JAMMA: Planet Harriers Hands-On

Sega reveals the sequel to the classic Space Harrier game at the JAMMA show. We have impressions, screenshots, and a video clip.

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Planet Harriers is the long-awaited return of the Space Harrier series. While Planet Harriers may not be a direct follow-up to the older games, it provides enough similarly styled gameplay to bring back memories of the 1985 classic.

While the game certainly looks a lot like Space Harrier, it contains elements of other Sega shooters, as well. Similar to Panzer Dragoon, you have a lock-on attack. Your ability to lock-on to multiple enemies is limited by a fuel tank, which regenerates quickly between shots. Aside from the lock-on attack, you also have a normal shot and a screen-clearing bomb. Between areas, you occasionally enter a shop, where you can purchase items like extended life bars, increased lock-on capacity, shields, additional bombs, a larger lock-on reticule, and health refills. Also, you can quickly dash around the screen by double-tapping the analog stick. When linked together with another cabinet, you can play simultaneously with another person.

Planet Harriers looks pretty amazing. There's almost always tons of action on the screen, be it a gigantic four-headed dragon breathing fire at you, or a screen full of pesky, laser-spewing ships. There appeared to be a bit of slowdown when the screen became almost completely filled with fire, but not enough to cause a problem.

The game has four characters, each with a gimmicky weapon, be it a laser-firing baseball bat or a gigantic syringe. None of the available characters look like the original guy from Space Harrier, but we sincerely hope that Sega has hidden the old guy in there somewhere. Also, let's face it, some gigantic floating heads would be pretty cool, too.

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