*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=* = GALAXIAN = * ARCADE VERSION * = FAQ / STRATEGY GUIDE = *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=* Author: Sashanan Date: 22 September 2005 Version: 1.1 DISCLAIMER This document is a copyright of Peter "Sashanan" Butter, 2004-2005. All rights reserved. You are granted permission to make copies of this FAQ (electronical or physical) for your own, personal use. Furthermore, non-commercial, freely accessible websites are allowed to upload a copy of this FAQ as long as it is posted in its full, original form (including this disclaimer) and credited to Sashanan. You are not authorized to upload this FAQ on a commercial website and/or charge for its viewing, or make money off it in any other imaginable way, without my explicit written permission. Furthermore, you are not allowed to edit this guide in any way, use it as a basis for your own guide, or post it without giving proper credit. This is considered plagiarism. This FAQ is protected by international copyright laws and failure to comply with the terms in this disclaimer will result in legal prosecution. =============================================================================== TABLE OF CONTENTS ===============================================================================  Introduction  Summary of terms  Overview  Controls  Basics [5.1] Blue Galaxians [5.2] Purple Galaxians [5.3] Red Galaxians [5.4] Flagships  Tactics [6.1] Basic tactics [6.2] Advanced tactics [6.3] Expert tactics  Revision history  Final words ===============================================================================  INTRODUCTION =============================================================================== A direct successor to the famous Space Invaders, the 1979 arcade title Galaxian is a shooter that has received quite a bit of fame of its own, though it failed to receive the attention that either Space Invaders or its own successor, Galaga, did. This is a shame, because it's an awesome game. It is also very challenging - moreso than Galaga in my opinion - and for looking so simple, it takes quite a bit of skill to play properly. To help both newcoming and veteran players get used to Galaxian and find the kind of tactics that they, at their respective skill levels, would find useful, I have put together this guide and broken up the meat of it (the tactics section) into three parts each aimed at different skill levels. If you've already played Galaxian before and know the ropes, you can skip straight to the advanced or expert tactics, whereas if this is your first time playing it, you can start at the bottom and move up as your scores start to improve. I have done my best to be as complete as possible and make sure that everything you need to know is in there. This FAQ is dedicated to Andrew Schultz, tireless old school gamer, who has been an inspiration for both FAQ writing and reviewing in that regard for several years now. It's people like him who remind me that I'm not the only one who still has an interest in that kind of gaming, and without that reminder every now and then, I'd likely have stopped writing some time ago. ===============================================================================  SUMMARY OF TERMS =============================================================================== I'm using a couple of game specific terms throughout this FAQ, most coined by the game itself, some thought up by me. Each term is explained the first time it's used in the FAQ, but to save you needless searching if a term ever confuses you, here is an easy list: CHARGER: An enemy leaving the formation to attack you. CONVOY: The formation of enemies moving left and right in the top half of the screen. GALAXIAN: any one of the enemies in the formation. There are four types: Blue, Purple and Red Galaxians, and Flagships. MELEE: the phase at the end of a level during which the few remaining enemies all attack at once, and more aggressively than they did before. WAVE: one level of the game, which consists of one formation of 46 Galaxians. ===============================================================================  OVERVIEW =============================================================================== Your goal in Galaxian is to destroy formations of alien invaders. Each formation (referred to by the game as the 'convoy') consists of 46 Galaxians of four different kinds. Every level (or 'wave') of the game consists of cleaning up one convoy. When this task has been accomplished, a fresh formation appears and a new level starts. There is no end goal to accomplish; your objective is simply to stay alive as long as possible, clear as many waves as you can, and score as many points as you are able. In the meantime, the Galaxians do their best to destroy you as well. Every so often, one or more Galaxians leave the convoy to make a swooping attack on you, during which they will fire shots and often attempt to ram you as well. If they leave the screen at the sides or the bottom before you shoot them down, they will rejoin the convoy. The game refers to these attacking Galaxians as 'chargers', and both the frequency with which they attack and the numbers in which they do it increase in later waves. In the first wave, you may occasionally see two or three attacking, and sometimes the formation just hangs there and lets itself be shot at. By the time you reach the tenth wave, on the other hand, you will constantly be under attack by at least five enemies, and frequently more. Up to 15 Galaxians may attack at one time in the later waves. You control a single spaceship against the enemy and have two replacements if you lose the first, for a total of 3 lives. A bonus life is added if you score at least 5000 points, but that's the only one you'll get. You lose a life whenever you are hit by a Galaxian's shot or rammed by their craft, and when you lose your last life, it's all over. ===============================================================================  CONTROLS =============================================================================== Galaxian has very simple controls, which is good, because you'll need to have your attention on the enemy. Your ship can be moved to the left and the right at a constant speed by pushing the stick in the right direction, and you can fire shots with the single fire button that the Galaxian machine has. You are allowed to have only one shot on the screen at a time, which means that you should shoot carefully and try to make every shot count. At close range you will be able to fire shots quickly after one another if you make sure they hit, but on the other hand, if you miss at close range you will likely not have time to fire again and will have to avoid being rammed by the Galaxian attacking you. ===============================================================================  BASICS =============================================================================== At the beginning of every level, you are presented with an entire formation of galaxians, which is set up as follows: F F RRRRRR PPPPPPPP BBBBBBBBBB BBBBBBBBBB BBBBBBBBBB The column starts in the top middle of the screen and gradually moves to the left or right at a set pace. When the first Galaxians reach the edge of the screen, the convoy reverses direction and also changes speed. It might speed up or slow down, but once again its speed will remain constant until it reaches the other edge of the screen. The convoy tirelessly keeps up this constant move to the left and right in order to make it harder for you to shoot them down. But the only threat to you comes from aliens leaving the convoy to attack you - the so-called chargers. They leave the formation at randomly determined times to swoop down and attack you, and will both attempt to shoot you and to ram you. The four types of enemies are blue Galaxians, purple Galaxians, red Galaxians and Flagships, which will be described below. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- [5.1] BLUE GALAXIANS -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- The underpaid, underappreciated and numerous grunts of the Galaxian army, these guys are basically cannon fodder and will be the first to be destroyed by your shots as you start attacking the convoy. When they charge, their maneuvers tend to be fairly simple and not so hard to avoid, though in numbers or combined with other Galaxians which move in a different manner, they can still be quite dangerous. A blue Galaxian is worth 30 points if shot as part of the convoy, and 60 when shot down during a charge. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- [5.2] PURPLE GALAXIANS -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Considerably more dangerous than their blue brothers, purple Galaxians move at much wider angles and also tend to turn around during their descend, which can really take a beginning player off guard. They are also good at taking out a player previously driven into a corner by the tireless attacks of blue Galaxians, and this is in fact the most common way to lose a ship. A purple Galaxian is worth 40 points while in the convoy, and 80 points during a charge. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- [5.3] RED GALAXIANS -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- The enemy lieutenants, red Galaxians do not normally attack on their own, but act as escorts for the flagships. If no flagship remains for them to escort, they'll attack on their own, using maneuvers which are not as wide as those of the purple Galaxians, but more erratic and harder to predict. They also tend to fire more aggressively. A red Galaxian is worth 50 points in the convoy and 100 during a charge. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- [5.4] FLAGSHIPS -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Each convoy is commanded by two flagships, which hang well protected in the back of the formation and will not attack alone if they can help it. They will always take two red Galaxians along as escorts if they are still available, or at least one if they can. If previous attacks have robbed a flagship of all nearby red Galaxians, it will make one attack run alone, and if it leaves the screen before you destroy it, it will flee and not return at the top of the formation. You will, however, see it again, as it will join the next wave to get its revenge. The value of a flagship is 60 points in the convoy. During a charge, the value is determined by the number of escorts it had. A solo flagship gets you 150 points, a flagship with one escort is worth 200, and a flagship with two escorts is worth 300 points. However, if you manage to destroy the two escorts first and the flagship last (a tricky and fairly dangerous maneuver), the flagship's value is boosted up to 800 points. That's 1000 points for the trio, a fair reward. A flagship with escorts is a very dangerous opponent, as the three ships will pool their firepower together and make it hazardous to pass under them; also, they cover a much wider area than a lone Galaxian would, thus increasing the risk of collision. The beginning player should be well aware of the danger as soon as a flagship with escorts swoops down to attack. When only a few ships remain in the enemy formation, the remaining enemies will typically all attack at once, no longer joining the formation but pressing the attack. They will also engage in more aggressive and complicated maneuvers at this point. I like to refer to this phase as the 'melee'. An entire formation of 46 Galaxians (30 blue, 8 purple, 6 red and 2 flagships) can theoretically net you 4640 points. This assumes you manage to get the full bonuses for both flagships and attack all enemies as they charge, without hitting any ships in the convoy. In practice, a score between 2500 and 3000 per wave is more likely, with the score typically increasing in later waves because you'll have more enemies charging you. ===============================================================================  TACTICS =============================================================================== Now that you know how the game works, it's time to learn about how to play it properly. I've divided this tactics section up into different skill levels. The reason for this is that a game like this (in fact, this goes for most games) is a laerning process. Tactics that work for experts are simply not viable for a new player to pursue. You need to have gotten your feet wet and get used to certain approaches before you are ready try something more advanced, even if that's contrary to what you learned before. My suggestion is to start with the basic tactics and stick with those until you can comfortably reach 10000 points. At that point, move on to the advanced tactics. The expert tactics - which aren't as step by step, but consist mostly of loose advice - will be of interest to you when you can score around 20000 or 25000 somewhat consistently. The tactics described in these sections worked for me. If through playing you discover different approaches that work for you - or, especially, more clearly defined expert tactics - I would be very interested in hearing about them and happy to add them to the guide. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- [6.1] BASIC TACTICS -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- The basic goal in Galaxian is simple enough: destroy enemy formations and don't get destroyed in return. The safest way to do this is to destroy as many Galaxians as you can while they are still in formation, and to avoid attackers when possible. After all, the convoy doesn't fire at you, nor attempts to ram with you; only the chargers can possibly kill you. This doesn't mean, however, that it's always safest to dodge the chargers. The one thing that you absolutely have to watch for is being driven into a corner. If this happens, sooner or later some Galaxian is going to come at you at an unavoidable angle, or land shots that you cannot dodge. As long as you are in the center of the screen, there is almost always a gap to escape through even if several Galaxians attack. When possible, always stay near the center. That's the single best thing you can do to prolong your life. For cleaning up the convoy, there are four basic approaches. ------------------ 1) COLUMN CLEANING ------------------ This technique focuses on either the lefternmost of the righternmost column of the formation, and is meant to make the formation take longer to reach the edge of the screen and reverse direction. This has two advantages: - You won't have to pass under the formation as it turns around (which leaves you temporarily vulnerable) as often; - The formation has less opportunities to adapt its speed, so you don't have to keep adjusting. The risk of column cleaning is that it tends to get you stuck in a corner if you keep it up for too long; the thing to do is to switch to the other side of the formation as you get closed to the edge of the screen. Apart from that little thing to watch for, column cleaning is a simple matter of positioning yourself just a little to the left or the right of the formation, in such a way that the formation is moving toward you, firing at the right time to get the lowest alien in the outer column, then moving along with the formation a little bit to line up for the next shot. Repeat until the column is clear or it's time to get back to the other edge of the screen. If Galaxians swoop down to attack, stop clearing the formation and pay attention to the new threat. Either shoot them down or avoid them. If they're on the other side of the screen and they are blue Galaxians, you can safely ignore them, but watch for purple galaxians and flagship trios which tend to come at you at much wider angles. The absolute deathtrap while following the column clearing method is to get stuck in the corner and attacked there by either a purple Galaxian or a flagship with escorts. --------------- 2) ROW CLEANING --------------- Row cleaning is meant to take out the Galaxians closest to you first, to ensure that they cannot catch you off guard with quick attacks. Another advantage is that you are focusing on the blue Galaxians, which aren't worth many points anyway, and you can leave the purple and red Galaxians until they actally charge you. However, row cleaning can be potentially dangerous because you are often stationary while doing so, and it's easy to forget to start moving when enemies swoop down to attack. For row cleaning, stick somewhat close to the middle of the screen (about halfway to the edge is good, at the edge is not), shoot down the Galaxian directly above you, wait, and time your next shot to get the next enemy. You will need some practice to get the timing right, and a lot of practice to be able to readjust your timing when the formation turns around and changes its speed. An experienced player will get a feel for the formation's speed and will be able to adapt in a split second when it changes. Remember, the closer you stay to the middle with this approach, the safer you are; just make sure you move to take out the Galaxians on the far ends when all the ones in the middle are gone. If you do not, you risk being boxed in if they decide to attack simultaneously, and that risk increases in later waves. ------------------------- 3) OPPORTUNISTIC CLEANING ------------------------- Opportunistic cleaning foregoes the advantages of cleaning by colum or row, and focuses on just destroying whichever enemy is convenient. The advantage is that you'll be able to clean enemies more quickly - you shoot at whatever is in your sights - and you can stay in the middle where it's safe and actively avoid the edges. The disadvantage is that you expose yourself to the same risk that shows up if you are row cleaning and not taking enough care of the enemies on the outside. When you are doing opportunistic cleaning, you tend to make a big hole in the center of the formation, but the flanks remains intact and if the enemy decides to attack from both sides at once, you need to respond very quickly in order not to get boxed in. Best approach is usually to pick one of the attacking enemies and shoot him down quickly, thus creating a hole for you to escape through. -------------- 4) NO CLEANING -------------- Well, technically it's not a convoy cleaning method at all, but it's an approach that deserves attention. With this method, you specifically avoid cleaning up the convoy at all; you hold your fire and wait for Galaxians to charge, at which point you move in and shoot them down, ideally without accidentally hitting anything in the convoy. There are two advantages to this approach: first, you get more points since every (or nearly every) enemy you destroy is charging and thus worth more, and it's an excellent way to get used to the patterns that the aliens follow and learn how to shoot them down properly during a charge. This is a skill you will have to develop, and following the no cleaning approach from time to time as a sort of experiment will help you do just that. However, for longer games, the no cleaning approach is a dangerous one to take. Enemies can come from anywhere in the formation, and you'll soon learn that certain combinations (usually involving one attack from each side, or purple Galaxians combined with a flagship and escorts) are very deadly. By refusing to clean the formation at all, you are basically inviting the Galaxians to attack in the way they prefer, and they will be sure to take you up on that in the later waves. No matter which convoy cleaning method you use, you will want to give priority to any attacking enemies. Pay particular attention to the purple Galaxians and their wide movement angles, and to flagship trios with their awesome firepower. Don't take too much risk yet trying to destroy escorts before the flagship for the bonus; you can start doing that when you're more experienced. For now, your purpose is to survive. Avoid confrontations that you're not sure you can win; any enemies you let slip past you appear at the top again anyway, with the exception of lone flagships (and those return in the next wave). When destroying charging enemies, it pays to take them out as soon as possible. They'll obviously stop shooting when you've destroyed them, which makes things that much safer for you, and they also tend to move slowly when they just left the formation. The longer you wait, the harder they will be to gun down. If you're having a hard time nailing an elusive Galaxian, evade him and try again on his next run. When the melee begins - usually when there are about five Galaxians left - be aware that they will no longer follow their normal patterns. All four kinds of Galaxians will be performing more aggressive maneuvers and attempt to ram you, at crazy angles sometimes. Focus on whichever enemy is closest, be ready to evade, and stay away from the corners at all costs. Whenever possible, dodge toward the center of the screen, not to the side. With these tactics, you should be able to clear several waves of Galaxians and score up to about 10000 points. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- [6.2] ADVANCED TACTICS -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- When you have a little more experience - say, when you're able to clear three or four waves without too much trouble - it's time to start changing your tactics. Start learning the exact patterns of your enemies so you can respond properly to every charge, and start choosing convoy cleaning methods that suit the situation. You will frequently change approaches in midwave depending on how things develop. First, let's have a closer look at the exact behavior of each type of Galaxian. Note that most of this doesn't apply to the melee at the end of a wave (we'll get to that in a bit). Blue Galaxians: - leave the convoy (takes roughly a second); - orient themselves on your position *after* that; - move in your direction at a set angle which isn't very wide; - won't reach you at all if you're not too close; - typically drop 3 or 4 shots, which move in the same direction the alien does; - cannot turn around once their maneuver has begun; - can be easily defeated by firing a shot just to the side of them so they will fly into it; - are deadly if they trap you in a corner. Purple Galaxians: - leave the convoy; - orient themselves on your position *after* that; - move in your direction at a wide angle which can span almost the entire screen; - slow down about halfway their maneuver and then turn in the other direction; - will always perform this turn regardless of where your craft is; - typically fire 4 shots, one or two of which fall during their turning point; - aim all their shots in the direction they initially turned in; - usually stop firing after they make their turn; - are capable of flying off screen on the side and immediately returning when they make their turn, but this is rare; - are *very* deadly if they trap you in a corner; - frequently box you in between them and a random blue Galaxian. Red Galaxians: - only attack on their own if they are not directly below a flagship, otherwise act as escorts only; - follow a maneuver that's wider than that of the blue Galaxians, but not as wide as the purple, and do not turn around; - fire an easy 4 or 5 shots, and do not stop shooting quite as early; - tend to shoot at slightly more varying angles than the other Galaxians; - don't tend to ram you in a corner, but *do* trap you with their shots. Flagships: - only attack on their own if no touching Red Galaxians remain; - will take two escorts along when possible, one if no second is available; - return to the formation only if they had at least one escort when they started their charge, otherwise flee the battle and join the next wave instead; - will often, with help of two escorts, fire 7 or 8 shots; - are worth more points if you destroy the two escorts first (no point difference if there are no escorts or only one); - act like Red Galaxians if attacking alone; - cause a temporary drop in morale if they are destroyed during a charge, resulting in ALL Galaxians holding their fire for a few seconds when a flagship is lost (but not if it was destroyed while in the convoy). To live through more than just the few waves, you'll need to learn exactly how to position yourself to destroy various Galaxians during their charge. My suggestions would be: Blue Galaxians: anticipate if they'll be moving left or right (based on your position when they're done leaving the convoy), position your ship just a little to their side, and fire a shot that they'll fly into. Move out of the way after you fired so you can be sure to avoid their return fire. If they are too far away, don't bother; if they're close but you can't seem to hit them, position your ship right under them for a last second shot (make sure your last shot has left the screen or you can't fire at all). This is generally safe as they hold their fire during their last second or so on the screen, but it does take guts. Purple Galaxians: try to catch them either just as they leave the formation (fire a shot to the side of them, farther out than with a Blue Galaxian), or at their turning point. You'll learn with experience when that turning point is, so be there right under them, fire, and move out of the way (not in the direction they'll turn in now!). If you fail at both shots, let them go. Chasing after a purple Galaxian that just turned around is typically not a good idea; you won't catch up, you are more likely to collide than land a shot, and they *might* decide to fire one more late shot to hit you with. Don't take the risk. The one thing you really have to watch for with purple Galaxians is that you don't let them drive you into a corner. They'll nail you with a shot or ram you from the side without ever getting just above you where you can hit them. If you're near the side of the screen and a purple Galaxian leaves the convoy to swoop down on you, get out of that corner immediately. Red Galaxians/Flagships (solo): they're not so tough on their own. Treat them much like Blue Galaxians, aiming just to their side, but with two differences: aim a little (but only a little) farther out to compensate for their wider maneuver, and don't try for the last minute snap shot that you might do on a Blue Galaxian. Reds have the nasty habit of continuing to fire even if they are very close, and there's no way you'll be able to dodge at that distance. Simply put, they'll do to you what you're trying to do to them. Just let them go, better luck next pass. Flagship combos: you'll have learned by now that these are nasty, but also profitable. The best way to take out a flagship combo depends on what you want. If you wish to play it safe, try to snipe the flagship first. The Reds, as well as all other charging Galaxians, will stop shooting instantly, shaken by the loss of their leader. This allows you to easily gun down at least one of the Reds, maybe the second; but let him go if you're not sure, now that he's on his own he'll be easy enough to kill on his next charge. I myself like to take the opportunity to take out any Purple Galaxians currently on the attack, as they are not nearly as scary if they're not firing back. If on the other hand you want the points, you need to take out the flagship last. Easiest way to do that is to position yourself such that you can take out the outer Red Galaxian first (so that only the one directly under the flagship remains), then fire two very quick shots to take out the remaining escort and the flagship in a split second. Be ready to dodge out of the way very quickly if your first shot misses the Red, because you won't be able to fire the second shot in this case. The most important thing to keep in mind when attacking flagship combos is to pick your battles. If you're near the edge of the screen and won't have the room to dodge if your shots aren't flawless, or if you're being bothered by attacking Blues and/or Purples at the same time, don't do it. Move out of the way and try it another time. 1000 points for the three of them is nice, but not worth a life; you only have 4 of those including the bonus life, and by now you are probably aiming for a little more than 4000 points over the course of your game. Next, let's take a look at convoy cleaning methods. You know the four basic approaches by now; the question now is what order to apply them in. As I see it, the most dangerous enemies in the formation are the Purple Galaxians, and particularly the outer ones as they're most likely to pin you in a corner. I like to start with the column cleaning method to take out the outer Blue and Purple Galaxians, then switch to row cleaning for the lowest row of Blues (which are uncomfortably close), and go for Opportunistic Cleaning after that. When things clear up a bit - many Blues will fall in charges too - I prioritize Purples. The more Purples I can clear while they are harmlessly in the convoy, the better. They're not worth the extra 40 points to risk their attack; because their maneuvers are so different from all the other Galaxians, they are very deadly if they come down at the same time as the different colours. And they will, in the later waves. When you're comfortable with the movement patterns of all your enemies, and you have learned to pick your battles wisely, the tricky part of each wave will be the melee at the end. Fortunately, there are patterns to what your enemies do here as well. All four types act exactly the same now, and their approach is as follows: - They leave the convoy if they're still in there; - They will not rejoin the convoy anymore, but immediately attack again when they reappear at the top of the screen (but they *will* rejoin if you die); - They will steer toward your craft at all times, turning around if you pass under them; - They will spread out their shots more, firing one at a time, but starting earlier and not stopping; - They will try to ram you with a sudden wide swing near the end of their maneuver; - If you are close by when they reach the bottom of the screen, they will turn a loop just above you and *then* launch themselves at you in a straight line; - They will not fire on you while looping. There are a couple of things you can do to maximize your chances of surviving a melee: - Try to gun down the Galaxian with a long range shot when it's at the top of the screen. Chances aren't very good, but it's safe and it does work from time to time; - Keep moving your craft left and right to keep the Galaxian guessing where to go next; - Stay close to the Galaxian; if you try to flee to the other end of the screen, you are only inviting them to try a wide angle ram; - When the Galaxian has crossed to your half of the screen, hold your fire and try one more short range shot when he is almost upon you to maximize your chance of killing. Move out of the way while you fire so that if you miss (chances are you will), you won't crash into him; - If a Galaxian decides to loop, he's inviting you to kill him. Position your craft under him and shoot him down; - If at all possible, take out all enemy flagships, or all Red Galaxians, before the melee starts. The one thing you really don't need is a flagship combo going melee on you. If this means forfeiting the bonus, so be it. If you master these tactics, you should be able to clear about 8 waves and score between 20000 and 25000. This *will* take time and lots of practice. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- [6.3] EXPERT TACTICS -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- When you get to or past the 10th wave, simple quick reflexes and basic tactics simply won't always work anymore. Enemies attack in such numbers that you will frequently get trapped, not just in the corners but in the middle of the screen as well. You'll rarely have enough time to do any serious convoy cleaning, and find yourself forced to go for opportunistic cleaning or even no cleaning at all as you are constantly under attack. The mark of an expert Galaxian player is that he can not just flawlessly shoot down any charger that threatens him, but he can also anticipate situations before they occur, and shoot down exactly those Galaxians he needs to have a hole to escape through. As long as you don't get stuck in a corner, there is never a situation that you can't escape from; *unless* you fail to recognize in time what you need to do. If they're almost upon you, you may well be too late to escape. But if you watch closely which Galaxians leave the formation at what time, and realize which one needs to die so that there'll be a spot where no shots or Galaxians come through, you'll always have a chance to escape. It's hard to put in words exactly what you need to watch for, but the most important thing to keep in mind is to avoid tunnel vision. If you're only watching your ship and what happens directly above you, you're making a mistake that many rookie drivers make as well. Driving a car is extremely hard if you're not anticipating things before they happen. Same for high levels of Galaxian. Keep your eyes on the formation; there you don't see what happens now, but what will happen in five seconds. Seconds that you need to decide what to do to survive, and to actually do it. That means, of course, that you must be one with your ship and the controls now, and no longer have to think about what you do. You must be able to gun down Galaxians without thinking, flawlessly choosing the right position for each colour depending on how they maneuver. You must be intuitively aware of how close you are to the edges, because you won't have time to think about staying away from the corners. As soon as a flagship with escorts leaves the formation, you must instantly decide if you'll risk it or let them go (and I recommend taking the latter course whenever you aren't sure). If you want to play conservatively, do try to take out one of the Reds whenever a flagship combo comes at you. You'll ruin your chances at getting the bonus, but this ensures that when the wave is almost complete, there won't be any Reds left to escort the flagships anymore, thus preventing the deadly situation of them going into melee mode together. That really is something you can barely defend against, so best to prevent it from happening. Keep in mind that destroying a flagship shakes Galaxian morale and keeps all charging enemies from firing for a couple of seconds. This only works if you destroy the flagship during a charge, though; this effect is not triggered when you destroy it in the convoy (which is a gross waste of points besides, never do it). Timing your attacks on the flagships well can increase your longevity considerably, though it will probably get in the way of getting the big bonuses. It's a judgment call; I'd sooner use this trick to live longer and get more points that way, but if you'd rather pursue the bonuses and take more risks, do so. If you ever do get a few seconds' break to fire at the convoy, aggressively pursue Purple Galaxians first. With them gone, all remaining enemies move basically the same, and you'll find it much easier to anticipate what's going to happen. Players of all skill levels lose most of their ships either to Purple Galaxians - directly, or indirectly if they fly into a Blue one because they had to dodge a Purple that came closer than they thought - or to taking too much risk trying to get the flagship bonus. And no matter how good you are, in the end staying alive is always better for your score than getting lots of bonuses but losing lives in the progress. Keep track of what you are losing lives to. There's no shame in keeping a little notebook where you put down notches in different categories, such as "stuck in corner", "boxed in", "risky attack on flagship combo", "melee death", "collision with purple", that kind of thing. The idea is that after 10 (or 20, or 30) games, you have a good idea of what you are dying to, and what you need to work on. You might be able to draw valuable conclusions about your playing style. Depending on what you're dying to, these are things you might want to work on: - Getting stuck in corners: be more aware of your absolute position on the screen, and get back to the middle when you drift away from it. When you have a choice of which way to dodge when a Galaxian attacks you, go toward the middle. When you need to dodge to a corner, get back to the middle immediately. If you need to squeeze yourself into a corner to take down a flagship combo, maybe you shouldn't be attacking it at all this time. If you're still using the column cleaning method against the convoy, switch to the other side of the convoy before it reaches the edge of the screen; don't let them lead you all the way there. - Being boxed in: you need to work on looking at the convoy and anticipating what's going to happen. (Don't worry; this is by far the hardest part of becoming a Galaxian expert.) Usually when you are boxed in, it feels like there was nothing you could do, but the truth is you should have done something five seconds ago. - Flagship combo deaths: just take less risk. It's better not to get the bonus than to die. If you are not fully confident that there's an excellent opportunity to take out the flagship combo, don't do it. And when making your decision, factor in other charging Galaxians as well. The last thing you need when you are trying to take down the flagship is a purple Galaxian suddenly swooping in from the side! - Melee deaths: melees are basically the same in every wave; they don't get harder. Just keep practicing them, and as long as you make sure you don't have flagships to worry about anymore by now, you shouldn't have any real problems. A final bit of advice that I would offer to expert players is to always keep moving, and switching directions. Just like you would in a melee. It is always possible to shake an enemy Galaxian at the last possible moment, and they rarely come down in such numbers that there isn't a little hole to squeeze through. If there isn't one, you can still force one with a well timed shot. As long as you keep moving, the risk of collisions is much lower than if you hold your ship steady. In later waves you simply can't afford to do that anymore. Forget row cleaning (like you really have time to do any serious cleaning at this point, anyway) and keep moving. Always. If you master these tactics - which will require a lot more than just reading the above, as you will have to get totally at ease with the controls and be able to focus all your attention on the formation instead of what's happening with your ship - you'll be able to clear 10 or more waves, break 30000 points, and depending on how much talent you have and how much time you are willing to invest, reach enormous scores. An old arcade guidebook I own identifies expert players (it refers to them as 'specialists') as anybody who can score 100.000 or more, and an uncomfirmed report I've had suggests the world record as 800.000. Either is well outside of my own reach; my current record is about 35000, and I slip away from that quickly if I don't play daily. ====================  REVISION HISTORY ==================== v1.0: (7 Sep '04) First version of the FAQ. v1.1: (22 Sep '05) Updated contact info. Updates may follow if I receive interesting reader input, or if I come up with new tactics myself (particularly for the expert section). Barring that, though, this FAQ is complete and finished. ===============  FINAL WORDS =============== ABOUT THIS FAQ After six Commodore 64 FAQs and a few for more recent games, here's my first FAQ for an actual arcade game. My love for Galaxian dates back to the days when I first played its Commodore port, more than fifteen years ago, but I only discovered relatively recently that rather than a true port, that version is a remake that is inferior to the original. Playing the real Galaxian - thanks to the Namco Museum collection on the Gameboy Advance - was like discovering gold. With a much higher pace and much tricker enemies to deal with, much needed challenge was injected compared to the Commodore version that is really just too easy, and I knew two things right from the start: I'd want to keep playing until I'd be able to match my old Commodore record of 50000, and I'd want to write a FAQ for this game. I've managed the latter but not yet the former at this point. Hopefully, by writing this document, I may be helping a fellow old school gamer out there somewhere, or inspiring somebody new to pick up this awesome game and see exactly what gaming was like twenty five years ago. If either objective is accomplished, writing this guide has been more than worth it. For questions, comments, suggestions, praise and criticism, please contact the author, Sashanan, at firstname.lastname@example.org. This e-mail address is for FAQ feedback only. Whatever you wish to share about this document or Galaxian, chances are I'll want to hear it. Any serious mail will be answered. If you wish to do anything with this FAQ except for just reading it, check the Disclaimer section at the top of the FAQ to find out what you can and can't do. When in doubt, you can always mail me. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Sashanan was born in 1980 in the Netherlands and works as a freelance database software designer and programmer. In gaming, he is particularly fond of console RPGs and old Commodore 64 classics. His days are spent mostly trying to juggle way too many time wasting activities at once - from moderating forums to building a new website to trying to actually play games like gamers are supposed to - and usually neglecting one or the other. This document is a copyright of Peter "Sashanan" Butter, 2004-2005. All rights reserved. Disclaimer at top of document.