Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Galaga

Go To

Galaga note  is a fixed shooter arcade game and the sequel to Galaxian. It was released by Namco in 1981; the US version was released the same year under license to Midway (and later ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System to Bandai (now merged with Namco to form Bandai Namco Entertainment) and the Game Boy game systems (under license to Nintendo) along with Galaxian).

The objective of Galaga is to score as many points as possible by destroying insect-like enemies. The player controls a fighter spaceship that can move left and right along the bottom of the playfield. Enemies fly in groups into a formation near the top of the screen, then begin flying down toward the player, firing bombs at and attempting to collide with the fighter. Occasionally, a "boss Galaga" attempts to capture the player's fighter using a tractor beam. If successful, the fighter joins the formation and must be freed by the player (using another ship and costing him/her a life), enabling him/her to control two ships simultaneously and doubling the players' firepower. Galaga '88 even allowed the player to do the same with a third ship. The game is over when the player's last ship is destroyed or captured.

Galaga introduces a number of new features over its predecessor, Galaxian. Among these are a realistic explosion sound that occurs when the player loses a life, a count of the player's "hit/miss ratio" at the end of the game, and a bonus "Challenging Stage" that occurs every four levels, in which a series of enemies fly onto and out of the screen in set patterns without firing at the player.

Galaga is one of the few classic arcade games to still be profitable. It was released in a combination arcade game with Ms. Pac-Man and Pac-Man in 2001.

Notably, while the game was a fixed shooter, the background of the game was a field of stars that scrolled vertically, creating the illusion of moving through space. While it was strictly cosmetic in this game, Namco would expand on the idea the following year with Xevious (which incidentally ran on the same hardware).

The series has also been given a downloadable title in the same vein as Pac-Man Championship Edition: Galaga Legions on Xbox Live Arcade in 2008, with a Deluxe version released as part of the Namco Generations line on Xbox Live Arcade and Play Station Network in 2011.

There was a webcomic based on it written by Ryan North, as part of ShiftyLook, but that site is now defunct.

2016 saw the series return to the arcades in the form of Galaga Assault, which upgrades the graphics to HD and can now be played for tickets.

Galaga has examples of:

  • Another Dimension: In Galaga '88 some enemies give bombs. Collect two of them to open a rift to warp to another dimension after each Challenging Stage, where enemies are harder to fight.
  • Antagonist Title: The alien race is known as the Galaga (in stark contrast to its predecessor where the Galaxians are the players rather than the aliens).
  • Asteroids Monster: Some enemies in Galaga '88 split into four smaller enemies when they are destroyed and give you a bonus for killing all of them before they leave the screen.
  • Asteroid Thicket: Scrolling stages in Galaga '88 have asteroids, either fixed or moving around.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Galaga Arrangement makes it much easier to recapture ships. You no longer have to wait until the capturing enemy is out of formation before you can kill it to recover the ship and you also become invincible for a short time when the ship is freed so that you can't die before the ship returns to you and for a short time after.
  • Attract Mode: Like every arcade cabinet.
  • Bonus Stage: The Challenging Stages (marked in Galaga '88 by a "That's Galactic Dancin' announcement), that show up every few stages. You can't die in them, and they just serve as a way of getting extra points, with a bonus awarded if you kill every target or a hidden bonus if you do nothing, in Galaga '88. Getting a dual ship beforehand makes them significantly easier to beat.
  • Bug War: Several of the enemies bear resemblance to insects. The final levels of Galaga Arrangement appear to be their hives, resembling a honeycomb.
  • Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp": Gaplus calls most stages "Parsec"s. The Challenging Stages are still called Challenging Stages, though.
  • Cast from Hit Points: In order to have dual ships blowing up enemies, you have to let one of them get captured, and you lose a life doing so.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Dual ships (and triple ships in '88 only) have wider shots that are easier to land on targets, averting One Bullet at a Time, but it also effectively doubles your hitbox, making it harder to dodge.
  • Difficulty by Acceleration: Enemies get faster and their bullets get harder to dodge as you get further into the game. Others will also try to kamikaze you.
  • End-Game Results Screen: At the end of the game, the screen displays the number of shots you fired, the number of shots that hit targets, and your hit-miss ratio. In Galaga '88, the game over screen also displays how far you made it through the game.
  • Endless Game: Until Galaga '88, there was no ending. Both versions of Galaga Arrangement give the game an ending, with a final boss at the end.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: Used in Galaga '88 to move between stages. You can also move to other dimensions after the Challenging Stage by collecting two blue crystals.
  • Flawless Victory: Destroy all 40 enemies during a Challenging Stage and the game will play a celebratory jingle, followed by giving you a 10,000-point bonus.
  • Fusion Dance:
    • Galaga '88 at the very least has enemies that can fuse to form other, much tougher enemies.
    • In Galaga Arrangement, rescuing a captured ship causes the two ships to combine together to form a more powerful one; how this upgrades the ship depends on which version you are playing. In the first Galaga Arrangement, they will combine into a larger ship, which comes in three different flavors depending on what type of enemy you rescued the ship from. In the second Galaga Arrangement, the ship does not become larger, but it gains bigger shots; but if you let the enemy capture two ships and rescue both of them, you can merge three ships together to form one that fires bigger shots and fires twice as many.
    • In Galaga '88, if you are hit by a tractor beam while you have two ships, they will merge together into a blue ship, which if recaptured will fuse with your ship to make a ship with three times the fire power but only twice as wide as a normal one, which splits into two ships if it gets hit.
  • Giant Mook: Galaga Arrangement occasionally has you encounter giant versions of enemies in the openings of levels. They usually do not join the formation in the main segment of levels, and so they usually just leave if not killed quickly enough. In Galaga '88, when the enemies start to run low, sometimes two enemies will combine into a much bigger one that takes several shots to kill.
  • Happily Ever After: The Golden Ending to 88.
  • Hostage Spirit-Link: Subverted. If you hit a captured fighter, nothing happens other than a point bonus, because you already got punished by losing one life.
  • Kill Screen: After stage 255, except on the highest difficulty level.
  • King Mook: King Galaspark, the Final Boss of Galaga Arrangement, looks like a much larger version of one of the game's common enemies.
  • Mercy Invincibility: In the later games, if you get hit while you have a double ship, you are invincible for a few seconds so that you can't lose both ships at the same time.
  • Mook Chivalry: If you free a captured ship, the enemies will let up for a few seconds to allow your ships to combine. Other than the challenging stages, that's about the only break you'll be getting in this game.
  • More Dakka: Gaplus lets the player capture up to six enemy ships and have up to 60 shots on screen at a time.
  • Moving Target Bonus: Hitting an enemy while it was attacking scores more points than hitting it while it was in formation. Also, hitting a boss Galaga while one or two red Galagas are attacking with it scores even more points.
  • Multiple Endings: Galaga '88 has different endings depending on which dimension you took to beat it, from an image of your fighter returning to base with text mentioning how the aliens struck back seven years later, to a female fighter pilot thanking you for saving her and inviting you to be together as a man and a woman.
  • Nintendo Hard: On the lower end of the scale compared to other arcade games, but this is still a tough game to get through. Even the Dual Ship will only help you so much by the time you get to later levels, where the enemies don't let up and get much harder to dodge. '88 is even more difficult as it adds several new kinds of enemies and gives new abilities to some of the old ones. Plus, more enemies attack you at a time. Recapturing ships becomes very tricky with the sheer amount of enemies and bullets you have to dodge, and even if you manage to do it, you are not likely to keep it for long.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: Getting your last ship captured instead of destroyed.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Your default ship. Getting a Dual Ship adds an extra hit point, though. It can have up to three hitpoints in Galaga '88 and the second version of Galaga Arrangement.
  • Shoot 'Em Up: Everything that moves.
  • Shout-Out: One enemy type that only appears in the challenging stages is large blue ships called Enterprises.
  • Spelling Bonus: The Challenging Stages in Gaplus have the player juggling enemies and gradually spelling out words that describe what happens if spelled out. For example, "DOUBLE" will double the number of points received from the Challenging Stage. "BYE BYE" is probably best left not spelled.
  • Tractor Beam: With a side of Spectacular Spinning. You can shoot while you're spinning, possibly hitting an enemy (including the boss capturing you; destroying it releases your ship).
  • Turns Red: The boss Galagas take two hits to destroy, turning darker colors after the first, although this does not change their behavior. Galaga '88 adds new kinds of enemies that change after they are hit. One type of enemy takes three hits to kill and grows larger with each hit until it pops. King Galaspark from the first Galaga Arrangement becomes more and more red as he takes damage and changes his bullet patterns. When his health gets very low he will occasionally try to ram the player's ship.
  • Unexpected Genre Change: Downplayed in 88; at times it goes from a fixed shooter into a scrolling shooter and adds music. Galaga: Destination Earth has stages that switch to first-person.
  • Un-Installment: Gaplus, the sequel to Galaga, had conversion kits that changed the title to Galaga 3 in North America. There was no Galaga 2 unless Galaxian was counted as an entry.
  • Updated Re-release: The game has been given two Arrangement versions with updated graphics, music, and slightly altered gameplay: one in Arcades in 1996, and another on PSP in 2005.
  • Video Game Remake: The 2005 Arrangement made for Namco Museum Battle Collection is a remake of both Galaga '88 and the 1996 Arrangement, sharing some of the same enemies, levels, and bosses, with a few unique twists.
  • Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing: If done in the Challenging Stages in 88, the player gets a bonus equal to what the Flawless Victory bonus would have been.
  • Yet Another Stupid Death: Before you get your ship captured so you can get the double ship (or triple in '88), check your life counter. If you have no lives left, you WON'T be getting your upgraded ship.

That man is playing Galaga! Thought we wouldn't notice, but we did.