Review by sanhedrin
Reviewed: 10/17/02 | Updated: 10/17/02
A classic arcade game for classic rockers. Don’t stop believing!
It’s fairly common knowledge that games licensed from movies are typically bad. Now, many of you may disagree with me, but I think that games licensed from musicians can be pretty good, even if you don’t like the band. Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker is a solid arcade game, the Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch Sega CD game is good for a laugh, and the KISS pinball machine, though technically not a videogame, rock and rolls all night and parties every day. Then there’s Journey. A mainstay of classic rock radio for at least ten years, the band Journey was loved in the 1980s but is more or less reviled by the current generation of youths. They had some catchy songs, but their vibe is just too dated to have the staying power of other, more widely appreciated classic rock bands. Some people just don’t dig arena rock. But I bet dollars to doughnuts they’d dig the Journey arcade game.
So evidently the band Journey has an interstellar gig they’ve got to play when their gear is stolen. Given no other choice, they hop into the scarab from one of their album covers (which is also, coincidentally, a space cruiser) and fly off into space. From there there are five different nebulae that need to be traversed in order to regain the stolen musical instruments. Ah, the perils of rock and roll superstardom.
The five levels can be completed in any order, Mega Man style. Entering a nebula in your scarab ship will send you to a little game segment featuring a member of the band, whose name is proudly printed across the bottom of the screen. These games all have two sections: pre-instrument attainment and post-instrument attainment. The pre section are all basically ripoffs of other classic games like Lunar Lander, Donkey Kong, some circus game whose name eludes me, etc. Once you’ve retrieved your musical instrument, the level turns into a ripoff of a classic *shooting* game, such as Tron or Space Invaders. Escape with all the instruments and you play the part of a huge Space Bouncer at a Journey gig, bouncing fans that try to rush the stage off of your enormous gut. Then start again at a harder difficulty.
This game wouldn’t be half as cool (or ironically entertaining, depending on your state of view) if it weren’t based on Journey. Little pre-midi versions of Journey songs play throughout the levels, giving the game a unique sing-a-long aspect that is sure to drive friends and family crazy. And of course the players you control have little digitized heads of the actual members of Journey on them. Sweet.
Here’s an interesting bit of gaming trivia for all you aficionados. After you beat the game, a tape recorder inside the cabinet would play a little section from a Journey song. This makes Journey the first (and only, as far as I know) videogame to employ cassette tape technology! Also, I think I saw on VH1 sometime that Journey kept one of these arcade machines in their tour bus. But then, if you had a game based on *your* rock and roll exploits in space, wouldn’t you too?
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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