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A lot of people feel that Galaxian was rendered completely obsolete by Galaga. Why play Galaxian when you can play Galaga? It has so many more features, so much more action, it's so much faster paced, the enemies come in so many different patterns. Personally I disagree that Galaxian was rendered obsolete by Galaga. Galaxian is a slower game and you can only have one missile on the screen at a time, but this makes accuracy an imperative and accurately timing your shots is a much bigger deal than in Galaga. I get different things out of both games and enjoy them both. I do understand how most people might prefer Galaga though. It's just so much more fast paced. It's Galaxian on steroids. Galaxian with fuel injection. But ok, if your average person thinks Galaga rendered Galaxian obsolete, then how come Gaplus hasn't rendered Galaga obsolete? I can predict some of the answers. "Well, Galaga came out in 1981, and for 1981 it was groundbreaking. Gaplus came out in 1984, and for 1984 it wasn't groundbreaking, so it never caught on." To me this explains why Gaplus wasn't a huge hit back in the day. The arcades had moved away from the classic fixed shooters to more exciting pastures. But these days people are playing these arcade games at barcades, on Namco Museum game collections on various consoles, or on MAME. I get that many people grew up with Galaga and are going to be nostalgic for it and prefer it on principle. But it seems like a lot of people who didn't grow up with any of these games still only talk about Galaga. If nostalgia isn't what's going on, then what is? Gaplus has a lot more going on than Galaga, as evidenced by this flyer. Unless I'm missing something, Gaplus exceeds Galaga by every metric. So what's the deal? I will say that Gaplus can be cryptic... In Galaga it's pretty straightforward how to get the double-ship. You allow yourself to be captured, sacrifice a life, then retrieve the stolen ship. Not too complicated. In Gaplus you can get the "Hypership", the upside down U shaped ship seen on the title screen, allegedly by shooting the shooting star (literally a yellow star that appears and shoots at you) multiple times. However, I've tried this again and again and again, and every time the shooting star simply disappears after a number of shots. I've managed to shoot it 5 times or so and I never got the Hypership. Apparently there is a way to cheat. "At the start of the first stage, the player must move the ship up the screen until it stops and just let it sit there without shooting anything until all forty-three of the aliens have taken their place in the formation. After the shooting star appears, the player must shoot the second Zako from the left in the bottom row of the formation without hitting any other enemies. A Rally-X Special Flag will then appear, and when the King flies down, the player must crash into him (but not the "blaster head" that he is yielding) and your regular ship will turn into a "Hypership" that can fire three shots on the screen at a time instead of just two. However, if you fail to do this correctly, you will not have any other chances to do this in the game. Firing enough shots on the shooting star that appears if you don't shoot any enemies on the first stage is rumored to also grant the hypership." This does indeed work. But it seems like a cheap trick. So far that's my only complaint with Gaplus. The title screen teases that you can get this cool mysterious ship, but I can't imagine ever figuring out how to get it if I couldn't look it up. It doesn't seem like something someone could ever stumble upon. Most websites simply say that shooting the shooting star can grant the Hypership, but if that's true, I can't figure out how to do it. Pardon the long post. Too long didn't read: 1.) Why isn't Gaplus more popular? Why does Gaplus seem to be the black sheep of the Galaxian/Galaga/Gaplus trilogy? 2.) How the heck are you actually supposed to get the Hypership?
There are a bunch of early arcade games that tried to ape the success of Space Invaders. Some were fun, many were forgettable. I've been playing Cosmic Guerilla on MAME and I think it's one of the very best of these early arcade shooters. In the game the enemies are goatmen (according to the cabinet artwork) arranged in columns on the left and right hand side of the screen, where you cannot shoot them. The center of the screen is dominated by temples (laser guns? pyramids?), which represent your lives, and maidens (according to the cabinet artwork) that are guarding the temples. The goatmen begin advancing towards the center of the screen, and when they reach one of the maidens, they drag them off to the side of the screen, removing them from the game, then begin the trek back to the center to abduct more. If eventually a goatman reaches one of your temples, he will try to drag the temple to the edge of the screen, and if he succeeds you lose a life. As the levels increase the goatmen move faster and fire more projectiles. You have to juggle shooting goatmen on either side of the screen. Sometimes one goatman will get turbo charged and race in and abduct a maiden/temple at a high speed, and will keep stealing maidens until you manage to shoot him. Occasionally flying saucers will zoom in and try to shoot you, shooting it gives bonus points. A mothership sometimes flies across the upper screen and shooting it gives lots of bonus points. One aspect of the game I wasn't prepared for is that each "level" brings new goatmen, but you never get more maidens or temples (you can win an extra temple/life as a points reward). As your maidens/temples get stolen, that's it, they don't ever come back. This makes it imperative that you shoot those marauding goatmen that are running off with your maidens. Every time they succeed defeat looms closer. This game does the "frantic and hectic" thing very well. I have to say, this is one of the most addictive fixed shooters I've ever played, and I've tried to play all of them. I discovered it last night and woke up excited to play more. My highest score so far is 4910, and while not much in almost any other game, for an hour or two of playing I'm pretty happy with it. I do look forward to getting better. The ROM file does seem to be damaged. I get a warning in MAME stating that "There are known problems with this machine", and true enough, the game crashes on me sometimes. It will freeze and my score will start blinking and I can't seem to do anything about it. I'm using an older version of MAME so that might be the issue. I will note that the name of the game is nonsensical and ridiculous. Take the promotional flyer for the game. "Dodge the Guerilla!" What guerilla? "Protect your laser guns!" What laser guns? Is the player icon supposed to represent a temple, a laser gun, or an archer on a dragon? Because of the name I thought this game would be garbage, but it's apparently simply the victim of nonsensical marketing.
So I'm thinking of getting a custom cart made of a 2600 Galaxian hack I made a few years ago. I'd like everyone's input on the label. I've come up with two designs. The first is a silver label influenced by 7800 Galaga. The second, I went in a different direction. It's a picture label with campy comic style art work. In case you're wondering, that art work was the box art on the Commodore 64 floppy disk version of Galaxian. If anyone is interested in the game bin file, I posted it back around 2010 but I'll attach a copy here too. There are many good hacks of Galaxian floating around but this one is my favorite. But I'm probably biased. GalaxianTK.bin