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Space Channel 5 review
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Space Channel 5 review


Space Channel 5
developed by United Games Artists, published by Sega
available on Sega Dreamcast and Sony PlayStation 2

Space Channel 5 is a game about television. Its communicative strength as a demonstrative tool, and the inherent dangers of its misuse. It makes some sly commentary about the small screen by combining its two undeniable epitomes; televised journalism (the noble kind, the only purpose of which is to serve the loyal viewer with imperative information) and... music videos!

In space!


I love it when games have a specific idea that is coherently seen and expressed in all aspects of the design. For instance, in Space Channel 5 the mimicry powers of television are not only basis for the game's narrative, but its core mechanic as well.

The plot follows Ulala (she and I share a birthday, according to the instruction manual ), a news reporter employed by Space Channel 5 as she takes on a mysterious race of brainwashing, monitors-for-heads aliens known as Morolians. The conflict? The aliens have invaded and are forcing people... to dance? The only way to stop these miscreants is to beat them at their own game; out-dance their intergalactic moves until their little alien booties can shake no more.

Copy the aliens' dance moves to win and look great doing it.

So if you've played at the very least a variant of Simon says, you'll get the idea. Only difference, Space Channel 5 is also a rhythm game, so to progress Ulala will have to match both the order and timing of the Morolians' dances. If an alien says "Up," you press up on the d-pad. If they say "Up, up... left," you press up, up... left. Shooting is also involved and controlled by given commands. Gun down galactic scum and rescue groovy victims with your dual-pistols, a face button controlling each.

Shoot to defeat the aliens and rescue the hypnotized humans.

Each level culminates with a "boss" fight, essentially a more challenging rhythm section where Ulala gets a health meter, represented by a number of hearts. If you screw up, you lose a heart. Lose all your hearts and you'll have to restart. I didn't find these bosses or the levels in general particularly challenging, but they are all designed very well, and a few sections were tough enough that I had to (joyously) attempt them multiple times. The game can still be completed in an hour or so, even the first time through, but this is by no means a detriment. The game doesn't need to be any longer at all, the fun and rewarding rhythm received from joining together sexy dance moves never gets old. I also find replaying this game extremely accessible and enjoyable, specifically because of its brevity. Finishing a game in one sitting is a special experience, and I relish re-entering the world of Space Channel 5. Its retro-future style and Ulala's go-go boots never cease to completely charm, and if I've got the time (which again is likely) I can see it through to the fantastic finale.

Space Channel 5 is an unforgettable game with wonderful music, art, and style all its own. It left me with a good funky feeling, and still makes me think about why television is important, and what it can show. Oh, and did I mention it has Michael Jackson?


Space Michael is awesome. This game is awesome.
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By Rin on 09-21-2009, 09:20 PM
Nice review. It covered what it needed to, and it did it well. It looks like the type of game I'd enjoy. I like unorthodox games.
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By SegaSlayer33 on 09-22-2009, 12:31 AM
MJ in space for Space channel 7. Best ddr game ever.
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By da Beef on 09-22-2009, 12:38 AM
that would be sweet, but it has to be called Space Channel 5

i mean thats the tv channel
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By SegaSlayer33 on 09-22-2009, 12:55 AM
Competition never hurt anyone, did it Nintendo?

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By da Beef on 09-22-2009, 12:57 AM
im not really sure where youre going with that

anyway i want a new SC5 game on Wii. Sega has been updating their other classics with Wii iterations, and Space Channel 5 begs to be on there with the dancing
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By SegaSlayer33 on 09-22-2009, 12:59 AM
Space Channel 7 vs Space Channel 5. I suppose I could of added more to make the implication obvious to someone with an IQ lower than 270.

It does . I wouldn't be surprised if encourages this, with its pitiful "hardcore" lineup
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By da Beef on 09-22-2009, 01:01 AM
you realize everyone on earth has an IQ lower than 270

and why on earth would anyone want space channel 7? just relase SC5: DDR edition
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By SegaSlayer33 on 09-22-2009, 01:33 AM
Valid points. Looking forward to the next one.
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By Rin on 09-22-2009, 01:40 AM
Sounds like some stuff went down here :P
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