destroyed or running out of fuel. Your fuel gauge essentially acts as both your health and timer, all damage taken results in chunks of lost fuel on top of what is constantly being lost even when not taking damage. Your shield only reduces the amount of fuel lost when taking damage, taking damage without a shield is fatal in most cases. The only way to replenish fuel is to reach a stage checkpoint where the amount of fuel restored depends on the amount of enemies you have destroyed in the level so far. This fuel mechanic is what really makes the game challenging but mastering this mechanic will prove incredibly satisfying once you are able to clear the game using no continues!
Shortly after the original release, Sega created an updated version which altered some gameplay elements and called it Galaxy Force 2 even though it was not a sequel (a naming convention commonly used by Sega at the time). Galaxy Force 2 is considered the superior version and is currently available as a 3D classic on the Nintendo 3DS eshop as 3D Galaxy Force 2. 3D Galaxy Force 2 is definitely one of the best 3D classics on the eshop with one of the best uses of stereoscopic 3D and boasting a multitude of extra features that can satisfying even the most hardcore of gamers!