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Starting a new game[edit]

Galaga '88 select screen.png

Before you begin a new game, you are given the opportunity to make a selection. You can choose between starting the game off as a single Fighter, or starting off as a double Fighter. As a single Fighter, you start the game off with more extra lives, but weaker fire power. As a double Fighter, you start the game off with one fewer life, but better fire power. You're also more exposed to enemy fire and collision as a double Fighter. However, if you start off as a double Fighter, it will take less effort to achieve the Triple Fighter, since you only need to be capture by a Boss Galaga once.

If you're new to the game, and aren't familiar with the movement of your Fighter, as well and the enemy and their bullets, start off as a single Fighter until you get the hang of things. If you're goal is to achieve maximum firepower as quickly as possible, definitely start off as a double Fighter.

Stage flow[edit]

Most stages follow the same basic flow; pre-formation, formation, and break down.

Pre-formation
In the majority of stages, the pre-formation portion of the stage involves the arrival of the enemies which will occupy the formation. They can come from any side of the screen except for the bottom. They fly across in various patterns before flying to their designated locations within the formation at the top of the screen. Many enemies appear with a larger escort that takes several shots to destroy. The escorts will always flee the stage when they enemies they escort have reached the formation.
In some stages, 8 through 10 and 27 through 29, the pre-formation portion actually involves a vertically scrolling background as different sets of enemies attack you from the top of the screen. These enemies may or may not be the variety which will appear at the top of the screen once the pre-formation portion is complete.
Formation
The formation portion begins as soon as the pre-formation portion is complete. All surviving enemies occupy a position in the formation, which moves back and forth in a variety of patterns. Various members of the formation will break away and do a solo run to the bottom of the screen to attack your Fighter. Any enemy who survives this run and reaches the bottom of the screen will return to their place in the formation through the top of the screen. An enemy that remains in the formation is safer and easier to defeat than an enemy who has broken away from the formation. It should be noted that in stages 8, 9, 27, and 28, the entire enemy formation will instantly appear after the pre-formation period. Since you aren't given the opportunity to attack members of the formation before hand, they are unique in that you will always have to contend with a complete formation.
Break down
The break down portion of the stage is reached when none of the enemies remain in the formation. Once you are down to a handful of enemies, they will no longer return to their positions in the formation. Instead, they will continuously fly down from the top of the screen to the bottom in bombing runs. Some enemies will speed up if they are permitted to cross below the bottom of the screen more than once.

Dimensions[edit]

There are five different Dimension in Galaga '88. Dimensions differ from one another primarily by the enemies that they are composed of. Basic enemies like zako and goei only differ cosmetically; they behave exactly the same in all dimensions. However, some enemies are unique to particular dimensions, e.g. you will only encounter Dons in the first dimension, and Nins in the second dimension. The only exception to this is the fifth dimension which can draw on enemies from any of the previous four dimensions. Going up in dimensions doesn't necessarily increase the difficulty like rising through stages does, but it does alter the strategy that you need to employ against the enemies you encounter. Dimensions also determine which final boss you will face at the end of the game, as well as the ending message you receive.

You can only rise through dimensions; once you are in the second dimension, you can never return to the first. To change your dimension, you must collect two blue warp capsules. There are two means of collecting warp capsules. The first involves destroying any of the container objects that occupy the middle of the screen during the pre-formation portion of the stage. This method is not available in every stage, including the first two. The second method is to destroy the combined form of a goei enemy. You will only be given one warp capsule for either method per stage. Destroying a second container object or combined goei will not provide you with any more capsules.

Provided you collect two capsules by the time you reach a bonus stage, the two capsules will rise up after the bonus stage is complete and rip a hole in the fabric of space, transporting your Fighter to a new dimension. Also note that you will automatically travel to Dimension 2 if you complete Stage 10 while still in Dimension 1. As a result, it is impossible to complete the game from Dimension 1. If you only have one capsule, or you are already in the fifth and final dimension, the capsule will rise to the middle of the screen and disappear.

Note: the TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine version of the game only contains 4 dimensions. As a result, there is no forced increase from Dimension 1 to Dimension 2 after Stage 10.

Bonus stages[edit]

The original Galaga game introduced the world to bonus stages. So it's only natural that Galaga '88 contains them as well. Regardless of what dimension path you take through the game, you will be given six opportunities to participate in bonus stages before the end of the game. Which bonus stage you participate in is determined by your dimension.

In each bonus stage, a number of enemies appear from both sides of the screen. These enemies take various choreographed paths across the screen, often "dancing" to the music that accompanies the stage. Your goal is to destroy as many of the enemies that appear as possible. If you manage to destroy every enemy, you are given a large sum of bonus points. The number of enemies that appear is usually 40, but not always. Since your score is determined by the number of enemies you destroy out of 40, any bonus stages that do not contain 40 enemies gives you credit for the difference for free.

Normally, you have to destroy every enemy to earn the large bonus point reward, but there is a secret method to obtain it as well.

Game over[edit]

Galaga '88 ending screen.png

Your game will end under two conditions: you lose all your lives, or you defeat the final boss at the end of Stage 29. Either way, you are presented with a screen similar to the one shown on the left, which reports your progress through the game. You are shown the number of shots you fired, the number of hits you made, and your hit-to-miss ratio. Below these numbers is a graph showing which dimensions you traveled in as you played through each leg of the game. If you beat a final boss, an image of the defeated boss will appear in the middle of the graph.