Review by KasketDarkfyre
Reviewed: 08/06/02 | Updated: 08/06/02
Still impressive after all these years..
Space Harrier is a sweet old classic game that brings plenty of action and adventure to the table while giving the gamer a taste of hybrid shooting. You take control of a character with a behind the back view, and attempt to make it through several different zones while killing monsters and avoiding damage. Though the game really doesn’t have much of an ending, any classic gamer shouldn’t be without playing this game at least once.
-The Game Play-
The game play is fast and furious, with you on a rocket pack, roving through several stages of mindless, enemy blasting action. You’ll roll through several different zones, each with their own amount of creatures that take pot shots at you from every angle. You’ll have to learn how to avoid the different enemies and basically learn several different patterns before taking on a boss character of sorts that will truly test your patience. The challenge that you find isn’t so much with the game, but how fast your character doesn’t move around the free flowing stage. With the different scaling effects that come up, it takes a little time to get used to the sluggish arcade control.
As you go through each of the zones, you’ll have to learn the patterns of your enemies and where the game brings different shots. With most shooters, you have to work on a pattern basis and this title is no exception to the rule. As long as you can stay ahead of what is before you and avoid the shots that come at you, then anyone should be able to pick up on the game immediately and run for a high score. One of the more difficult parts of the game, is simply learning how to keep your character on a path without having him go too widely out of control!
Speaking of control, you’ll have to learn how to work with the control stick of your character and a simple button. Keeping the game simple is a good way to draw gamers in, but the lack of advanced attacks and even power upgrades is enough to turn some hardcore shooting game fans away. The problem that I found prevalent is that your character only moves as fast as the game will let you. If you take the way that you have to move and shoot on the different stages, and compare it to say Afterburner, then you would have the same set up that you had there, only slower!
The visuals that you find here are actually pretty good with the way that the scaling effects come in from the background, rushing at you with some decent speed. The only problem here is that regardless of all of the bright colors and semi-fluid movement that you have, there is something to be said about the way that the game slow down when you have too much action on the screen! The main problem that the arcade has, is that with too many character models on the screen, there is some lacking with the machine keeping up and what you have is an overall slowing the game down to a crawl.
The music is another portion of the game that matches what the game theme has to offer. With a strange adventure music that is the norm of the original release, gamers who enjoyed this shooter will find the strange semblance to be comforting. However, for those of you who like adventure/action games with an attitude, you’ll find nothing here but simple tunes and exceptionally simple sound effects to round out the audio roster on all accounts. There is enough here that will keep any shooter fan happy, though it tends to repeat on a regular basis, which might leave some to want just a little more from this title.
As one of the original arcade action games, Sega did a good job in creating a game that will keep some gamers coming back to this old title. While the premise of the game has been copied and recreated in a better way, there is still something to say for the impressive scaling, the cool visuals and even the catchy theme. With the challenge of the zones, you’ll find that this game has enough to offer just about anyone, while stay a personal favorite of the older gamers who enjoyed this title years ago. If you see it in the arcade, it’s well worth plunking a couple of quarters into just to see how the action/adventure genre started out!
Rating: 4.0 - Great
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