The Sega Mega Drive was renowned for its fast-paced shooter titles. Fans of this console were spoilt for choice, and in 1992, Gleylancer was released. It received mixed reviews but was enjoyed for its classic gameplay and difficulty. Roll on nearly thirty years, and Gleylancer has returned to our consoles. With a few tweaks to its settings and in-game options, it’s a faithful recreation of the original affair.
Developed by Masaya and published by Ratalaika Games, this is a no messin side-scrolling shooter. The world of remakes, remasters, and a lack of originality has taken over, so one more classic title to the pile won’t hurt anyone!
Gleylancer comprises old-school Anime cutscenes and a modern polish.
I’m old enough to remember this the first time around, and it was far too difficult for me. So, when I was offered the chance to defeat it as a veteran gamer, I wasn’t going to turn down my chance of revenge. The newest version has retained most of the style, audio, and Anime cutscenes. But, there are improved modes available with accessible features and a focus on modern control systems.
In short, it retains that old-school charm, while not acting or handling like a tired dog! Its modern take on the controls should have made it much easier to play. However, it’s still as challenging as ever, and every spaceship is out to destroy you.
The story revolves around a war between humans and aliens in the year 2025. You are Lucia, a young pilot whose father is the commander of the space fleet. The aliens transport his ship to an unknown area of space and Lucia is understandably heartbroken. Determined to save her father, she steals the latest prototype fighter jet and sets off into space. It’s all very dramatic and clichéd, but I loved its OTT action.
Simple mechanics and hectic battles.
What makes Gleylancer so moreish and easy to pick up is its simple mechanics and accessible settings. The action focuses on Lucia piloting the spaceship and the two additional weapons she collects. You control the movement of the vessel and the direction of the cannons. Throughout each of the stages, you collect power-ups that change the effectiveness of your guns and alter the difficulty. You start each playthrough with a set amount of lives and if you lose them all, then it’s game over.
You are free to select the position of your additional weapons, the methods in which they move, and if you manually fire your guns. I loved these choices as they allowed you to familiarise yourself with each stage before increasing the difficulty.
You’ll journey across the depths of space and the game comprises 10 unique stages. At the end of each level, you must take down a ridiculously large boss that is usually overpowered and stupidly tough. Alongside this nightmare, you must prepare for an array of enemies, space debris and attacks from all angles. It’s horribly hectic, requires you to stay alert, and will test the best players.
Sounds unfairly difficult, right?
You may be reading this and thinking, “that sounds unfairly difficult!” At times, I winced, screamed out loud, and vowed never to play again. But this is the beauty of old-school shooters. The insane difficulty makes it annoyingly rewarding and you won’t put it down until you are victorious.
To help level out the playing field a little, Masaya implemented three difficulty settings and the ability to slow down or increase the game’s speed. These are classic arcade-style mechanics and they work wonders to help players that are struggling. However, no matter the level of help given, the only way you’ll succeed is if you cheat or practise.
Gleylancer has smooth gameplay, but it’s tough to identify enemies.
The port to the modern console can be challenging, yet, Gleylancer is a success. Its smooth gameplay and modern polish make it enjoyable to play while keeping the old-school charm. The 16-bit imagery will fill retro gamers with nostalgia, and I loved its presentation. Though, sadly, I didn’t like the use of a limited colour palette. Every obstacle, enemy, and item of the scenery looked similar. This made identifying anything at speed almost impossible and, subsequently, it made it much harder.
The graphics weren’t the only thing that tweaked at my heartstrings. No, the synth-wave audio transported me back to my misspent youth. I loved the aggressive soundtrack, the overbearing sound effects, and the simple noises. The shrill sounds and robotic narrative were incredible to listen to, and it was worth playing just for the audio.
The controls are a vast improvement.
Gleylancer was unable to make too many changes without ruining the original gameplay. However, fortunately, the controls were one area that has been improved. The much smoother and well-rounded aiming ensures you have a better chance of survival. They are also much more responsive and you can now change them on the fly. This helps as the enemies evolve and the bosses become more challenging.
Shooting games are always addictive, and Gleylancer is hard to put down. No matter how tough the action was, I still returned to shoot more enemies! The high score and leaderboards increase the competitive edge and the small but difficult achievement list won’t be easy to complete.
Gleylancer proves that older games still cut it in the modern era.
Some titles are best forgotten, I’m looking at you E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial! Yet, Gleylancer isn’t one of those games. With the community screaming for it to be released, I’m sure this will be gladly received by all who play it. I loved it and recommend you to buy it here! Can you defeat every level and each boss to save your father? Jump in the prototype ship and shoot anything that opposes you.