Guilty Party – Retro Redress

Crime – Never playing Galaxy Force II

Redress – Spend an hour playing Galaxy Force II.

I’ve owned various Sega systems and compilations over the years and they all have one thing in common – I don’t play Galaxy Force on them. I’ve owned Galaxy Force II a few times, but I’ve never played it for more than five minutes.

Well, you know what that means? Like Columns and Space Harrier II, we need to dedicate an hour to Galaxy Force II. Let;s do this…

Title screen

So, to the unfamiliar, I’d better explain what Galaxy Force II is. It’s a sequel (honestly) to the 1988 arcade and Master System space rail shooter. Galaxy Force is in the mould of Space Harrier and Afterburner, a game that had a big arcade cabinet, flashy graphics…and some average home conversions. Well…maybe that’s unfair to assume in Galaxy Force II’s case, but I can’t imagine that Master System port of the original is much good….

Anyway, let’s start the clock…

Scene select

The first part of the game is the scene select; much like Space Harrier II, Galaxy Force II lets you pick which of the five levels you want to start with. Once those five levels are complete, then you can advance to the final level. I do like being given the option of choosing a level in these style of arcade games – it’s easy to get stuck on the earlier levels of old games, so it’s cool that you can try different levels and see more of the game. I’m choosing this planet as it’s the one that looks most like Earth. It makes sense, as it’s the one I’m most familiar with, right?

1

So, 2:30 in and…I hate Galaxy Force II. I have a feeling it’s going to be a long hour. If you’ve read the Space Harrier II redress, you will have gathered I’m not keen on these ‘on rails arcade shooter’ games. I don’t really feel like I’m in control and there’s really nothing to do, other than move away from debris and try and shoot at things. Galaxy Force II is like, the worst things about these games in one game. Graphics that looked great in the arcade, but poor on a Mega Drive? Check. Lots of random, sometimes unavoidable obstacles? Check. Enemies that you auto lock onto and shoot, with little strategy or skill? Check. Whimsical music that irritates? Actually, I’m probably just being grumpy now….

2

That thought is immediately crushed by this section. I remember it from the five minutes of Galaxy Force II I’d previously played. Soul crushing, blocky tunnels…yay. I also get a sampled shout of ‘Nice Turn!’ No idea how, I crashed straight into the big blocky green tunnel. I wish that guy had been my driving instructor when I was taking my test…actually no, scratch that, he would have had me doing maneuvers in big colourful tunnels. Probably shouting “Well Done!” at me as I drove the car into the big blocky green wall. As I get saddled with another tunnel section, I realise that the sample is actually “Right Turn!” Not in time to stop myself crashing into a wall for the tenth time and dying, but at least he’s trying to help me, I suppose. Mind you, who is he? Co-Pilot? Well-wisher? If he really wanted to help, he would be shouting “Stop playing Galaxy Force II!” instead…

3

Yeah…that’s a game over screen…not sure where that came from though. I was lining up a nice picture of the enemy control center the game was telling me to destroy. Surely, I didn’t run out of fuel though? I mean, where would I get more fuel from? Galaxy Force II hasn’t really explained that aspect of the game. I don’t really feel like there is much game here to be honest, the two different levels I’ve played so far involve shooting locked on enemies like fish in a barrel and crashing lots in block tunnels. Let’s try another level, there’s one that looks like Mars that could be good…clock restarted at 10:05

4

Er,,,no. The level that looks like Mars is not good. By now, Galaxy Force II is reminding me of a beta of Space Harrier II…I can’t say I really enjoyed Space Harrier II, but I did respect that it offered a challenge. Galaxy Force II feels like they’ve taken the obstacles away from Super Thunderblade…no buildings, towers etc. I’m just flying around picking off the enemies who wander across my path.

5.JPG

After a few ‘Penerate the enemy headquaters’ sections, where you fly through a block tunnel shooting at gun turrets, you get to destroy the enemy control center. Yes…that’s it above. Not terribly impressive is it? Worst still, it takes like, two shots to destroy it. That’s Level 1 done and dusted. I’m plonked back on the Earth like level at 14:30, wondering if I’ve hit a groove or if the game is really this easy? I reckon it’s the later. Unfortunately, one of the issues with lying on a couch, typing and playing Galaxy Force is you become prone to cramp. My hands go numb as I play and I end up dying on the first blocky tunnel section at 17:06. So, Level 2 is as far I’ve gone first and I get the feeling I could go all the way here…..I’m not sure I want to, but I think I could. I try again, but at 20:23, I’m defeated, foiled by my own boredom.

With chronic tiredness and cramp kicking in, I make a bold decision. I can’t take anymore Galaxy Force II and it’s now past my bedtime. Even my laptop is trying to go to sleep…

Verdict – Well I nay have failed this redress, but as they always say…. ‘winning isn’t everything.” In this case, that’s completely true. Galaxy Force II is a simple, dated old game that feels redundant if you’ve played the older but better Space Harrier game, I advise you avoid this version of Galaxy Force and maybe seek out the M2 remaster on the 3DS, should you wish to play Galaxy Zone…