The game was quite successful at debut in arcades, but its popularity didn't last long; the main reason for this was that it never received a proper port on any home gaming systems. Sega Y Board, which Galaxy Force was built on, was simply way too powerful for the contemporary systems to even remotely replicate it. Japan-exclusive FM Towns version suffered from several cut-downs and sprite flickerings, and the other conversions for Sega consoles (Sega Master System, Sega Genesis) and western computers (Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum) ranged from serviceable to downright awful. Fortunately, a faithful 1:1 conversion was eventually created and brought over to modern platforms by M2.
Galaxy Force contains examples of:
- Arcade-Perfect Port: Enhanced ports by M2 is the first version that actually resembles everything about the arcade original. Saturn version came close, but runs at half the framerate and has occasional slowdowns.
- Difficulty by Region: Arcade version in Japan didn't allow you to continue upon your failure, whereas the overseas version does.
- Four Is Death: The Fourth Empire is your enemy in this game.
- Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: The stages will make you burn through your wallet or give you a quick Game Over if you aren't careful, while the reactors put up next to no defense. Yes, the final reactor is just as much of a pushover as all the other ones.
- The Hedge of Thorns: Level 3, Malkland. There're a bunch of fast growing plant that are likely to entangle your ship, posing a huge obstacle to your flight.
- Lady Not-Appearing-in-This-Game: The cover of Japanese version featured an eerily looking lady in metallic latex spacesuit, but there's no human in the game at all. Decades later, she found her place as guest fighter in M2's 3D Power Drift.
- Lethal Lava Land: Level 2, Ashutar. You fly above the seemingly endless lava, where reside multi-sprite serpents leaping around.
- Nintendo Hard: It is an arcade game after all. Moving at high speed and not geting hit are very important, as a few hits or seconds or dawdling means you could be short of the energy needed to get to the end and not find out until you learn the hard way.
- Reactor Boss: The game pulls this off at the end of every level, in case the Star Wars influnce wasn't obvious enough. It barely counts as boss fight though, since there's no danger at this point unless your energy's very low.
- Shifting Sand Land: Level 4, Sara. The whole area is a barren wasteland with tornadoes, with small mechs jumping in to pepper you.
- Space Zone: Level 1, Megaleon. You spent the first half fighting against the enemy forces trying to interrupt your mission until you enter Death Star-like planet.
- Updated Re-release:
- Galaxy Force II is, despite the name, more of an update than a sequel, released only two months after the original. It tunes and fleshes out all the stages in the game, adding entirely new two levels, and lets you fire four missiles simultaneously.
- M2's port of Galaxy Force, released in 2007 under PS2 Sega Ages 2500, comes with a number of extras - cheat menu, optional arranged soundtrack, "Neo Classic" that replaces the graphics with filtered one, and 16:9 widescreen support. Regrettably, this was only released in Japan, but the said version also made it on Nintendo 3DS via Sega 3d Classics Collection, minus the CD soundtrack and plus 3D mode.
- Wizard Needs Food Badly: Variant of it. Your ship has limited energy meter that drains by time pretty quickly. The only way to replenish it is either blazing through the course real fast or shooting down the enemies to gain point, both of which aren't easy tasks to master.