Battlestar Galactica - Xbox Live Arcade review

In space, there is no y-axis

GamesRadar+ Verdict


  • +

    Great license

  • +

    Appearance of old-school ships

  • +

    Good mission variety


  • -

    Single-plane space

  • -

    Awful controls

  • -

    No good camera angles

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Battlestar Galactica is a difficult game to judge. On the one hand, it doesn't seem nearly as good as it should be. On the other hand, it is kinda fun to fly around and blow the bejeezus out of Cylon fighters.

Battlestar Galactica should really be a clone of classics like Wing Commander, Freespace, or Colony Wars. All of the elements are there - giant capital ships with ridiculous weapons systems populated by swarms of one-man fighters; two sides locked in an epic struggle; and the vast reaches of space as the battleground. And while it's a bit silly to suggest that a simple Xbox Live game would have the amount of depth found in the aforementioned titles, at the very least the mechanics could have been similar.

However, Battlestar Galactica on Live Arcade is much more like Wing Commander Arena, also on Live Arcade. In fact, it plays like a direct rip-off of that disappointing Wing Commander redux, albeit without the multiplayer focus.

Like Arena, Galactica takes place in small-ish areas of space. And also like Arena, there's apparently no y-axis in space, as every battle takes place on a flat plane. You can't fly up or down, only skim this invisible surface from a third-person perspective, using controls that would make most first-person shooter fans cringe.

And since you can't find a camera angle low enough to see more than a few feet in front of your fighter, zooming right past the targets you're tracking is pretty common. Especially since most of the game play is done while staring at the tiny radar display at the bottom of the screen. Plus, while most of Battlestar's levels are decorated nicely with rocks and debris, the only way to tell what you will and won't collide with on-screen is pretty much to try running into it. Luckily, these exploratory taps don't actually damage your ship, which is a small consolation when a wing of Cylons streaks past you on their way to nuke the Galactica.

More info

DescriptionA license with huge potential; a game with low ambition.
Platform"Xbox 360"
US censor rating"Everyone 10+"
UK censor rating""
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)