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


Galaga was originally released in Japan in 1981. This is the second game in the Galaxian series, which is a first person shooter. The storyline itself is sparse. However, Galaga is the name of the invading army based somewhere in outer space. Promotional art depicts the army as a species of giant bugs, however, they are not physically seen in the game. Only space ships of varying shapes and sizes make up the Galaga army.

Numerous bugs, modifications and cheats have been discovered or created over the years. One of the most popular game exploits within Galaga allows you to play without facing actual enemy fire. This does not eliminate all threats as opposing space ships can still collide with your space craft and cause you to lose a life. A different game modification to Galaga requires the installation of a chip which makes rapid fire as easy as holding down the action key.

Galaga was both published and developed by video game pioneer Namco. Midway also played a role in publishing Galaga. Both one and two player modes are supported. Originally, Galaga could only be played on the Famicon and Atari 7800 home gaming systems. Next, Galaga was released on the Nintendo home game entertainment system, the first Sega home console and a version was also made available for play on PCs. Galaga was also one of the first games produced for the Game Boy portable gaming device, which debuted in 1989.

Few updates have been made to the original, but this has not has an impact on its success. Even the most recently released sequels, such as Galaga Legions DX and Galaga Legions, are not visually or structurally too far off from the original.


Game Play Overview

Technically, there are 255 levels in Galaga. After the completion of the 255th stage, your score will be reset and you will start stage 'zero.' Although Galaga was designed to provide infinite play, this overlooked glitch doesn't cause many players trouble as few ever make it this far in the game.

In addition to the 255 available levels of standard game play, there is also a recurring series of bonus round referred to as the Challenging stages. During the Challenging stages, you will not be fired upon. The focus is to accumulate as many points by destroying all incoming enemy ships.

There are only three different enemy groups, not counting some of the ships only seen during the Challenging stages. Enemy space ships attack in the same pattern on every level. The first opponents you will face are the blue enemy ships. These opponents attack in a circular motion, then exit the screen on either the left or the right side.

Red enemy ships zig zag back and forth, frequently entering and exiting the screen from the sides. This makes them a little harder to shoot. The boss ships are a little larger and will fire upon you with more veracity. They can also capture one of your men, which is an ability that actually becomes useful to you as you progress in the game.

Diving spacecrafts, also known as kamikazes, are spawned from the last few blue and red fighters remaining at the last part of each level. Although there will only be a few attacking you, they will all attempt to run into your ship. When unsuccessful, they will appear again at the top of the screen.

Special Features

The most powerful special feature is the double ship bonus. If you have extra lives remaining, you can purposely allow one of your fighter space ships to be captured. You will immediately get access to another ship and the captured ship will be guarded by enemies toward the top of the screen. If you manage to shoot the boss ship connected to your fighter ship while it’s flying, you will be rewarded with a double ship capable of double fire power.

However, there is a tradeoff. Activating the double ship bonus is equivalent to sacrificing a man. If your ship is captured when you have no more remaining lives, the game will be over. You can get extra men every time that your score increases by 70,000 points. The first extra man will be given when you get to 20,000 points, then a second at 90,000 points.

Getting a perfect score on the Challenging stages results in a 10K point bonus. As a result, you will get one extra ship. Eliminating all enemies during the Challenging stages is a surefire way to quickly rack up extra lives.

After the first few rounds, you will start to see new enemies emerge periodically. Some look like bees, while others are just different colored ships. Not only are these special enemies worth more points, they are also much less aggressive. If you have the opportunity to target these special enemies, you will be able to reach a much higher score.


Red Spacecrafts – These enemies dart in and out frequently, which means that you will need to keep a close eye on the sides of the screen. If you wait too long, they can turn into diving spacecrafts.

Blue Spacecrafts – Similar to red enemy ships, blue spacecrafts enter from the top, circle around a few times, then disappear for a short while. These are also capable of turning into kamikazes.

Kamikazes – When blue and red spacecrafts aren't taken out within the first few waves of attacks, they automatically turn into kamikazes. These enemies will come at you fast and hard, and they will keep attempting to destroy you until they are successful or you shoot them down.

Boss Spacecrafts – As the last group of enemies to enter the screen on every level, boss ships have a very special feature. While they are no more or less dangerous than other opponents, these are the only ships that can help you attain the double ship bonus.

Player ship – This is the unnamed space ship controlled by players, sent on a mission to stop the Galaga army invasion.

How to Play Galaga

There is little difference between the first few levels of Galaga and the higher stages. Opposing space ships will fly faster and more special enemies will be introduced. Other than that, your best bet is to get the double ship bonus and shoot as fast as you can. Earning points is also critical in Galaga as it is the only way that you can get extra lives.

When the game first begins, a group of red space ships will initially attack. There will be 18 of them on all stages. Next, some blue enemy ships will go round in small circles before the boss spacecrafts make their appearance. Four of the boss ships and 16 of the blue ships will attack you on each and every level. This attack pattern will be repeated three times before you can progress to the Challenging stages.

Challenging Stage 1
All space ships enter from above, flying straight down and then dispersing to the sides. By keeping your ship in the middle, you will be able to hit the action key repeatedly and eliminate all of your targets before they are able to break up.

Challenging Stage 2
On Challenging stage number two, there will be multiple waves of enemies, all emerging from the sides. The first wave will come in from the left and fly very close to your ship. This should make it easier for you to hit them all as your bullets will not have to travel far. If you are armed with the double ship bonus, you will be able to get a perfect score with little effort.

Challenging Stage 3
The enemies that appear on Challenging stage three take on a variety of formations. At first, the enemy ships will fly in neat rows, but they will take off in different directions after a few seconds. You should aim to annihilate them all as soon as they start coming on screen. If you start the stage off by positioning your ship toward the left, you should be able to get them all with no stragglers leftover.

Shoot the next group of ships in the same manner, by positioning yourself to the left, then following them to the right, shooting all along the way. There will be one more wave coming, so get your ship positioned on the right side of the screen and get them all as they come in.

Challenging Stage 4
Your enemies will come in from the bottom left hand corner, flying in a diagonal direction, then making a sharp but smooth turn toward the bottom. The best way to describe this pattern is to compare it to an arch. Since this wave of enemies will not go past the middle of the screen, you are better off staying toward the left.

A second and nearly identical wave will again emerge from the left hand side, so don't go beyond the middle of the screen. The third group of enemy spacecrafts flies in a similar pattern, except they will emerge from the opposite side of the screen. The fourth wave will come in from the left side again, immediately followed by another group of enemies flying in the arch pattern, but from the left.

Challenging Stage 5
To get a perfect score this round, you will have to put your ship in a very particular position. Try to aim for the center again, but nudge the ship a few inches to the left. This group of enemy ships flies in the same looping formation seen with the standard blue ships. Basically, you will be moving from right to left, then left to right. Use the middle of the screen as a guide so that you don't veer too far from the center. Several waves will come from both directions, but as long as you stay in the right position, you should get a perfect score.

Challenging Stage 6
The enemies on this stage have a peculiar flight pattern. They come in from the top, but they make a sharp turn toward the outside of the screen almost as abruptly as they come in. If you want to eliminate them all, you will need to start shooting them as soon as you see them. Make sure that your ship is lined up with them as they make their entrance, then follow the last remaining spacecrafts as they make a beeline for the sides.

Challenging Stage 7
For Challenging stage seven, you should get your ship as far over to the right as possible. Your enemies will be flying up and down in tiny arcs, similar to a wave. Once you shoot the first group, you should move over a little closer to the middle. Follow this wave of enemies as they make three sharp and abrupt turns in the middle of the screen, being sure to shoot them all.

The remaining two waves of enemies will fly in the exact same manner, except they will come in on the other side. Send your ship all the way to the left, then shoot in rapid succession. This should allow you to get every opponent.

Challenging Stage 8
The last Challenging stage moves at a slightly quicker pace, so make sure that you get your ship over to the left a bit as soon as you can. As the spacecrafts come in on the left hand side, quickly tap the fire key. Return your ship to the center of the screen but still a little toward the left, and prepare for the next wave that comes in from the upper portion of the screen. For the last wave, you will want to return to the dead center again.

Bonus Morphing Stage 1
Before the Bonus Morphing stages initialize, you will be given fair warning. You should notice a yellow colored ship heading a line of ships. This yellow ship will break ranks and start to emit a weird sound. Soon after this, a group of green and red ships will emerge. Shoot them all for an easy 1,000 point bonus apiece.

Bonus Morphing Stage 2
The next time that you reach the Bonus Morphing stage, you will be fighting both the yellow ship that turns into green and red ships along with a row of yellow ships. These enemies are valued at 2,000 points each.

Bonus Morphing Stage 3
In addition to the yellow morphing space ship, the red and green spacecrafts and the yellow ships, you will face a group of red ships that fly in a tricky pattern. This time, you will be rewarded with a 3,000 point bonus for every enemy eliminated.

Beyond Level 255
Many things can happen when you play Galaga beyond the 255th level. The outcome of the game depends on the difficulty setting. If you happen to make it this far in the game while playing at the maximum difficulty setting, you will unofficially stuck on the 'zero' level forever. Your score will continue to go up, and your enemies will continue to come faster and harder.

In other versions of Galaga, you will just start to play the game again from level one. Still, other difficulty settings will give you a new board that combines enemies seen on the Challenging stages as well as those that appear during normal game play. So you will have to figure out which enemies shoot and which enemies are harmless simply based on the way that they look.

Hints and Tips
- In addition to the physical modifications that can be made to Galaga, there are also numerous cheats and exploits. One exploit will allow you to prevent any enemy from firing upon you. To accomplish this, you will have to take out all of your enemies on the first level, save a couple of blue spacecrafts. They will loop, attack, loop again and attack some more for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Eventually, the firing will cease. Wait until they complete their regular looping pattern a few more times before shooting them down. After this, you will not have to worry about enemy gunfire for the remainder of the game.

- Although your weapon will shoot much more quickly in Galaga than in its predecessor, Galaxian, there is no real rapid fire mode available until you made a modification. Tapping the action button will send a few bullets firing off, but you will need to continue to hit the action key if you want an endless line of gunfire.

- In order to activate double ship bonus mode, you will need to allow a boss ship to capture you. Although this task isn't difficult to complete, remember that any remaining red ships or blue ships can cause your instant demise. Clear the screen until nothing but a single boss ship remains if you want to be captured safely.


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