Space Channel 5 parts 1 & 2
Sega - 2000
Machine: Sega Dreamcast, PS2
"Aliens have taken over the planet and are forcing people to DANCE!" Need I say more? Ok maybe a little more explanation would help. Space Channel 5 is a great example of Sega at their best; a simple yet original concept delivered in a stylish yet fun package (and they don't come much more stylish yet fun than the star of this game).
You play the part of Ulala, swingin' reporter for Space Channel 5 who has to dance against the aliens to save the world! The game play is wonderfully simple: the aliens dance in front of you - "Up, down, down, left, shoot, shoot, shoot" you just have to copy those moves to the same rhythm. Put a foot or arm wrong and your audience figures go down, if they drop too low your show gets cancelled. Such simple game play could get repetitive if anyone other than Sega had made it. Because each stage looks and sounds very different to the last and it runs so fast, you just don't have time to get bored.
The graphics in SC5 are spectacular and the animation of the dancers is spot on. The style is inspired by a futuristic vision of the world as depicted by the TV shows and films of the swinging sixties, think The Avengers and Space 1999. It's this style and the quality of the animation which makes the game so much fun to watch, even when you're not playing.
Now hold on a minute, here I am going on about Space Channel 5 when the title of this page includes Space Channel 5 part 2. OK for SC5pt2 imagine everything I've just said and multiply it by 10. SC5pt2 is the perfect sequel, nothing is lost from the original and everything that's added gives you more depth and variety of gameplay. You have a whole new dance move, there's a new type of shooting stage and best of all now you don't just dance, you sing and play instruments too! You really haven't lived until you've out-drummed the Space Police!
It's a crying shame that SC5pt2 was only released in Japan but if you can get it you won't regret it. The fact at it's all in Japanese just adds to the kitsch style! If you don't want to import get the original NOW!
Jakey 14 Oct '02
ebay - Any good second hand game store should have this for the Dreamcast or PS2. The second part is harder to come by only being available in Japan on the Dreamcast and everywhere in Europe except for the UK on the PS2.
Good Cow Films' Space Channel 5 part 2 page - Loads of gameplay movies to download, well worth checking out to see Ulala in action.
Wikipedia's Space Channel 5 page - Lots of great information.