Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Space Channel 5 Parts 1 & 2: PlayStation 2 Tuesdays #8

This time, I am here to talk about Space Channel 5 - part one and part two. I know technically that's two different games but they're so similar in style and execution I have decided to group them together.

At it's most basic level, the Space Channel 5 games are based on repetition. You watch your opponent do a variety of moves taken from the four directions (up, right, down and left), a "chu" button (X on the PS2) and a "hey" button (the circle button). Then you repeat the moves in the same order, and you also have to get the timing right as well. If that sounds very simple, it is. If that sounds boring, it isn't. Why? The wonderful music and the style of the game.

Space Channel 5 has music running deep in its veins - funky, 60's esque carnival music, often with latin american flavour. The main theme that is the backbone of both games is a piece of music called "Mexican Flyer" by Ken Woodman and his Piccadilly Brass. It wouldn't sound out of place in an old spy film. Alongside this are many other types of music, from waltzes, electric guitar solos, a bit of techno and even some inspired by the work of Michael Jackson (who makes a guest appearance as Space Michael).

This colourful scene is from Part 2, which is much more varied than Part 1.
The 60's also pervades the style of the game. It's all bright orange PVC and curves. The curves are not just to be found on the retro chic space age decor, but also on the leading lady, Ulala. She has been voted sexiest lady in a game on more than one occaision, but of course I really couldn't comment on something as sad as that. *Cough*.

If you don't know the plot, basically, some aliens called the Morolians have invaded Earth and are forcing humans to dance. Why? You'll have to play the game to find out. The script is rather daft and cheesy, but certainly fits in with the style of the game. Ulala says such things as "I feeling kinda... funky!" before a boss battle, and rather worryingly even says something along the lines of "No, not there! Ooooh!" when she gets touched up by a plant in part 2.

Both games only take a couple of hours to complete. Is this a major problem? Not for me it isn't. The music and the sense of fun that the game exudes keeps me coming back time and time again. I must have completed both games at least half a dozen times by now. What's more, they won't break the bank... or the first one won't at least. It can be found online for about £5.  Part 2 seems to be a bit more elusive, and therefore goes for around £25. Do you need both? Not really, as they're fundamentally the same. However, part 2 has a bit more musical variety, the game is a bit more technically accomplished and the levels are more elaborate, so it may just be worth the extra money.  I recommend trying the first one at least at the low price, then maybe shelling out for the second if you find you enjoy it as much as I did.

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