This just in! Space Channel 5 is a rhythm game with the funky aesthetic of Toe Jam and Earl and a more "real-time" incarnation of PaRappa's head-bobbing gameplay.
The game's silly plot revolves around some goofy rubbish about aliens invading Earth and forcing its inhabitants to ... dance! What a wonderfully funky twist! It is your job as a sexy space news reporter Ulala (working for Space Channel 5) to battle the aliens via rhythmic dance sequences. The question is, is this groovy space adventure worth your time? Tune in to Defunct Games to find out!
The fundamental rhythm gameplay is fun and addictive. As I mentioned earlier, it has a more "real-time" feel to it than other games of the genre. Instead of a mere overly-elaborate game of Simon, you have to take the pattern's tempo, time and rhythm into account when tapping in your response. It works wonderfully. Unlike "PaRappa the Rapper" you never feel cheated, and the difficulty of the patterns ramp gradually.
Unfortunately, the game is short and somewhat repetitive; diminishing Space Channel 5's replay value and substance. But on the bright side, you're not going to be shelling out 50 bucks for it due to the Dreamcast's sad decline into our growing library of all that is defunct. With 10 dollars spent in the cheapy bin, you shouldn't be expecting an everlasting cornucopia of value, (we have modern 40 hour RPG's for that). You can expect, however, quality ... and Space Channel 5 delivers.
In combination with the addictive gameplay, Space Channel 5 comes with outstanding production values (using a very interesting, at times astonishing "pre-rendered CG backgrounds blending in with polygons" strategy) and a slammin' space-funk soundtrack which, while never approaching the brilliant instrumental hip-hop tracks of Jet Set Radio, still provides some great listening and enough groove to get you head-bobbing.
Overall, Space Channel 5 is a unique, groovy way to spend a weekend. It's a bit short, a tad repetitious, and not quite in that same "musical masterpiece" league as PaRappa and Guitar Hero. What it is, however, is a fun and accessible little dance adventure that might convince your mom that not all video-games revolve around killing monsters/law enforcement. I'm Frank Blazejewski reporting for Defunct Games, back to you Chopper Dave and the Home Team.