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Space Channel 5: Part 2


Space Channel 5 has sat forlornly in my Steam library, dejected and alone. It came attached to Crazy Taxi in a four pack, the other two titles also having since been forgotten. Some things are important in life. One day you might be in another country half way across the world, sitting outside a kebab shop with your laptop on the side of the road and thinking that it's time to make some crazy money, but your Dreamcast is in another hemisphere.

Steam was designed specifically for that situation. Sometimes, you just need to hear that YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH, and zoom around a city driving pregnant women to record stores.

Making crazy money notwithstanding, I chanced onto Space Channel 5 while eyeing up how many games I still haven't touched (it's a lot.) I didn't know anything about it, aside from the fact it was a Sega thing. I had the vague notion that it was a game about dancing, or had dancers in it. A dance simulator, maybe. A game launched through Dance.exe.

There are many games like that on Steam. You don't remember how Secret of the Magic Crystal got into your library, or which sale you bought Nancy Drew: Ransom of the Seven Ships, but apparently it is a game that you can play.

I don't know if there's a precursor to Part 2 or if it spawned itself one night from the nether. It seems like the sort of piece of media that just happens of its own accord. I have difficulty imagining a board room full of executives pointing at a game about a groovy news reporter with bright pink pigtails, white vinyl go go boots, a microphone and a jetpack who has to dance and saying, yes, I would like to put money behind this.

There is no introduction. A man in a black zentai and platform hover boots orders his robots to "show those humans how to boogie." Then, well, his robots zap some people and they start dancing before being teleported away.

Ulala, said groovy news reporter, enters the scene with her "Swingin Report Show," then just sort of... starts dancing. Maybe in the future, journalism is about dancing. I don't know, and honestly? It never really bothered me. This isn't a game with any pretensions.

It's got a Simon Says flavour to it; bad guys do some move then you have to do the same moves. Past that, there really isn't much to say in terms of mechanics. This is not a complex simulation of accurate realistic dance moves.

In a lot of ways it reminds me of PaRappa the Rapper, in that things are just there, and well no there is nothing to qualify they're just there. The dancing troupe known as the Rhythm Rogues has kidnapped Space President Peace and are forcing him to boogie, so of course you have to rescue him by dancing, after you beat your rival reporter to the scene by pulling out your rainbow guitar and playing a more bitching solo on a platform with water shooting around you and two Blues Brothers-esque bodyguards in black shades bopping along in the background.

You saw the screenshot at the top. Now Roboading is the loading screen. Games should never be afraid to be weird. It's easy to forgive a game for almost anything if it's trying something different.

Some things are important in life. If Crazy Taxi can be one of those things, I don't see why Space Channel 5 shouldn't be as well. It certainly held my interest for longer than a lot of other titles out there.
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About Comrade Tweedone of us since 5:22 AM on 06.25.2012