Lost In Translation/Galaga

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This page is a stub for arcade games that are part of the Lost In Translation series using information based on MAME (version 0.113u2).
For an example of preferred content and layout please refer to Out Run or The Ninja Warriors.

Galaga marquee.
No screen shot.
Galaga control panel.
Manufacturer Namco
Released 1981
2-way Joystick
1 Button(s)
Main CPU (3x) Z80 (@ 3.072 MHz)
MB8844 (@ 256.000 kHz)
Sound CPU Mono
Namco (@ 96.000 kHz)
Raster (Vertical)
288 x 224 pixels
60.61 Hz
576 Palette colours
Screens 1
ROM Info 16 ROMs
39,968 bytes (39.03 KiB)
MAME ID galaga · galagamk · galagamw · galagao · gallag · gatsbee

About The Game

Galaga is an arcade video game shoot-em-up, where you are the pilot of a spaceship referred to in-game as a Fighter, stationed in space, to defend your planet against the on-coming hordes of invaders. Your mission is to destroy as many of the enemy ships as possible.

These invaders arrive in convoys. They will attack you while swerving back and forth across the screen, dropping bombs all the while. A certain breed of the enemy ships, the Boss Galaga, can put out a tractor beam and capture your Fighter. That Fighter changes color from white to red and stays with that particular Boss Galaga for the rest of the game. You can get it back by destroying the Boss Galaga that captured it while they are both attacking your current Fighter. If you do this, the rescued Fighter changes color again from red back to white, and links up with your current Fighter. This doubles your fire power.

As your skill level increases, the number of attackers coming at you at any one time and the speed with which the enemy ships attack is gradually increased, plus their attack patterns become more and more complex.

Bonus Fighters are awarded to you periodically throughout the game as you reach or pass certain preselected point values ('Bonus Life' dip switch setting). Each enemy ship has an assigned point value (see Scoring below).

2 major new features of your Galaga game are :

  1. The player is given the chance to double his fire power at certain points throughout the game.
  2. The game has a rapid fire (automatic firing) option whereby the player just holds the FIRE button down and his space fighter continues to fire at the Galaga army in bursts of 2 missiles each.

To double his fire power, the player must let one of his Fighters be captured by one of the Boss Galagas and then rescue it (CAUTION : If the player's last Fighter is captured, the game is over). The Boss Galaga ships MUST BE SHOT TWICE to destroy them. When shot once, they change color from green to blue. When shot again, they explode. The rescued Fighter then links up with the one that rescued it and they now work as a team - both moving together and firing at the same time.

The object of the game is to survive as long as possible while destroying as many enemies as you can. As you do this, each following convoy of enemies will be harder to destroy.

The game is made up of convoys of invading alien space ships. You, as defender, try to destroy as many convoys as you can.

The convoys are displayed one at a time at the top of the screen. They are made up, in order from top to bottom on the convoy, of Boss Galaga, Butterflies (red/white bug ships), and Bees (blue/yellow bug ships). These ships fly onto the screen from different angles, going by your position (giving you an opportunity to shoot them down) and then take up their positions in the convoy formation at the top of the screen.

In the 1st STAGE, the enemies do not drop bombs on you as they fly onto the screen and go by your position. However, they will in later stages.

After the convoy (or what's left of it after you've finished shooting at them as they fly onto the screen and head for their respective spots in the convoy formation) finishes forming up at the top of the screen, enemies will begin peeling off and diving at your fighter. They weave back and forth across the screen dropping bombs all the while.

The Boss Galaga can put out a tractor beam and capture your Fighter. When this happens, that Fighter changes color from white to red and stays with that particular enemy Boss Galaga for the rest of the game. You can get your Fighter back by destroying the Boss Galaga that captured it while they are both attacking your current fighter. The Boss Galaga MUST BE SHOT TWICE to destroy them. When shot once, they change color from green to blue. When shot again, they explode. If, however, you mistakenly shoot the captured fighter, it will be destroyed.

Bees and Butterflies will explode as soon as they are hit by one of your shots.

Starting with Stage 4, a squadron of special bonus enemies called "transforms" begin appearing. They're called transforms because a Bee will begin pulsating and move out of formation to change into these bonus enemies. They appear in the form of yellow scorpions in Stages 4, 5, and 6, green ships from "Bosconian" in Stages 8, 9, and 10, and Galaxian Flagships in Stages 12, 13, and 14. After that, the three different transforms repeat in the same order. Transforms are always worthwhile targets because they are not very aggressive and are worth more than the other enemies, and if all 3 transforms are destroyed, bonus points will be awarded.

When you destroy the last ship of a convoy, the screen gives the following display centered on the monitor screen : STAGE (and the number of the next stage).

The only exception to this would be when the next STAGE is a CHALLENGING STAGE. The first CHALLENGING STAGE comes at the end of the 2nd STAGE. After this, they come at the end of every third STAGE. When you destroy the last ship of the 2nd, 6th, 10th, 14th, 18th, etc. convoys, you will see this display centered on the monitor screen : CHALLENGING STAGE.

A CHALLENGING STAGE is made up of 40 enemy ships that fly by your fighter in 5 groups of 8 ships each while describing varying patterns. They do not drop any bombs and the object is to shoot down as many of them as you can. When you shoot down one COMPLETE formation of 8 enemy ships, bonus points (between 1000 and 3000 depending on the STAGE) are added to your score. If you can destroy all 40 GALAGAS, you will be awarded a SPECIAL BONUS OF 10000 POINTS for that particular CHALLENGING STAGE.

As you destroy more convoys, the attacks on you become faster, are in a more rapid succession, and follow trickier flight patterns. For instance, they will try to trap you in a cross fire, or in one corner of the screen, etc. You've really got to watch them closely. If they can't bomb you, they'll ram you in the rear. That's one of their favorite tricks, to fly in a circle and come up behind you.


Released in September 1981.

Licensed to Bally Midway for US manufacture and distribution (December 1981).

Although Galaga was a superior game, it didn't sell the large numbers that its predecessor did. One of the first games with a bonus stage.

The game 'rolls over' at 999,990 points. The player 1 score counter is 6 digits, but the player 2 counter is 7 digits. Therefore, most good players start a 2 players game and play exclusively on the player 2 side so their score won't 'roll over' at 999,990. After the 1,000,000 mark, new Fighters are no longer awarded.

What happens after finishing the 255th stage depends upon the skill level set in the DIP switches:

  • On the easy skill, the game resets.
  • On the medium skill, the game flips to "Stage 0" which plays as a strange cross between the 2nd challenging stage and a regular level where the enemies shoot. The game will advance to stage 1 after completion, and the game will get easy again.
  • On the hard skill setting, the words "Stage 0" stay on the screen forever. No more enemies ever appear. The player can continue to move the ship and fire, but there is no way to advance to the next level, or to die. To play again, the machine must be reset.
  • On the hardest skill, the game flips to "Stage 0" which plays like stage 1 (no extra enemies when flying onto the screen), but it is still as difficult as stage 255. The game will advance to stage 1 after completion, and the game will get easy again.

If you have more than 7 extra men, the marker for the screen will only show 7 1/2 (!) men remaining. Additional extra men will still be credited, even though they won't show on the screen.

The Bees are also referred to as 'Zako' and the Butterflies are also referred to as 'Goei'.

Stephen Krogman holds the official record for this game with 15,999,990 points.

A bootleg of this game is called "Gallag". A hack is known as "GATsBEe".

A Galaga unit appears in the 1983 movie 'WarGames', in the in 1983 movie 'Spring Break' (being played by one of the main characters), in the 1984 movie 'The Karate Kid', and in the 1987 movie 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles'.


Target Points
Bee (Blue/yellow bug ship) 50 points in formation or 80 points in flight
Butterfly (Red/white bug ship) 80 points in formation or 160 points in flight
Boss Galaga 150 points in formation or 400 points in flight
Boss Galaga 800 points in flight with 1 wingman
Boss Galaga 1,600 points in flight with 2 wingmen
Scorpions 160 points each, 1000 points for destroying all 3
Bosconian ships 160 points each, 2000 points for destroying all 3
Galaxian Flagships 160 points each, 3000 points for destroying all 3
Captured fighter 500 points in formation or 1000 points in flight
Challenging Stage 100 points per ship destroyed if less than 40
Challenging Stage 10,000 points for destroying all 40 ships (perfect)
Challenging Stage 1000 points on the first 2 Challenging Stages, 1500 points on the 3rd and 4th, 2000 points on the 5th and 6th, and 3000 points from the 7th onward for destroying a complete formation of 8 ships

Tips and tricks

Easter Egg

  1. Enter service mode.
  2. Keep B1 pressed and enter the following sequence : Right(x5), Left(x6), Right(x3), Left(x7). '(c) 1981 NAMCO LTD.' will be added at the bottom of the screen.

Enemy Stop Shooting

On the first stage, kill everything but the 2 Bees in the bottom left corner. Then just wait, dodging the enemies' shots, until the enemy no longer drops any shots towards you. After the enemies stop firing, let them pass for 2 more trips and then kill them. For the rest of the game, the enemies will not drop shots. It will take approximately 15 minutes for the enemies to quit shooting at you, so this trick requires a lot of patience. Note : in a 2-player game, only one person has to do the cheat for both players to benefit. But as soon as 1 of the players game is over the enemies begin shooting again.

Take The Control Of The Fighter For Free (BUG)

During the Galaga demo, the Boss Galaga comes down and tries to tractor-beam up the player's ship. As soon as that tractor-beam starts, the player can take control of the ship in the demo. The player has 2 choices here and this will effect how the game handles this bug : If the player allows himself to be captured, the demo will continue as normal and he has the option of controlling the player Fighter or not. The player can choose whether to save the captured Fighter, try to complete the level, etc. The demo mode will complete after 30 seconds and the high-score screen will appear. If the player takes control of the Fighter and destroys the Boss Galaga with the tractor beam, some of the characters on the screen will freeze while others are still moving and doing what they are suppose to be doing. This will last 15-20 seconds, then the game will go to the high score screen.

Use The Score For Aiming

Challenging stages are easier if the high score numbers are used to refine your aim. These tips assume a 6-digit high score :

  1. On the first 2 challenging stages, aim your ships so that your left set of bullets falls between the second and third numbers in the high score list.
  2. On subsequent challenging stages, aim one set of your bullets between the first and second numbers in the high score list (if the units come from the left) or between the last and next-to-last numbers (if the units come from the right). This will allow you to hit descending enemies at the highest possible point.

Neat (And Useless) Galaga Trick

It is possible to end the game with a 200% ratio. The 200% hit-miss ratio trick can only be done with your first shot of the game. When the game starts, don't move, and fire only one shot. If you time it correctly, 2 enemies will be killed at once. Let your remaining Fighters be destroyed, and presto : a better-than-perfect result.


  1. Galaxian (1979)
  2. Galaga (1981)
  3. Gaplus (1984) also known as "Galaga 3".
  4. Galaga '88 (1987)
  5. Galaxian3 (1990)
  6. Galaxian3 Theatre 6 : Project Dragoon (1990)
  7. Galaxian3 Theatre 6 J2 : Attack Of The Zolgear (1994)
  8. Galaga - Destination Earth (2000, Nintendo Game Boy Color, PC CD-ROM and Sony PlayStation)
  9. Galaga Legions (2008, XBOX 360 [Xbox Live Arcade])


Music By
Nobuyuki Ohnogi

Cabinet and Artwork


Sega SG-1000 (1983, "Sega Galaga" - Sega)
Atari 7800 (1984)
Nintendo Famicom (1988)
Nintendo Famicom Disk (1990)
Nintendo Game Boy (1995, "Galaga & Galaxian")
Sony PlayStation (1995, "Namco Museum Vol.1")
Sony PlayStation (1995, "Tekken") (Play the game while the main game loads)
Nintendo 64 (1999, "Namco Museum 64")
Sega Dreamcast (1999, "Namco Museum")
Sony PlayStation 2 (2001, "Namco Museum")
Nintendo Game Boy Advance (2001, "Namco Museum")
Nintendo GameCube (2002, "Namco Museum")
Microsoft XBOX (2002, "Namco Museum")
Sony PlayStation 2 (2005, "Namco Museum 50th Anniversary")
Microsoft XBOX (2005, "Namco Museum 50th Anniversary")
Nintendo GameCube (2005, "Namco Museum 50th Anniversary")
Nintendo Game Boy Advance (2005, "Namco Museum 50th Anniversary")
Sony PSP (2005, "Namco Museum Battle Collection")
Microsoft XBOX 360 (2006, as a downloadable Live Arcade game)
Commodore C64 (1982)
BBC B (1983, "Zalaga" - Aardvark)
Acorn Electron (1984, "Zalaga" - Aardvark)
Tandy Color Computer (1984, "Galagon")
MSX (1984)
Fujitsu FM-7 (1985)
Fujitsu FM-77 (1985)
Sharp MZ2500
PC [MS-DOS] (1997, "Champ Galagon" - CHAMProgramming)
PC [MS Windows, CD-ROM] (2005, "Namco Museum 50th Anniversary")
Arcade (1995, "Namco Classics Collection Vol.1")
Mobile Phones (2004)
Ms. Pac-Man TV Game (2004 - Jakk's Pacific)
Ms. Pac-Man TV Game Wireless Version (2005 - Jakk's Pacific)

Soundtrack Releases

Album Name Catalogue No. Released Publisher Comments
Video Game Music YLR-20003[1] 1984-04-25 Alfa Vinyl version.
The Best of Video Game Music 32XA-66[2] 1986-04-25 Alfa CD version.
This is NAMCO! APCG-4006[3] 1990-09-21 Apollon CD version.
Namcot Game a la Mode VDR-1285[4] 1986-09-21 Victor Musical Industries CD version.
Video Game Music YLC-20003[5] 1984-04-25 Alfa Cassette version.
Video Game Music SCDC-00003[6] 2001-03-23 Scitron Digital Content, Inc. CD version.
Namcot Game a la Mode SJX-30312[7] 1986-09-21 Victor Musical Industries Vinyl version.
Namcot Game a la Mode VCH-10365[8] 1986-09-21 Victor Musical Industries Cassette version.
765 MEGA-MIX APCG-4014[9] 1991-07-21 APOLLON CD version.
NAMCO Classic Collection Techno Maniax PCCG-00440[10] 1998-02-18 Pony Canyon, Inc. CD version.
Namco Graffiti Collection Best 10 VICL-8102[11] 1994-04-21 Victor Entertainment CD version.
Namco Classics Collection Vol. 1 Arcade Soundtrack 010 WSCA-00009[12] 1998-01-21 Wonder Spirits CD version.
Legend of Game Music ~Premium Box~ SCDC-00410~7[13] 2005-03-24 Scitron Digital Contents 8 CD version.
Arcade Ambiance 1981 N/A[14] 2002-01-01 Andy Hofle Digital download only.
Arcade Ambiance 1983 N/A[15] 2003-01-01 Andy Hofle Digital download only.
Arcade Ambiance 1986 N/A[16] 2004-08-27 Andy Hofle Digital download only.
Arcade Ambiance 1992 N/A[17] 2007-09-14 Andy Hofle Digital download only.
Game Sound Museum ~Namcot~ 01 Galaxian / Galaga / Pac-Man SDEX-0040[18] 2004-12-23 Scitron CD version.


The contents of this page are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
The sources used include MAME (version 0.113u2) and history.dat (revision 1.28 - 2008-10-18).
Please see http://www.arcade-history.com for credits.