"Being one of the first shooters released when game systems began to take over our lives, Space Harrier surely brings back the fond memories of those past evenings as a little kid sitting around our Nintendos and Sega Master Systems. Space Harrier dominated with its fast-paced gameplay and astounding visuals. Today, even after touching down on a variety of systems and returning even on the PlayStation 2, Space Harrier's legacy lives on. "
Being one of the first shooters released when game systems began to take over our lives, Space Harrier surely brings back the fond memories of those past evenings as a little kid sitting around our Nintendos and Sega Master Systems. Space Harrier dominated with its fast-paced gameplay and astounding visuals. Today, even after touching down on a variety of systems and returning even on the PlayStation 2, Space Harrier's legacy lives on.
And the words that would mark the start of every round...
Taking on the role of the Dragonland protector, you must fly off on your jet-pack to defeat the demon Valda and his bloodthirsty minions. The first level instantly starts you off running along a checkerboard ground. The control pad will allow you to move up and around the screen with your trusty jet-pack. On the ground are various trees and bushes that can be quite a nuisance. Your blaster can be used to zap the trees out of the way so you don't end up smashed like a pancake while zipping through the air.
After a few seconds, the initial group of enemies will come flying in. As intimidating as they might look in their spaceship-like forms, they are easily blasted out of the air with a single shot. However, you do have to realize that they can also shoot you back with oval-shaped blasts. At the same time, the trees and bushes will still fly across the screen at breakneck speed. Weave around the area avoiding enemy fire and the monstrocities in the air while at the same time, destroying the foliage and machinery getting in your way. No matter, you have no intentions of slowing down any time soon.
Chaos at its finest.
The only real break you'll ever get is the few seconds in-between levels. After hopelessly weaving along the edges of the screen doing your best to avoid getting killed, the first level will lead into the next. Soon enough, the next batch of minions will come soaring in with the motive to take you out. Constantly, you'll see that enemies will use special formations to confuse you. Whether it be delta formations or strafing runs, they'll be sure to keep you on your feet.
To add to the chaotic nature, enemies will soon begin to fly at you from behind in fantastic formations of doom. Once they make their appearance, a quick line of fire from each will careen toward your location. At this point, it's your choice to perform immediate evasive maneuvers or be punished with a scream of agony from your player. Providing excellent resistance, Space Harrier is no easy game to play.
Stacked with difficulty toward the last few levels, your character will undoubtedly get scratched by a few enemy shots. The score amount at the top of the screen will constantly go up whether or not you take down enemies or not. Get as far as you can and destroy as many objects you can before getting your own butt sizzled. Players will learn to keep moving or suffer the deadly consequences. The deadly onslaught of enemies won't stop until the very end.
Space Harrier's visuals are absolutely amazing when compared to other shooters of its time. The choppiness of fast-moving enemies and objects is kept to a minimum as your character speeds through the skies. Enemies in the distance grow in size as you close in with impossible speeds. The checkerboard pattern on the ground proves how fast your character is blasting through the air. Enemy monsters are amazing designed with each having their own battle style. Everything on-screen is against you. The visuals prove that well enough.
Space Harrier truly broke the barrier into true shooter action. The fast-paced actions on-screen are enough to unnerve even the most stern gamers. Requiring a bit of luck and a lot of skill, it is not easy to win without problems getting in your way. A trip over a small bush might send you sprawling into a certain death or getting scratched by a tree might send you down for the count. You're one objective is to fight back and survive whether it be knocking down enemy minions, blasting through foliage, or shutting off the game until the next session of hardcore shooting.
It's not enough to say that this game kicks butt. Space Harrier is a game that kicks ass and comes back around to kiss it. You're life is not complete without playing Space Harrier.
Community review by masterzero99 (February 27, 2005)
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