There are some games that I distinctly remember playing years ago, and other titles I am only reminded of when I happen to see them. With all the remasters and re-releases, this is happening more and more. I remember the game R*Type and it introduced me to the shump genre. But it wasn’t until I saw that Ratalaika was releasing a remastered version of Gley Lancer, that the memories of this Masaya created game on Sega Genesis came flooding back.
You play as a plucky pilot that steals a prototype space fighter to find and rescue her father. You will battle through eleven unique stages, using multiple weapon systems to reach your destination. From the start of your journey, you will have to steel your nerves to battle against alien forces and the environment itself. While the game is a side scrolling shooter, you will have to traverse vertical levels, and watch your back for enemies sneaking up behind you.
Beside your main ship, you can also pick up drones that will join the fray in your name. The interesting thing is that you can set your drones to fire in multiple ways. They can aim forward, backwards, or spin and acquire targets on their own. Since this is a prototype, you can’t count on them hitting every target, every time. There are also different guns that can be picked up, so you can customize your fire power to your liking.
This is not your simple, easy shump. The game does offer several difficulty settings, but even on easy, this title offers a challenge. They have included a few options that you can fiddle around with to make the game easier, but it will take away from the wonderfully stressful experience of conquering all the levels. I struggled my way through easy level and finally found my groove on the harder settings once I learned what each level had in store for me.
The graphics in the game have been upgraded so you would never think that the title was created in the early 1990’s. If you are a purist and want to play the game as it was originally released, they have included the original graphics. It is really interesting to see how the graphics were updated in the almost 30 years since original release. Playing story mode will give you access to some cool anime scenes in between the levels. The cut scenes bring me back to the days of Robotech : The Macross Saga.
Gley Lancer is available now on Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo Switch, and PC. With a price tag of around $7, there is more than enough bang for your buck. You will get hours of enjoyment, and some frustration from this game. No matter if you are a long-time fan of the genre, or looking for a game to expand your horizons, this is the title for you. Even though it is a retro game, it feels like it was just created.