Gaplus, far more commonly known as Galaga 3 (although the game was released under both titles in North America), is a fixed shooter arcade game that was released by Namco in 1984. It runs on Namco Phozon hardware and was only known as Gaplus in Japan. A modification kit was distributed later that changed the title screen to Galaga 3 to increase recognition among fans of the Galaga series and boost sales.
Finding this game for home video game consoles is very difficult. It only appears on some multi-game cartridges, which were released long after its arcade release. The reason it didn't have a home conversion for so long is due to the Video Game Crash of 1983. It was released on the PlayStation in 1996 as one of the games featured in Namco Museum Volume 2, using its original name "Gaplus." It is part of Namco Museum Remix for the Wii, which was released in 2007.
is a sequel to Galaga
and has similar gameplay. However, it has a much steeper learning curve and much deeper gameplay in later levels. The player controls a spaceship, that can now move vertically (limited to halfway up the screen) as well as horizontally, and shoots at swarms of incoming insect-like aliens which fly in formation above it and swoop down to bomb it in a kamikaze
-like dive. In this sequel, the level starts over if the player is killed before all the enemies have come in. When all enemies are destroyed, the player moves on to the next level. By obtaining certain power-ups, it is possible to shoot 60 bullets per screen; the most any Galaga related game has.
The game differs from its predecessor in several ways:
- 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. After this, shooting the star will make a special flag appear from the Namco game Rally-X that awards an extra life when collected.
- There are two special types of stages besides the normal levels called parsecs. These are levels where the starfield reverses and enemies come in waves, and then leave. After this, a small force comes in like a normal stage. The challenging stages are very different from the original. Enemies are juggled by shots, each hit slowly spelling out "Bonus", "Gaplus", "Double" or "Triple" for a bonus and additional hits scoring 200 points each. It is most effective to use the red and blue powerups to repeatedly hit them.
- Queen Gaplus sometimes drops one of several types of powerups when destroyed. She is the most colorful of the aliens and flies to the top of the alien formation. The red powerup captures enemies with a tractor beam where each one provides another shot. The blue powerup gives wider and faster shots. The green powerup captures enemies in a tractor beam that can then be shot for bonus points. The purple powerup changes the screen to a vertical orientation. It may also carry a third of a ship that will be kept track of at the lower-right of the screen between games. An extra life is awarded when 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, a bonus life at 30,000 points, 70,000 points, and every 70,000 thereafter on the easiest level of play. These settings can be changed via DIP switches on the game's motherboard.
- It is assumed that the name Gaplus is short for Galaga Plus. Oddly enough, while Gaplus is also known as Galaga 3, there was no official "Galaga 2". (Compare Rambo III.) While the Galaga 3 modification changed the game's title, one of the challenging stages still spells out "GAPLUS." Also the marquee on the arcade cabinet has been changed to Galaga 3. The marquee looks a lot like the original Galaga logo but now with a big red 3 beside it.
- As previously noted, each third of a bonus ship captured is displayed in the bottom right portion of the screen. Interestingly, as long as the machine is not turned off, any remaining parts will persist between games. This was a somewhat unprecedented feature that could possibly give some repeat players an advantage over those who only played once when competing for the high score.
- If a lot of credits are put in (a little over 99) the game will display "COIN JAMMED", and that there are -0 credits inserted. After that the game cannot be started, so it must be reset. This only happens on some early revisions of Gaplus, since all other Gaplus and Galaga 3 machines have a 9 credit coin lock. On the M.A.M.E. emulator, the romset for the version with this glitch is: gapluso.
An easter egg
exists in the game that lets a player obtain the upgraded ship on the first parsec, without resorting to the difficult shooting star method outlined above. This is achieved as follows. When the game begins, the player allows all enemy ships to "form ranks" without destroying any of them. When the shooting star appears, the player immediately shoots the bottom alien second from the left. Then the special flag will appear. The player does not collect the flag immediately (which awards a bonus life). Instead, they must wait for the King (carrying the tractor beam powerup) to attack, then crash their ship into him. (They must crash into the King, and not the powerup.) All remaining ships are immediately upgraded to the "triple shot" version. The player can then collect the flag to restore the lost life. If the flag is not obtained, and left into the next level, another flag will appear. By simply letting them gather on parsec 2 too, only instead of shooting the bottom left one, shoot the bottom second to right alien. As an additional quirk, in two player mode the second player's ships are also upgraded; that player can then use the same technique (excluding crashing into the King) to obtain an additional life, giving them an advantage in the game.