Written by  :  Guy Chapman (2001)
Written on  :  Dec 15, 2006
Platform  :  Genesis
Rating  :  4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars

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A Great Game To Begin A System With.

The Good

Space Harrier was all about action and shooting. There's nothing more or less to it. The game sends the Harrier flying into action, and provides smooth scrolling backgrounds, catchy music and multiple targets to hit. For a shooter enthusiast, that's generally enough to work with.

The game provides sharp graphics, smooth animation and fast gameplay. For one of the first Genesis titles inspired (but not directly ported from a previous title) by an arcade classic, this game made the feeling of bringing the arcade home shine like never before at the time. The bosses presented in the game also had a more otherworldly feel from the first game. Very imaginative and darkly surreal.

A nice amount of challenge and plenty of diversity to sort through for a very straightforward ride.

The Bad

The game offers little in the way of advancement over the original title. Even with the levels that provide a ceiling overhead for a more 3D effect, this ground has been tread before. I do admit to missing the original game's gun-toting robots and one-eyed mammoths.

The music is still quite good, but does not have the catchy familiarity of the original game's tune. And there's something missing about the appeal of replacing the first game's dragon with a jet sled for the sequel. With a sequel, one would expect a better and more imaginative bonus level vehicle.

Space Harrier II is also a short ride. Once you learn all the nuances of Space Harrier II, prepare to blow through it fairly quickly, however fun it is.

The Bottom Line

The original Space Harrier was always one of my favorite shooters, perhaps my favorite shooter of all time. When the Genesis was announced and Space Harrier II was listed as one of the the first-run titles, that was enough for me. I wasn't disappointed with the sequel, and even then loved the excitement this game generated.

As it stands, Space Harrier II remains one of my fondest memories for the Genesis, and one of the few original games I would return to. My original copy disappeared over the years, and playing this on a PC emulator is just lacking. With the Wii set to re-release this classic, I will finally be reunited with an old friend of gaming gone by.

For one of the first games to showcase the potential of a new system, this did an excellent job of highlighting the difference between 8 and 16-bit games. Recommended.