Bam Bam Bam!! Space Channel 5 is a dance/adventure game where you’re trying to save the galaxy from an army of invading alien intruders also known as Morolians. You control the groovy (and HOT!) Space Channel 5 reporter, Ulala, in her quest to thwart the aliens’ invasion and eventually uncover the overall plot.
At its heart, Space Channel 5 is a simple game of “Simon Says”. Using the Dreamcast control pad and one button, you attempt to match Simon Says moves (up up, down, right, shoot) in time to the music. The game takes you between dance segments automatically and gives you a chance to rest before the next scene.
While in each scene, Ulala encounters various Morolians that must be dealt with. Sometimes the Morolians are accompanied by humans that have been hypnotized and are under the Morolians’ control. The Morolians then perform a series of dance moves in time to the music (in Simon says fashion) and you must help Ulala repeat that series of dance moves. The dance moves get more complex within each scene and between scenes. For instance, the first set of Morolians encountered begin with “Left, Right, Up” or something basic like that. Later in the game, there are many more moves and they need to be performed more quickly. By performing the moves correctly, Ulala sends the Morolians back to their mother ship and rescues the humans. Every time Ulala rescues a human, he/she joins Ulala and follows behind her. If you mess up and don’t do the dance move correctly, you may lose one of your existing human followers. By the end of the first level, you can have between 0 and 18 or so humans following Ulala!
In addition, Ulala has a viewer rating that starts at about 10%. Every time you successfully complete a set of dance moves your viewer rating may rise and conversely, if you mess up a dance move, the ratings may fall. If Ulala’s ratings are not above a certain point by the end of the level, her show may be cancelled and you’ll have to start over! Also, your performance will affect Ulala’s mood. If you mess up a lot, she will seem depressed and sad, bringing her hands over her face. If you’re doing very well, however, she will appear to strut and do other “happy” things.
There are various “mini-bosses” within each level and final bosses at the end of each level. All of the bosses require more skill, rhythm and memory skills. Without giving out too much, the boss at the end of the game is quite challenging. Placement of the bosses is very good and does not seem like they were placed there just for the heck of it. The final level in SC5 is my favorite. I love the music, bosses and the fact that there is a “special guest”… It is challenging near the end, but it is also a lot of fun!
I only have a few complaints about Space Channel 5, the first of which is that the fun ended too quickly! There are only 4.5 levels and if you really know what you are doing, you can solve the game in about an hour. Despite the length of the game, its longevity is fantastic. Despite having solved the game about 5 times, I keep going back for more! Each time you solve it, you improve some of your moves and get closer and closer to that all important 100% viewer rating. My goal is to eventually solve the game without making any mistakes (not very likely). My only other complaint about Space Channel 5 is that it isn’t always 100% accurate with regard to the dance moves. Several times I swear that I pushed the button or the controller in the right direction at the right time only to hear the dreaded “beep”. It doesn’t happen very often, but it does happen.
Anyway, enough with the bad stuff! Overall, Space Channel 5 ROCKS! It has some ultra high quality music, and the graphics, sound and gameplay are all top notch! Most importantly, it is fun! That’s right! Pure fun! No need to worry about getting shot or killed. The worst thing that can happen to you is that your show gets cancelled. It is a light-hearted game that is bound to be one of bright spots for the Dreamcast platform and I hope that there will be plans for a sequel. Ok, enough of this review! I’m heading back to play the game!
reviewed by Brandon Kaminsky
|Space Channel 5 for the Sega Dreamcast system|
|VMU saves = save viewer rating and progress|
|Shake that thing!|
Space Channel 5 Screen Shots