Pac-Land and Gaplus

Gaplus (1984)

Namco’s Gaplus was a sequel to their previous game Galaga. And to increase popularity amongst the audience in America, a conversion pack was released with the name of the game changed to ‘Galaga 3’, even though there was no ‘Galaga 2’. The gameplay was very similar to that of its predecessor, with a few upgrades and changes overall.

The player controls a ship, although it differs from the original game as this ship could now move vertically to the middle of the screen. The enemies declined from the top of the screen and attempted to dive to try and catch the player’s ship. The aim was to defeat the swarm of aliens, and when this had been completed, continue to the next level. However, if the player was beaten before all of the enemies have entered, the level simply restarted.

Some additions were developed to differentiate the game play from Galaga. The first of these were the Shooting Stars. Through shooting the star the player’s ship became a ‘Hypership’, which was an upgraded version of the Double Ship from its predecessor, and with this the player was given 3 shots. Moreover, if another shooting star appeared and was hit again it would turn into a ‘Special Flag’ from the game Rally X.

To further develop the game the enemies appearance was made to change every 10 levels. King Gaplus appeared in the game as a version of the Boss Galaga. The character is seen to sit on top of the fleet of ships and holds an item that would benefit the player. These items are either Blaster Heads or Ship parts.

The player is given three lives to begin with and can gain bonus lives when they have achieved 30,000 points, 70,000 points and every 70,000 points after that point.

Pac-Land (1984)

Pac-Land was a parallax-scrolling game based off of Pac-Man. As the franchise grew, an animated television show was produced. The music and character design for the show was the inspiration for Pac-Land, with the show’s theme being played as backing music for the game.

There are some variants between the Japanese and American releases; with Pac-Man being depicted as the design from the animated series in the USA whereas having a longer nose in the Japanese version. The American gameplay was proven to be faster and thereby more difficult as well.

The backstory to the game is that Pac-Man must deliver a Fairy, who is kept underneath his hat, safely back to Fairyland. After this, he must also return home to his wife, child, and (in the American version) dog and cat.

Instead of levels, the game is split into ‘Trips’ and within these trips, ‘Rounds’. The gameplay involves the player moving Pac-man left and right with designated buttons to do so. Pac-Man must avoid obstacles, ghosts and traps. The player also has a chance to gain bonus points which depends on how much time is left at the end of the round, or if Pac-Man is jumping at the end of the round.

Near the end of Pac-Man’s adventure, he arrives in Fairyland where he is awarded magical boots. These boots allow Pac-Man to jump multiple times whilst already in air. Finally, when Pac-Man returns home, where he is greeted by Ms Pac-Man, Baby Pac-Man, Sour-puss and Chomp-Chomp. The game will then proceed to restart at a higher difficulty.

Bonus points can be gained from the game from fruit and hidden items, which include the Galaxian Flagship. The game can also be played in two-player mode as it is equip with 6 buttons when a player only uses 3 in gameplay, the later three are for a second player to play alternating rounds.