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Review: Space Channel 5 Part 2 for PS3

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Title: Space Channel 5 Part 2
Price: $9.99
System(s): PS3 (Also available on Xbox 360, Dreamcast, PS2)
Release Date: October 5, 2011
Publisher (Developer): Sega (UGA)
ESRB Rating: “Teen” for Mild Fantasy Violence and Suggestive Themes
Pros: Silly, bright and happy story, interesting gameplay, hidden secrets in each level, can change Ulala’s outfit, can earn character profiles for all rescued characters and beaten enemies, cooperative Story mode and Ulala Dance mode, trophies added, HD and widescreen presentation for the gameplay segments and can adjust controls in the option menus to make the game easier.
Cons: Can beat the story mode in a single sitting. The event scenes are letterbox and look horrendous – worse than they did in the PS2 port. Sometimes it can be difficult to hear the right audio cues.
Overall Score: One thumb up and one thumb sideways, 85/100, B, * * * 1/2 out of 5

Sometimes you feel like an epic, dramatic, “save the world” adventure, and sometimes you don’t. Space Channel 5 Part 2 fits quite comfortably in the “don’t” section. It’s goofy, bright, colorful and campy, with a rather ridiculous plot. None of that matters though, because it’s all just so much fun, while still being a rather challenging affair. So buckle up and prepare to blast some “Mexican Flyer” while practicing your “chus” and “heys!”

Space Channel 5 Part 2 for PS3

“Hello Space Cats!”

News flash! There’s trouble in the milky way. Strange robots have been appearing, lead by a masked man, and they’re forcing people to dance! You can imagine how exhausting that will eventually be. Fortunately Ulala, famed reporter for Space Channel 5, is broadcasting live from the scene.

Cue a rhythm-based version of Simon Says involving dance offs, sing offs and instrument battles as Ulala goes around the galaxy, trying to stop the Rhythm Rogues, free people from their infectious dance beats and save both Space President Peace and all the abducted civilians from Purge’s plans to use the groove to take over the universe. She’s not alone in her endeavor though, as along the way this talented reported will be joined by Space Channel 5 chief Space Michael, Channel 42 rival reporter Pudding and Space Police Chief Pine to turn the beat around.

Space Channel 5 Part 2 for PS3

“Whatever happens, I’ll give it a dance!”

As mentioned earlier, Space Channel 5 Part 2 is a rhythmic version of Simon Says. When Ulala enters an area, she’ll be tasked with completing certain dance battles throughout the level, culminating in a boss battle against a more viable opponent. In each case, players will see the opponent dictate a series of commands like up, right, left, down, chu (X) and hey (O) in time to the beat. The player must repeat the actions exactly, with perfect time, in order to pass. Performing well keeps Ulala from losing hearts in standard battles or stars in boss battles, which in turn boosts her ratings and the player’s score. Failing means the hearts/stars/rating goes down and could result in a game over. If that should happen, players can always choose to restart from the beginning or midpoint of a level, and can even adjust the controls to assign the commands to the same buttons. In fact, the in-game hints even suggests assigning up, chu and hey to a single button to make the adventure easier for beginners.

Even though Space Channel 5 Part 2‘s story mode is rather short, there’s plenty of incentive to return. Each level of the story mode has secrets, which can be discovered through trial and error or by reading the unlocked character profiles of rescued civilians, beaten enemies or other characters. There is also an Ulala Dance mode that’s a 100 round, continuous dance battle where one mistake ends the game. Also, local cooperative multiplayer modes are available for both the story and dance mode, allowing players to work together with each player handling certain moves. The rewards, in the case of the Ulala Dance and coop modes, are additional costumes for Ulala to wear in the game or accessories for her to hold.

There’s only one point where this groovy, intergalactic adventure falters. Imagine, if you will, that you’re playing through a boss fight where Ulala and the people she has rescued have just finished the dance off and caused the Kin Kan Kon robot trio to overheat and keel over. It’s a beautiful, widescreen, HD experience with crisp characters that look absolutely stunning on your HDTV. Then the event scene shows up to show what happens between the two levels and you’re back in the analog age. The event video is in a standard format, with blocky and blurred characters that are actually painful to see, especially since the gameplay segments look so sharp and beautiful. It’s a jarring aberration and it’s inexcusable that Sega couldn’t find some way to make these scenes look even a little better. I did get out my PS2 copy of Space Channel 5 Part 2 to compare, and found the event scenes looked the same in that release, so it looks like Sega didn’t bother looking into updating that portion of the game at all.

Space Channel 5 Part 2 for PS3

“Chu chu hey!”

Space Channel 5 Part 2 is pure campy goodness. The whole adventure takes place in a bright, colorful and enthusiastic world where silliness is considered a very good thing. It’s just plain fun, and the different game modes and assorted unlockables provide reason enough to keep returning to this title. The only downside comes from the horribly presented event scenes that Sega didn’t update. If players can overlook the occasional, dated story segment that pops up during the Story mode, they’ll see why the Space Channel 5 series has become a beloved cult classic.

Site [Space Channel 5 Part 2]

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