Gley Lancer might just look like any ordinary side-scrolling shooter and, in a way, it is. You move left to right and shoot bad guys until you get to the boss and shoot him to pieces. Yet, slowly, but surely, its awesomeness starts creeping onto you. Let me take you on the trip I had when I started playing this back in 1999.
|First level and you get stuff thrown at you.|
Gley Lancer features spoken text and its first line is "Stick to it and believe in your power." That first line sets the tone for the rest of the game. I played this in 1999 and spoken language was so common that its presence did not impress me. Yet, I was blown away by Gley Lancer's first level. The brilliance of Gley Lancer is not in its technical abilities, but its usage of its aesthetics. The designers of Gley Lancer knew that the human mind can not block the brilliance of certain sights and that's why the first level has you flying through the ring of Saturn.
At first it looks like you are flying through an asteroid field, but then Saturn comes in from the right. It's a very simple level to learn you the basics of the game. Enemies come in gently, becoming more and more during the level and around the middle, you get asteroids thrown at you. Saturn fades away to the left and you arrive at the boss, which appears to be literally throwing the asteroids you encountered mid-level. It's a nice pay-off for a gentle beginning. The game is full off satisfying build-ups and pay-offs and the first level is just the beginning of a fantastic adventure.
|LIGHTSABERS! (insert SPACESHIP! reference)|
And its awesomeness doesn't stop there. The game does its best to make you feel like a true hero. In the second to last level you have to save a ship from an alien attack. The boss of that level is shooting at a starship and you have to kill the boss before the ship is demolished. I have never seen the ship explode, but it can lose a lot of parts. It has 2 engines, a couple of middle parts and an escape pod, all of which fall off as you take longer to shoot down the boss. At my first play-through I (supposedly) saved the ship just barely, leaving just the escape pod. And when you do save the ship, a fleet of space-jet-fighters come in and congratulate you on your accomplishment. The best part? The higher you set the difficulty, the bigger the fleet.
Not for the faint of heart.
|Kill it! KILL IT!|
If its difficulty is a strong or a weak point is up for debate. Gley Lancer is easy in the beginning, but gets HARD around the third level and that might be off-putting. You will run out of lives FAST. On the other hand, some like it hard and 13 year old me didn't care, we had save-states in emulators in 1999. If you ever finish the hardest difficulty, you get a code at the end of the credits to unlock mania difficulty. At the fighter-fleet level, there will be so many fighters congratulating you, you can't see yourself or the ship you were supposed to save.
Have you played it yet?
So, have you played this game yet? Yes, it has some flaws, but it's one of the best I've played. I haven't even mentioned the music, which is awesome. It is still available for sale and if not to you, an emulator is never far away. Even if great gameplay doesn't convince you, let me just remind you: IT HAS LIGHTSABERS!