North American arcade flyer
|Platform(s)||Arcade, Commodore 64|
|Mode(s)||Up to 2 players, alternating turns|
|Cabinet||Upright, cabaret, and cocktail|
|Arcade system||Namco Phozon|
|CPU||3x 6809 @ 1.536 MHz|
|Sound||Namco WSG @ 1.536 MHz|
|Display||Vertical orientation, Raster, 224 x 288 resolution|
Gaplus (ギャプラス Gyapurasu) is a fixed shooter arcade game that was released by Namco in 1984 as a sequel to 1981's Galaga. In the US a modification kit was later released to change the name to Galaga 3, possibly to increase recognition, even though there was no "Galaga 2". It was the only other game to run on Namco Phozon hardware. A contemporary home port for the Commodore 64 was released in 1988.
Gaplus is a sequel to Galaga and has similar gameplay. The player controls a spaceship, that can now move vertically (limited to halfway up the screen, much like Atari's Centipede) as well as horizontally, and shoots at swarms of incoming insect-like aliens which fly in formation above it and swoop down to attack it in a kamikaze-like dive. In this sequel, the level starts over if the player gets killed before all the enemies have come in. When all enemies are killed, the player moves on to the next level. By obtaining certain powerups, it is possible to shoot sixty bullets per screen, the most any Galaxian-related game has.
The game differs from its predecessors in several ways (including the fact that the appearance of the enemies changes every ten levels):
- By shooting at a shooting star that occasionally appears, the player can get a ship with new graphics that can have three shots on screen instead of two (known as the "Hypership"). After this, shooting the star will make a "special flag" from Rally-X appear, which will award the player an extra life when collected. A similar "triple" ship would later go on to appear in Galaga '88.
- On certain levels (referred to as parsecs in the game) the scrolling of the starfield changes: instead of scrolling from the top to the bottom of the screen, it either scrolls from bottom-to-top or side-to-side. This is accompanied by dramatic music and some groups of enemies attacking in waves, leaving the playfield if not shot. After this, a small squadron appears in formation, as in a normal level.
- The challenging stages are different from those for Galaga - enemies are juggled by shooting them, each hit slowly spelling out (in order as the game progresses): "Bonus", "Gaplus", "Double", "Triple", "Good!!", "Lucky", "Bye Bye", and "Extend"; shots that hit enemies after the word has been spelled out each award an extra 200 points (indicated by up to four rows of green bees that appear above the word; the total number of bonus hits allowed varies from challenging stage to challenging stage). It is most effective to use the red and blue Blaster Heads to repeatedly hit them. Some challenging stages also have an additional bonus awarded after the word has been spelled and the bonus calculated. For example, on a challenging stage where "Gaplus" is spelled out, the player is instructed to press the firing button, for an additional bonus; the award is between 10,000 and 40,000 points, in multiples of 10,000. On the "Lucky" level, a bonus ship piece will be awarded; however, on the "Bye Bye" level a bonus ship piece will be taken away (or 10,000 points, if the player has no ship pieces).
- At stages over 10 and up, shooting the enemy causes them to turn into a deadly energy cube that cannot be destroyed but can destroy the player.
- The "Boss Galaga" from Galaga returns as the King Gaplus - a single enemy who sits at the top of the alien formation. He typically carries an item which can be obtained if he is destroyed while attacking. One type of item is a series of ship upgrades called "Blaster Heads", which are as follows: the red Phalanx captures enemies with a tractor beam where each one provides another shot; the blue Hyper gives wider and faster shots, an upgraded version of the "double" ship from Galaga; the green Cyclone captures enemies in a tractor beam that can then be shot for bonus points; the purple Elephant is temporary and slows all enemies down, but not their shots; the grey Sidewinder allows the player to direct his or her shots left and right as they move; finally, the rare yellow Stardust is temporary and turns all enemy shots into harmless stars. All of these powerups may be stacked on top of one another - greatly increasing the player's maximum firepower. If the King does not have one of these powerups, he may instead carry one of three parts for the player's ship. When obtained, these parts will get placed in the bottom-right corner of the screen; an extra life is awarded after all three are collected.
Gaplus can be played by a single player or by two players (alternating turns). The factory settings start the player out with three lives, with a bonus life awarded at 30,000 points, 70,000 points and every 70,000 points thereafter on the easiest level of play. These settings, like those of every other 8-bit Namco title before it, can be changed via DIP switches on the game's motherboard.
Gaplus in included in Namco Museum Volume 2. It was also released on mobile phones as Galaga 3, and is also part of the Namco Museum Remix (2007) and Namco Museum Megamix (2010) for the Wii with its original title being used. The original version was later re-released under its original name for the Wii Virtual Console Arcade on March 25, 2009 in North America, at a cost of 600 Wii Points (500 Wii Points in Europe and Australia).
Along with Galaxian, Galaga, and Galaga '88, Gaplus was "redesigned and modernized" for an iPhone app compilation called the Galaga 30th Anniversary Collection, released in commemoration of the event by Namco Bandai.