Galaga '88

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Galaga '88
Galaga 88 flyer.jpg
Arcade flyer
Composer(s)Hiroyuki Kawada
Platform(s)Arcade, PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16, Game Gear, X68000, Wii (Virtual Console)
  • JP: December 1987
  • NA: February 3, 1988
  • EU: 1988
PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16
  • JP: July 5, 1988
  • NA: 1989
  • JP: June 30, 1990
Game Gear
  • JP: October 25, 1991
  • EU: 1991
Virtual Console
PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16
  • JP: March 27, 2007
  • NA: August 6, 2007
  • EU: August 10, 2007
  • JP: June 23, 2009
Genre(s)Fixed shooter
Mode(s)Up to 2 players, alternating turns
CabinetUpright, cabaret, and cocktail
Arcade systemNamco System 1
CPU2x Motorola M6809 @ 2.048 MHz,
1x Motorola M6809 @ 1.536 MHz,
1x Hitachi HD63701 @ 1.536 MHz
Sound1x Yamaha YM2151 @ 3.57958 MHz,
1x Namco CUS30 @ 96 kHz,
1x DAC
DisplayVertical orientation, Raster, 224 x 288 resolution

Galaga '88[a] is a 1987 fixed shooter arcade game by Namco. It is the third sequel for Galaxian (following Galaga, and Gaplus). It features significantly improved graphics over the previous games in the series, including detailed backgrounds, larger enemies and greater ship details. Although it was well received, fewer cabinets of this game were produced than of Galaga and Gaplus. The game runs on Namco System 1 hardware. First ported on the NEC PC Engine, it was later released on the North American TurboGrafx-16 under the name Galaga '90 and the Sega Game Gear in Japan under the name of Galaga '91[b], and in Europe under the name of Galaga 2.

The backgrounds for Stages 15–17 (the fourth block of stages) consist of the green hexagonal space stations first seen in the 1981 Namco game Bosconian. Additionally, mines similar to those used in Bosconian are used as obliterable "obstacles" in these stages.

The game Ridge Racer Revolution features Challenging Stage #2 (Dimension 1) during its loading sequence. Shooting all 40 enemies before they fly away unlocks all of the opponent cars. Ridge Racer 64 also has Challenging Stage #2 (Dimension 1) as a secret bonus but with background music from Ridge Racer 64 itself.


Screenshot of the game

The gameplay in Galaga '88 is built on the same premise as that of the original Galaga game, but is in many ways more complex and more difficult. The game is divided into a series of 2 Stages distributed through eight Worlds. The starship Galaga accelerates between Stages and Worlds and even to higher dimensions (go to the section on Dimensional Travel below to find out more).

With the exception of the third and eighth, each World culminates in a Cha Cha Stage. There are six such stages to engage in any full game, and each begins with the on-screen announcement "That's Galactic Dancin'!" and has its own YM2151-generated song to which the enemy formations dance. In any given Challenging Stage, both the design of the enemies and their dancing formations shall vary according to the player's current Dimension. As in Galaga, the objective is to destroy all forty enemies before they fly away off the screen. However, refraining completely from touching any controls for the duration of a Challenging Stage awards a "secret bonus" ranging in value from 10000 to 25000 points, and equal to the "special bonus" which would have been awarded for destroying all forty enemy aliens instead.

Galaga '88 introduces a variety of new enemies and behaviors. Most of these special enemies are worth varying amounts of bonus points when destroyed. Some enemies can combine into larger enemies which take multiple hits to destroy, while others arrive in eggs, explode in a shower of fireworks, grow with multiple hits, or sport armor which makes them invincible while in formation. Certain enemies drop small formations of tiny creatures that wiggle their way down the screen, and still others can act as escorts to incoming groups of enemies and then quickly dive at the player before leaving the game. Most stages also include various obstacles which appear when the enemy formation has been assembled. These can be destroyed with either one or several shots, and the first one on each stage will leave a "Warp Capsule".

At the start of the game, the player can select how many Galaga starships to start with (one or two), affecting their number of remaining lives. The game ends after the final boss is defeated (or when the player's last ship is destroyed or captured) - in the latter case, the player can continue the game for an additional credit. The Game Over screen shows the player's hit-miss ratio and a visual representation of their progress. If the player reaches Stage 27, the game also shows a picture of the final boss (damaged if defeated, but silhouetted if not). If the arcade operator has set the "continue" option to "on", the player also cannot continue if he is defeated on Stages 27–29.

Captured starships[edit]

As in the original Galaga, "Boss Galagas" shall occasionally stop mid-dive, and attempt to capture the player's ship with a tractor beam. If captured, the boss returns with Galaga in tow to the enemy formation and attacks the player. As before, it is possible to free the ship by destroying the "Boss Galaga" that captured it while it is diving. Freeing a player ship causes it to join up with the current Galaga, doubling the ship's firepower. However, a new feature in this game allows the "dual ship" itself to be captured requiring a third player ship to free it, whereupon all three ships shall combine into a brand-new "triple ship", which appears as a large single ship, has synergistically increased firepower and cannot be subsequently captured. However, this does not make it invulnerable to enemies' attacks.

In later stages, the final enemy on any screen, if killed, may drop one purple canister (sometimes called a "quid"), which when collected immediately upgrades a single or dual ship directly to a triple ship and has no effect on the player's current number of remaining lives.

Dimensional travel[edit]

This game introduces a new gameplay element: the ability to accelerate into higher Dimensions. There are five Dimensions in the game, and accelerating to a higher Dimension yields a substantial bonus, and a higher level of difficulty. When the player's ship has warped into a higher Dimension, it remains there for the rest of the game. Also important to note is that Dimension One ends after Stage 10, so that a ship not already advanced into Dimension Two or higher will thereupon be automatically advanced, with no visual fanfare or bonus award.

Each Dimension has its own design of enemy aliens, formations employed in Challenging Stages, final boss for Stage 29, and Ending Message which rolls when the player defeats that Dimension's final boss (there are a total of four: one for Dimension Two, Three, Four and Five).

To perform an inter-Dimensional acceleration, the player must have obtained two blue cylindrical canisters (often called "Warp Capsules") before the next Challenging Stage. The player's ship collects these canisters during play, by either shooting away one of the several on-screen hovering "obstacles" or destroying a single large enemy (formed from the fusion of two smaller enemies together) and then catching the canister as it freefalls from the obliterated obstacle. When caught, a canister also gives the player's ship temporary invincibility. Only one canister may drop and be collected at a time, and no more than one canister per screen may be collected by a given method, so to collect both needed canisters in a single Stage, both methods of collection must be used at least once. The canisters stop appearing when the player has collected the two required, but the obstacles shall continue to appear at the start of the remaining stages in that World.

At the end of the next Challenging Stage, any collected canisters rise to the center of the screen and detonate. If only one canister has been collected it detonates without incident, no bonus is awarded, and the gameplay shall continue in the same Dimension. However, if the player has successfully collected both required canisters, the detonation causes a "rift" in the space-time fabric through which the ship accelerates to the next Dimension. If the player is already in Dimension Five, the normal detonation and acceleration sequence will still occur, but no bonus is awarded. The Dimension a player is in for the last World also determines the background graphics for Stages 27–29.


Galaga '88 was ported to the NEC PC Engine/TurboGrafx 16, but was released outside Japan as Galaga '90. It was also ported to the Sega Game Gear as Galaga '91 in Japan and Galaga 2 in Europe. In 2005, the arcade version of Galaga '88 finally arrived on home systems as part of the Namco Museum: 50th Anniversary compilation for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube and PC platforms. The arcade version is also on Namco Museum Virtual Arcade for Xbox 360 and Namco Museum for Nintendo Switch.

The PC Engine version of Galaga '88 was released on the Wii's Virtual Console service in Japan on March 27, 2007 and later as the game's arcade version on June 23, 2009. In North America, Galaga '90 was released via Virtual Console on August 6, 2007, and in Europe on August 10, 2007. The game was also re-released as part of the Pac-Man's Arcade Party arcade machine in 2010.

Galaga '88, along with Galaxian, the original Galaga, and Gaplus, was "redesigned and modernized"[1] for an iOS application compilation called the Galaga 30th Anniversary Collection, released in commemoration of the event by Namco Bandai. The collection app comes with Galaxian as a free game, with the remaining three games available in-app for $3 each or the complete set for $8. The app also features "Galaga points", collected as the games are played and used to unlock various consumable power-ups and special arcade cabinet designs, including the original art for each game.[2]


Galaga '88 is the second sequel to Galaga, and the fourth title in the Galaxian series. The complete series is depicted below:

  1. Galaxian (1979)
  2. Galaga (1981)
  3. Gaplus (1984) - also known as Galaga 3
  4. Galaga '88 (1987)
  5. Galaxian 3 (1990)
  6. Attack of the Zolgear (1994)
  7. Galaga Arrangement (1995) - released as part of Namco Classic Collection Vol. 1


  1. ^ Japanese: ギャラガ'88 Hepburn: Gyaraga 'Eiti Eito?
  2. ^ Japanese: ギャラガ'91 Hepburn: Gyaraga 'Nainti Wan?


  1. ^ "Jesse David Hollington, "Namco releases Galaga 30th Anniversary Collection"". 2011-06-09.
  2. ^ "Galaga 30th Anniversary Collection information from Apple iTunes". 2011-06-09.

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