The Namcoator draws in a deep breath. "And the final challenge you shall receive. Jackie Johnson…
the fifteenth challenge,
the final challenge you shall undertake,
and the final challenge overall…
Is the Galaga '88 challenge."
Jackie nods. "So I guess I'm going into space one last time?"
"You are. Buckle up - a lot more is in store for you." The Namcoator snaps his fingers and Jackie dematerialises.
As soon as Jackie has finished rematerialising, she takes a look around. She now seems to be in what seems like a launchpad for ships like those in the Galaga challenge. It has all sorts of features: a runway, a control tower and a maintenance station. As she takes in all of this, the Namcoator's voice sounds out over the intercom:
"Greetings, player. Welcome to the Galaga '88 challenge. As the name suggests, Galaga '88 was a sequel to Galaga and so it builds on the formula established by the original. Mainly, you will be travelling between dimensions!"
"Sounds fascinating. How do I do that?"
"Well, player, sometimes the enemies in this game will merge together. When this happens, a blue capsule will be spawned for you to collect. If you can collect two by the end of a bonus stage, you will advance to a new dimension!"
"I see. Anything else?"
"Double fighters can be captured in this game. If you rescue one, you can obtain a triple fighter, the most powerful fighter available!"
"As I said, some enemies can combine, and others will split into smaller enemies when attacked!"
"Uh-huh. Anything else?"
"That's all there is. There are 29 stages in the game, your goal is to make it to the last stage and defeat the final boss. There are also five dimensions to visit; I'd like to see you try and reach the fifth. Now before you start, you may choose between a single or dual fighter to start with. Which shall it be?"
Jackie takes a second to examine her options. "I think I will go with a single fighter."
"Alright then. There is a single fighter waiting behind you."
Turning around, Jackie sees her ship. It looks similar to the Galaga fighter, albeit with a wider fuselage and a large round cockpit. After the Namcoator helps her climb in, she pulls a lever in her direction to activate the engines.
"Ready when you are. Press the launch button to begin the Galaga '88 challenge!"
Jackie draws in a breath to calm herself. "Let the challenge begin!"
Jackie slams her fist down on the button. The ship's engines roar and the ship blasts off into space as the Galaga '88 intro jingle plays.
JACKIE JOHNSON - READY!
Soon enough the engines calm down and Jackie settles into a stable speed. "Now where are those aliens…?"
Speaking of the devil, a group of orange Zakos swoop in and begin firing shots at Jackie, She responds by unleashing a barrage of countershots from her ship's gun, which succeed in taking down a number of the Zakos. Then, a line of butterfly-like Goei and round Dons make a large loop-the-loop before assembling into formation, albeit having taken casualties due to Jackie.
The Boss Galagas are next to arrive, supported by more Goei. Avoiding the shots, Jackie uses this time to whittle away at the left side of the formation.
Next a line of Goei and Dons arrive escorted by a yellow Hiyoko. They mostly survive, however two of the Boss Galagas are left damaged and orange. The Hiyoko swiftly withdraws from the scene before Jackie can shoot it.
Another Hiyoko escorts the final line of Zakos and Dons. By now the formation is complete, albeit with quite a few holes. The aliens begin the bombing runs; the Zakos and Dons taking the initiative, although Jackie sees to it that not many of them reach halfway down the screen.
Two of the Goei fly together and merge into a large Goei, which begins making a zig-zag dive. It takes Jackie three hits to kill, and as soon as it explodes a blue capsule is released which Jackie grabs.
"These are the blue capsules I was told about…" Jackie wonders. "If I remember correctly, I have to collect two of these by a bonus stage to advance to another dimension…"
Refocusing herself, Jackie continues firing until all of the enemies have been defeated.
"Alright! That's the first stage clear!"
"Indeed!" the Namcoator replies.
Jackie's ship speeds up as it accelerates to the second dimension.
Jackie has been enjoying the first challenging stage so far; shooting at enemies while listening to a nice tune. But everything has to end eventually. The last set of enemies is killed, and the music ends.
"Alright, bonus stage is over!" the Namcoator announces.
The perfect jingle plays. "Well done player! You have achieved the perfect bonus of 10,000 points!" the Namcoator explains are fireworks explode.
"Heh. My aim has been getting better."
"Indeed. Now since you have two blue capsules, you may advance to the second dimension!"
The two blue capsules fly in front of Jackie and are engulfed in a quick flash of white light, which also rips open a tear in the space-time continuum. Jackie swiftly accelerates through this tear and enters the second dimension.
Gus is watching Jackie in the third dimension plowing through the enemies. He turns to the Namcoator.
"I'm guessing this game was released in 1988." Gus notes.
"Well, only in North America." the Namcoator explains. "In Japan, Galaga '88 was released in December 1987. However by that point 1987 would be almost over, so most people would see the game in 1988. Naming is weird like that."
"Okay. This is a sequel to Galaga, right?"
"Yes, but it's not the first sequel. This is the fourth game in the Galaxian series, the third game being 1984's Gaplus, which let you capture enemies to use as extra firepower."
"Sounds cool. I wonder why more games haven't tried that."
"I wonder too."
Gus begins silently cheering Jackie on.
A huge series of explosions rack the final boss's body before it explodes, scattering it's body parts in all directions and awarding Jackie 400,000 points. She feels suprised that she managed to pull this off. She hitches a breath.
"Well then. I have completed the final challlenge."
"Indeed. Allow me to recall you."
The Namcoator snaps his fingers and Jackie dematerialises.
Back in the monitor room, Jackie rematerialises to see the Galaga '88 trophy, featuring a triple fighter. Jackie is allowed to admire it for fifteen seconds and then put it away.
"Well then." the Namcoator begins. "With the Galaga '88 challenge clear, you have cleared all fifteen challenges. You've done a lot. Avoided deadly ghosts. Fought off swarms of aliens. Raced in cars. Saved my vegetable garden. Even battled villanous cats. I believe there is one last thing for me to do."
He makes a "follow me" gesture with his hand. "Please follow me."