Gaplus (ギャプラス, Gyapurasu) , 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 (ギャラガ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 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 was released on mobile phones with its "Galaga 3" title. It is part of Namco Museum Remix for the Wii, which was released in 2007. The original version was re-released under its original name, for the Wii Virtual Console Arcade on March 25, 2009, at a cost of 500 Wii Points
Gaplus 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. Also, a glitch was found: at the start of Parsec 1, the player can move the ship up the screen until it stops and let the ship sit there without shooting anything until the enemies have all come in. After the shooting star passes by, the player can shoot the second Gaplus from the left in the bottom row of the formation without hitting other enemies. The Special Flag then appears, and when the Queen Gaplus flies down, the player can run into her (but not into the powerup)and the regular fighter will turn into another ship that fires 1 shot on screen when it is supposed to fire three.
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.
The 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. All of these powerups may be stacked on top of one another, greatly increasing the player's maximum firepower, compared to the dual ship configuration of Galaga, which is absent in this game. Also, 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.
After Parsec 10, the enemies become green-and-blue colored and look like Galaxians. When destroyed, they each drop a bluish particle that kills the player's ship if it hits it.
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.
Source: Wikipedia, "Gaplus," available under the CC-BY-SA License.