Galaga 3: Classic Arcade Game Video, History & Game Play Overview


The third title in the Galaxian series, Galaga 3 also goes by another name. This arcade game was originally called Gaplus when released in Japan in 1984. Featuring the same basic layout and style seen in the two previous titles, Galaga 3 also uses a fixed shooting platform. In addition to moving right and left, the main character can also go up and down the screen. One or two players are able to play Galaga 3 by taking alternating turns.

Namco developed Galaga 3 and released the title along with Midway. This vertical scrolling shooter game was only ported to a handful of home gaming systems, including the Commodore 64. One more sequel, Galaga '88, was released in the 1980s before Namco took a nearly 10 year hiatus. In 1996, a home version of Galaga 3 was made available on the original PlayStation.

Galaga 3 is technically a molded version of Gaplus. Namco had a chip installed in Gaplus arcade machines destined for the U.S. in order to officially change the name of this title on all screens. The U.S. version of Galaga 3 allowed players to record a name set at a three character maximum. In the Japanese version, Gaplus, the age, blood type and a six character name maximum were standard.


Game Play Overview

Galaga 3 pays homage to both Galaga and Galaxian in a number of ways. While the main character has better freedom of range, all enemies attack from a stationary formation. This is the way that opposing spacecrafts attacked in Galaxian.

This arcade classic has 32 distinctive levels, including seven Challenging bonus stages. After all 32 stages are completed the first time, you will have finished the first round. In total, there are three complete rounds of game play.

There are five main types of enemies; Kings, Caps, Lutes, Ados and Zakos. Periodically, these enemies will morph into an insect of some type, with some enemy groups morphing as many as three times throughout the course of the game. Some enemies, such as Kings, carry blaster heads which are used to give your space ship special powers. The main character is again, an unnamed spacecraft, acting as defender of the realm.

Every level begins with dozens of alien space ships in a military inspired attack formation, grouped by enemy type. Attacks can come in the form of a spacecraft diving toward you, enemies shooting at you while stationary, or a combination of the two.

You cannot move past the lower half of the screen, but this is still a fairly large area to maneuver around, especially when compared to the moves that players were limited to in Galaga and Galaxian. Use the action button to fire at enemy formations and the eight directional keys to move your ship.

Special Features

In Galaga 3, you will have the opportunity to grab power-ups, earn bonus points and acquire extra lives. Each Challenging stage in Galaga 3 consists of a multi-tiered enemy formation, just as seen in other stages. You will have to shoot your enemies in order to get them to shift their positioning, which ultimately leads to the correct spelling of a specific word.

Power-ups are known as blaster heads in Galaga 3. They come in six different varieties, with each blaster head giving you a unique advantage. For instance, pink blaster heads, which are called Elephants, will cause your enemies to fire upon you at a much slower speed while the green colored, called the Cyclone blaster head actually generates a twister that wipes your enemies off of the screen.

The red Phalanx blaster head allows you to generate a portal that can be used to capture enemy ships while still in formation. A maximum of six enemies can be 'held hostage' at once and they will actually fight against their comrades every time that you take a shot. The Sidewinder blaster head is bright blue and shoots four bullets at a time. Acquire the Hyper blaster head to fire off shots 1 ½ times faster than normal. Stardust is a yellow blaster head that gives you the ability to continue the direction of your shots after they have already been fired.

You can also shoot to kill after you have solved the word based puzzle in each challenging stage. Most versions of Galaga 3 give players two extra lives at the start of every new game. Extra men are awarded when you have 70K points on the board.

You will be limited to making two shots at a time, unless the Hypership feature is activated. One by one, your opponents will fly onto the screen and stay in their predetermined spaces. A yellow star icon will flash across, the screen. Shoot this star. Next, aim for the bottom row of enemies, specifically the space ship found second from the left.

After this, a few Kings will make a beeline for the player ship. Allow any one of these enemies to collide with you, and you will end up with the Hypership bonus.

Each word that appears in the Challenging stages is spelled out in the following order; Bonus, Gaplus, Double, Triple, Good, ByeBye and Extend. There is a set point value for each word. There are also shooting stars and special flags that appear throughout Galaga 3. In some cases, firing on a shooting star will give you 1/3 of a ship in the bottom corner of the screen. Collecting all of the pieces of the ship results in one extra life. Special flags are also related to shooting stars. You have to bring your ship close enough to the special flag to capture it, and when this occurs, your weapon will fire three rounds at a time.


Lutes – Lutes are red and bright blue, and only appear third from the bottom in Galaga 3. They transform into a bright blue bug toward the end of the game.

Cap – These enemies somewhat resemble beetles and come in a deep red color. Caps are positioned third from the bottom in every level. When shot during later stages, they transformed into a winged creature.

Player Ship – You are in control of the player ship at all times. Grab a blaster head to power-up your ship, but beware of bullets and attacking enemies.

King – Kings are red, large and look like queen bees. There are always fewer Kings than any other enemy, likely because they possess the coveted blaster heads. Kings go through a total of two transformations.

Zako – The Zako is always placed toward the bottom of enemy formations. A little under two dozen of these monsters must be defeated before you can get to the upper rows.

Blaster Heads – Dropped toward the bottom of the screen by defeated Kings, blaster heads give players a temporary power-up. There are blue, yellow, red, pink, green and bright blue blaster heads, all of which giving different special powers.

Ado – These enemies have bright blue wings and large, red colored heads. Having one of the highest total point values, Ados have will give you even more points if you wait to shoot until after they have broken formation.

How to Play Galaga 3

There is no end game or kill screen in Galaga 3, so your initial aim should be to get through all seven of the Challenging stages. There will be five more levels left for you to complete after the seventh Challenging stage, then you will return to the first level again. This will mark the beginning of round two.

All stages start with a specific attack formation consisting of all enemy groups. They will individually break formation, shoot and return to their ranks at random points on each level. At most, you may have as many as two bullets on the screen at any one time, unless you have acquired a power-up. As soon as they have been cleared, you can shoot two more shots.

There will be 42 enemies stacked together in neat rows on each and every level. Because of the limited number of shots that can be taken at any given time, it is important that you use a basic strategy to acquire power-ups and avoid being killed. Kings are seen as the most valuable enemy group in Galaga 3 simply because they hold the key to unlocking all of the game's special features.

Instead of taking out the bottom row of enemies first, you may want to vary your shots and aim for space ships on the left and right. This will give you more room to 'hide' along the outside edges of the screen, and it will also give you more time to react to opposing attacks.

Levels 1 – 2
All stages use the same formation; kings on the top level, then ados, caps, lutes and zakos on the bottom. Any enemy on the bottom or the sides can fly off, shoot and use a diving styled attack. If one of these enemies or bullets hit you, there will be a man lost. When unsuccessful, the enemies will simply return to their original position.

One of the kings will be holding the Phalanx blaster head during levels one and two, so be careful as you shoot. Obtaining and keeping the Phalanx will make finishing the first Challenging stage much easier, but only if you are able to keep hold of this power-up.

When you are further along, you will notice that enemies move faster and shoot at you more often. Use the up, down, right and left arrows to evade opponents and their barrage of weapons. After the first two boards are complete, you will come to the first Challenging stage.

Challenging Stage 1 - Bonus
All you have to do in this round is shoot your opponents to encourage them to move. When the word 'Bonus' is spelled correctly, you will be able to defeat all remaining space ships. The base bonus for this Challenging stage is 37,800 extra points.

Levels 4 – 6
Again, you will need to move your space ship while simultaneously attacking to kill all of your foes. The king space ships should drop at some point during these three levels. The Hyper blaster head will be revealed during level five. Make your way to the second Challenging stage.

Challenging Stage 2 – Gaplus
Each enemy represents one letter in the word Gaplus. When shot, they will shift and switch position. At the end of this round, you will be awarded 62,000 points.

Levels 8 – 10
The pace will be somewhat faster, but the main objective remains the same. Grab the Cyclone blaster head during stage 10. Shoot all of your opponents; move so that they cannot shoot your ship and progress to the third Challenging stage bonus round.

Challenging Stage 3 – Double
Shots will be raining down on you as you work to spell out the word 'Double.' Collect your 50,600 bonus points and move on to the next part of the game.

Levels 12 – 14
By now, you will have seen most of the types of blaster heads found in Galaga 3. Some power-ups remain active for an extended period while others only last a few seconds. Again, the Phalanx blaster head should appear sometime during level 12. Take out all of the Galaga army forces found on levels 12, 13 and 14 to get to the bonus round on level 15.

Challenging Stage 4 - Triple
Move the enemies with your bullets until you eventually reveal the word 'Triple.' A total of 78,300 points can be won if you get this word spelled correctly.

Levels 16 - 18
While you will still only be able to shoot off two rounds per turn, your enemies will have no such limitations. On level 16, a king will be holding the Elephant power-up. The Phalanx blaster head is obtainable during stage 17.

Remember that the swarm can also move in tandem, so avoid getting trapped in a corner. After you get past levels 16, 17 and 18, you will face the next Challenging level.

Challenging Stage 5 – Good!!
This time, you will be spelling out 'Good' with two explanation points at the end. At minimum, you will get 95,500 points for completing round number 19.

Levels 20 – 22
Levels 20, 21 and 22 are played like normal. The Cyclone blaster head makes an appearance during level 20, the Hyper power-up drops down during level 21 and the Phalanx blaster head can be equipped on level 22. Try to conserve your extra lives as the last few Challenging stages will be difficult to defeat.

Challenging Stage 6 – Byebye
'Byebye' is the target word on this stage. Only 25,000 points are awarded for completing this task, but you can increase your score by going after the remaining space ships at the end of the round.

Levels 24 – 26
During the last few levels of play, you should wait until your opponents break rank to attack. This will help you to get a higher total score as well as extra space ships. Hyper will be the first blaster head to appear during level 25, with the Elephant power-up coming during stage 26. Prepare to complete the last puzzle found in Challenging stage seven.

Challenging Stage 7 - Extend
Shoot your enemies carefully until the word 'Extend' is written on the screen. There is another 25,000 point bonus allotted for the successful completion of this bonus stage.

Level 28 and Beyond
When you have cleared Challenging stage number seven, you will continue to play every stage as normal until you hit level 32. After that, the game will technically be rolled over to level one again, but you will be working to complete round two. Each Challenging stage will appear at the same intervals as before, cycling through until you reach level 32 for a second round. After three complete rounds consisting of 32 levels, Galaga 3 will reach the end point. There will be no graphics to alert you to this fact, but instead, you will return to the start menu.

Hints and Tips
- Many of the blaster head bonuses are time sensitive. By contrast, the Hypership bonus does not become inactive until after you have lost a life.

- Take advantage of the fact that your enemies will go to their respective places one by one. You will get the most points if you allow them to initiate an attack before firing, however, this strategy may not be as helpful during the later stages of the game.

- The red blaster head bonus is the most desirable because it allows players to shoot much faster. Try playing on the easiest difficulty setting until you have mastered obtaining the red blaster head.


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