Space Channel 5: Special Edition
When Sega's psychedelic rhythm-action game Space Channel 5 originally came out on Dreamcast, I was smitten with its swingin' soundtrack, sensational style, sci-fi story, and saucy Simon-Says gameplay. Maybe I'm exaggerating--and using too much alliteration--but it was good. Unfortunately, most DC owners were apathetic towards Ulala's reportin' exploits. But hopefully that'll change, now that it's on PS2 in a pack that includes the original game and its previously Japan-only sequel. The gameplay sounds simplistic: You tap buttons to repeat sequences a rhythmic adversary throws at you. But the combination of toe-tappin' music, retro-futuristic style, and rapid-fire pacing injects Space Channel with an infectious, addictive quality. The first disc offers the original SC5, unchanged except for slight tweaks to the animation. The real treat here lies on the second disc, where Space Channel 5 Part 2 ups the ante with tougher levels, instrument-playing, singing, and two-player duels. Ulala's antics aren't for everyone, but any fan of music games needs to have this in their collection.
Stylistically speaking, this game rocks the eye candy, hard. Ulala continually turns up in wackier costumes by the minute, while every new location bursts with multicolored fun--space-age '60s decor, psychedelic flowers, and people in trippy vinyl spacesuits. The game itself, however, lacks the same pizzazz. The rhythm challenges come in a few varieties: so easy it's embarrassing, mildly challenging, and so-crazy-you'd-have-to-be-on-speed-to-succeed. It was that last type that really irritated me, as you have to score perfectly to get credit for the combo.
I never thought I'd see SC5 Part 2 come to the United States, much less in a sweet, both-games-for-less-than-the-price-of-one package. The original SC5 is one of my favorite music games, and the sequel is even better. It has all the awesome music and swinging, ultrahip style that made the first one so much fun, but with added variety thanks to new techniques and a survival mode. Sure, both games are pretty short, but when you're getting such a good deal, why complain?
Download Space Channel 5: Special Edition
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP