Space Channel 5 absolutely oozes with style from beginning to end, and even though a bit of the game's charm has been lost in the translation from Japanese to English, it's still an interesting, yet criminally simplistic game.
If there were a GameSpot rating score for style, Space Channel 5 would be off the chart. Space Channel 5 absolutely oozes with style from beginning to end, and even though a bit of the game's charm has been lost in the translation from Japanese to English, it's still an interesting, yet criminally simplistic game.
Ulala is a reporter for the TV station Space Channel 5. Using her own brand of gonzo journalism, she'll broadcast her show, Ulala's Swinging Report Show, to the universe while trying to stop an invasion of dancing aliens known as the Morolians. In order to succeed, you'll have to outdance the Morolians (not to mention a few of your broadcast-journalist competition) in the most complex-looking clone of Simon you'll ever see.
The game basically boils down to Ulala walking from level to level, dancing against the little aliens in order to free humans from the Morolian's hypnotic grasp. As she does this, she rounds up an enormous dance posse. The size of your posse depends on how well you do. While larger dance posses caused a great deal of dropped frames in the Japanese release, this isn't nearly as much of an issue in the US version of the game. At the end of every level you'll encounter some huge boss, but this usually doesn't change the gameplay very much, if at all.
The gameplay centers on four directions and two buttons. If the aliens say "up, down, right, left, chu, chu, chu," then you'll need to duplicate both the accuracy and timing of this during the next measure of the song. In some sections, you'll have to discern between humans and aliens and press the proper button - A shoots aliens, B frees humans - to move forward.
Graphically, the game looks great. Everything has a smooth and very stylized look to it. The dancing is well animated, though a few rough transitions can be found if you're looking for them. The only real problem with the dancing is that there really isn't enough variance. Ulala does the same set of moves throughout most of the game - the only difference is if you're doing extremely well or extremely poorly, she has a few alternate moves and walks. The soundtrack is outstanding, though it too is a little repetitive when you consider that each and every song has aliens singing and Ulala shouting directions over them. The voicework is decent, but lacks the charm of the Japanese voices.
While it may be easy to dismiss the game due to its overly basic nature, Space Channel 5 is worth playing from beginning to end, just to see the far-out graphical style used throughout the game. But beyond a few unlockable character profiles, there isn't much replay value - in fact, you'll probably find yourself tiring of mimicking the aliens' moves long before you finish the game.