Last updated: July 26, 2001 - Galaga pages updated
 

Galaga (Midway, Licensed from NAMCO, 1981)


Galaga front-on

    Woohoo! This is definitely #2 on my all-time list of arcade games I wanted to own someday, #1 being DoT:E of course. These go for quite a lot on Ebay, due to the great popularity of the game. I'd estimate it's only second to Ms. Pac-Man for desirability of ownership. Whenever I've seen these at auction, they have always sold for $600 and up, even in ruined condition. Imagine my surprise when at the Nov. 4 Indy auction  I saw a mini not getting much bidding action. I had played this one earlier, and knew it worked except for a little screen warping problem, so decided to bid on it. A little later, a full-sized upright Galaga was also not doing well, so I bit the bullet and picked it up. It's not as though I won't be able to get rid of the extra, right?

    Galaga, in case you've been in a closet the last 20 years, is a game by Bally-Midway, licensed from Namco. Due to the unusual arrangement here, this game uses some proprietary Atari chips on the boards, some of which may be scavenged from Dig-Dug boards. A raster graphics game, Galaga is a more mature version of Galaxian, game-play wise. The player controls a ship at the bottom of the screen, which moves left and right, firing at enemies and dodging bullets and the occasional suicide run.  There are two features which distinguish it from other games of its genre. First, the player earns a bonus stage, every third stage, in which s/he may collect extra points without being shot at, simply by hitting as many of the enemies as possible before they fly off the screen. A perfect (40 kills) score earns the player a 10,000 point bonus. Second, a special enemy sometimes fires a "tractor beam". If the player allows his ship to be captured by it, then shoots the enemy holding the ship later that stage, the player will get his ship back, and have it attach to his current ship, enabling the player to fire twice as many shots. The attached ship may be destroyed subsequently, leaving the player one ship to continue the level with. It is 2-player, but the players must take turns. High scores are not saved after power is turned off.

    The mini is in decent shape, with the usual flaking (mild) of backglass and cracking control panel overlay. There are some scrapes on at least one side of it, probably from moving, that would require replacing the fake wood grain finish. More serious is a stability problem with the game, causing it to reset at random intervals. The monitor is stretched too far vertically, and the graphics drop off the right-hand side. The upright apparently has a dead monitor, the side art has the usual nicks and cuts, and the kickplate art apparently has been painted over in black. The boards seem to work perfectly, however.
 

Shipping

    With the assistance of Jon Rabus, I was able to get these two back to the apartment complex with a minimum of fuss. The only problem was, where to put them? I decided to move the mini into the apartment so I could play it, and put the more troublesome UR into Jon's garage space for a while.
 
 

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