Friday, June 19, 2009

Space Harrier

Sega / NEC Avenue

Inspired by my brother Alexei's heartfelt review and fond recollections of the game, I decided to give Space Harrier a quick play for the first time in a while. Actually, it wasn't so quick; I must admit it took a few sessions for me to regain my space-harrying skills. That's a good thing, as I like it when a game requires practice. And SH is always a nice change of pace for me; there are few Duo games quite like it (the system, like its contemporaries, was low on into-the-screen blasters), so transferal of sharpened skills from one recently played title to this one is generally out of the question. Before too long, I was back in the zone, tearing through enemies and speeding past pillars until I reached the glorious "Epirogue."

It was the kind of good, clean fun that I'm used to having when I sit down with SH. It's always enjoyable to duel with mammoths and gliding robots and the rest of the game's oddball miscreants.

Plus, many of the tunes are pretty darn catchy, especially the track that plays during the second boss fight.

As for negatives, the game is too repetitive. It takes a number of stages and basically rehashes them with obstacles more abundant and enemies quicker to the draw. The gameplay is challenging and enjoyable enough that the repetition doesn't become a major issue, but I feel the designers were a little short on ideas for the eighteen stages they constructed.

Also, all of the bosses are easy to beat, and some are simply underwhelming. Crushing a frail-but-cool-looking fire-breathing dragon makes for decent-enough fun, but defeating a bunch of little blue things isn't particularly satisfying.

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