TGS 2001 Fall: First look: Space Channel 5 Part 2

United Game Artists takes the wraps off Ulala's next Dreamcast adventure.

UGA president Tetsuya Mizuguchi took to the event stage at Sega's TGS both and demonstrated the next adventure for swinging reporter Ulala: Space Channel 5 Part 2 for the Dreamcast and PlayStation 2. Promising the game would be happier, crazier, and more musical, Mizuguchi showed off some stages to let the crowd in attendance know what was coming. The game's plot finds Ulala out to rescue more humans from another alien menace, the Odoridans, that is forcing them to dance wildly.

This time out, the game will feature a variety of changes and enhancements to the original Space Channel 5. Graphically, the game will offer a new look for the series--the streaming MPEG backgrounds have been replaced with real polygonal environments that will change on the fly over the course of the game. Ulala's basic orange outfit has been replaced with a sleek little white number that can be tweaked over the course of the game in a changing room. Levels now offer more variety in people to save and their motion-captured dance steps. One sequence shown called to mind an old-fashioned Busby Berkley musical number, complete with fountains and fireworks.

Gameplay has been tweaked and expanded to offer a more varied experience for players. While the core gameplay is still the same--repeat the alien's moves without making mistakes to defeat them and press the proper buttons to zap aliens or rescue humans--there have been some notable tweaks. You'll now have to hold down the A button to lengthen a note's sound or press the A button with the proper timing after a snippet of a song has been sung during a battle. Ulala's health will also increase if players don't make errors. Another notable tweak is the addition of a two-player mode, which Mizuguchi did not show.

In addition to the variations on the standard gameplay mentioned above, players will now engage in musical instrument battles with enemies. Mizuguchi demonstrated a sequence that found Ulala and a partner behind a drum kit, pitted against a trio of women with a drum kit of their own. The main drive of the sequence was to keep up with the trio's beats. Another instrumental sequence found a keyboard-playing Ulala heading up a supergroup that was composed of a few familiar faces including fellow reporter Pudding from the original Space Channel 5, Space Michael (Jackson, that is), and a Morolian.

Toward the end of the demo, Mizuguchi mentioned his intention to release the two Space Channel games for the PS2 close to each other--hinting at the possibility of the two games feeding off each other in some way. Space Channel 5 Part 2 is slated to ship for the Dreamcast and PlayStation 2 early next year in Japan. There has been no word of a US release for the game.

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