Game Reviews

A look into Space Channel 5: Part 2

This broadcast will be brought to you by Ulala of Space Channel 5

Who is into non-traditional rhythm games? Or retro games from back in the early 2000’s? Ever wanted to be a reporter who saves the world through dance? Well, if that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place (rhyme not intended)! Space Channel 5: Part 2 is a direct sequel to Space Channel 5, and originally came out on February 2002. Back then, it was playable only on the Dreamcast and the Playstation 2. It is a music video game conceived by none other than Sega and United Gaming Artists. It’s a non-traditional rhythm game that is cheesy, challenging, colorful, and imaginative. Having never played the game on Dreamcast, I will solely review the game based on the PC port experience.

Time to hit the Space Station! Meet Ulala, a first-rate Space Channel reporter oozing with swagger and style. Her prowess is known throughout the galaxy, as well as her dance moves. With nothing but sass, attitude, and a keen eye for reporting events, Ulala will face off against a dark force. What a scoop! Moreover, this dark force is an Unidentified Dance Troupe, who we later find out to be Rhythm Rogues. Their aim? To dominate the galaxy and air by both kidnapping and forcing thousands of people to dance against their will. With the power of dance and rhythm, Ulala will save the day through Space Disco, and uncover the mystery behind why this is happening. So show them who’s boss, Ulala!

Let’s Chu!

Time to talk about gameplay! Firstly, I found that starting the application on Steam automatically put the game settings as “windowed”. I’m not sure if this is the case for everybody! I certainly found this to be the case from my own end. Secondly, I was happy to note that my linked PS4 controller functioned perfectly with the game. The main menu interface was easy enough to maneuver. I had no issues with making sure the settings were comfortable for my own gameplay experience. Once clicking into story mode, I found myself watching a fascinating cutscene. It wasn’t long before the first dance-off would begin though. This is where the non-traditional rhythm game mechanics come in. The first thing I immediately noticed was that instead of showing arrow prompts on the screen, an “enemy” on-screen says a command and performs an action.

How about I get things started with a dance?

The word would usually mean clicking in a particular direction or selecting a button. If they’re pointing up you have to correctly remember the time between rhythmic beats, and the time properly when to press up. While the movements are there to assist you, they aren’t all you need. If you look at the screen on the lower left, there is a heart counter. For every wrong move made, you will lose a heart. There are also view ratings on the lower right side of the screen. Play your moves right, and your view ratings go up. This will mean more points and benefits, including more hearts/lives. It didn’t seem all that difficult to maneuver about honestly. You do need to be in tune with the rhythm though, otherwise, it might make for frustrating gameplay.

Space Channel 5: Part 2 does look pretty aged, given the graphical integrity of games today. It is, after all, a game from the early 2000s. But something about this game remains charming to this date. It is simplistic, yet so versatile. There are many different, creative, and colorful stages during our regular dance-offs against the dance troupe. The designs of each character and enemy look fascinating. Yes, the low polygon count and sometimes frightening NPC faces could be offputting to some, but at least it is easy to identify who people are and what they are doing. And hey, I think they’re doing something right with the choreography and dance animations.

And now for a few words from our victors!

Let’s talk music, shall we? Space Channel 5: Part 2 treats the audience to a wide range of catchy soundtracks and voice acting that will have you humming along to the beat. The tracks were co-composed by Naofumi Hataya, Kenichi Tokoi, Tomoya Ohtani and Mariko Namba, with a clear Jazz influence from the 60’s and 70’s. I personally adored the music, and how they have cleverly integrated the action sounds “chu” “hey” into the gameplay mechanics. There were about 2 album releases for the game. Remixes of the album soon followed, alongside some short audio dramas. Did you know? Michael Jackson actually did some voice acting in this game? His character is called “Space Michael”.

In a nutshell, I think that Space Channel 5: Part 2 is an awesome and sometimes tough non-traditional rhythm game. It will have you laughing, smiling and jiving as you blast your way through various levels. There is a lot of replayability in this title, especially when you consider all of the content that you can unlock. I won’t mention any of them since it’ll be spoilers and I want you to be able to fully enjoy this title. I personally think that if you like rhythm games or Japanese Anime, this is the title for you to delve into.

You can purchase Space Channel 5: Part 2 on Steam.

Cancer Research UK will be receiving 70% of the sales from this title.
It will fund and support the Stand Up to Cancer Campaign.

One Comment

  1. I love this game. I’m not even good at rhythm games, but it was a beloved wacky gem from my childhood that I got to experience on the original Dreamcast thanks to my older siblings 🙂 It has some challenging moments, but I urge people to consider giving it a shot just for the spectacle of it all even if it’s not like the games you typically play.

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