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Galaga is a sequel to Galaxian and has similar gameplay. The player controls a spaceship (which can move only right or left) and shoots
at swarms of incoming insect-like aliens that fly in formation above him and occasionally swoop down to bomb him in a kamikaze-like
dive. The enemies in the top row will sometimes dive with one or two escorts. Enemies that survive a dive will rejoin the formation from
the top. When all enemies are destroyed, the player moves on to the next level. The game is over when the player's last ship is destroyed
The game differs from Galaxian in several ways:
• Two player shots can appear on the screen simultaneously.
• At the beginning of each level, enemies fly into the formation in groups, which the player can shoot on their way in. In later stages, extra
enemies in each group break off and dive at the player.
• Boss Galagas (green-and-yellow aliens that replace the Galaxian Flagship) take two hits to destroy. They also occasionally stop in
mid-dive and attempt to capture the player's ship with a tractor beam. See Captured Fighters below for more information.
• Galaga introduces a bonus stage, referred to as the Challenging Stage, in which a set of 40 enemies (including 4 Boss Galagas) fly in
predetermined patterns. The player's goal is to destroy all 40 enemies before they exit the playfield.
• Starting on Stage 4, a single non-boss enemy splits into three special enemies (referred to in Namco Museum as "Fish"), two of which
exit the playfield if not destroyed first. Destroying all three of the split enemies yields extra bonus points.
• When destroyed, the player ship emits a much more realistic explosion sound effect than the effect heard in Galaxian.
• The game keeps track of all of the player's shots and displays the player's "hit-miss ratio" at the end of the game.
• In two-player mode, it is possible for an experienced player to play his entire game before the second player gets his first turn.
Captured fighters :
Perhaps the most famous element of Galaga is the ability for the player's ship to be captured by the enemy. Boss Galagas
(the green enemies at the top of the formation) occasionally stop mid-dive and attempt to capture the player's ship with a tractor beam.
If the ship is captured, the boss carries it back up into the formation. If the captured ship is the player's last ship, the game ends.
The captured player ship acts as an escort to the boss Galaga that captured it, and dives down simultaneously with the Galaga.
To free the ship, the player must destroy the Galaga in mid-dive - if the Galaga is destroyed in the formation, the player ship will
attack on its own and leave the playfield, returning with another boss Galaga in the next round.
If the player successfully frees the captured ship, the two ships join together side-by-side, moving and shooting as one and effectively
doubling the player's firepower. If one of the ships is hit, only that ship is destroyed and the player continues with the surviving one.
Because of the obvious benefit of double firepower, a common Galaga strategy is to purposely let a boss Galaga capture a player ship
early in the game, then immediately free it.
Contrary to rumor, the double ship cannot be recaptured and released to form a "triple ship". Boss Galagas only attempt to capture
when a single player ship is in play. However, the triple ship is a feature in the sequel game Galaga '88.