Advanced Busterhawk Glaylancer was originally a “Shmup” that released on Sega Mega Drive but unfortunately never left Japan, a WiiWare release and a cheeky reprint later players were still left without, Ratalaika Games are having none of that and have decided we should all have “Shmup”.
Glaylancer as mentioned above is a Shmup, you control the BusterHawk ship equipped with “movers” which are turrets on your ship and fly through 11 stages of bullet dodging, hazard skipping and explosion causing action.
For the most part the game is your standard horizontal shoot ’em up, the main gimmick here lies within the “Movers”, you start the game and choose a formation for them be it split, tracing or surrounding you like a shield.
You also have the ability to cycle through your ship speed allowing you to zip through hazards or intricately dodge danger, this combined with the different shot types and adjustable movers makes up for the shortfall of having only 1 selectable ship.
Aside from the above the game is really nothing different from other Shmups of its time like Thunder Force or Darius, there is a quirky well drawn anime style story accompanying it but the main allure here is just how rare the game was.
What is on offer is a Shmup that is a product of its time but also a fine example of what made them so great, some fantastic sprite work is on offer and the set pieces throughout the stages are fantastic, while really unoriginal it manages to nail what made the genre great in spades.
My only issue with the game aside from the lack of originality in its art direction is the fact the stages can be that busy it’s tough to see bullets, a good example is the asteroid field in stage 1 which is fantastic but so difficult to see the small bullets flying especially on tougher difficulties.
What does this port bring to the table? Well first off a fully translated story for those of you who need the lore to help you score.
Secondly there are save states which allow you to practice tricky sections to your heart’s content and a “rewind” feature if you just want to rush through the stage to see it’s end rather than chasing the hi-score.
Quality of life options are here such as the option to change movers in game and adjust the speed up and down rather having to cycle up to go down and the option to use the movers like a twin stick shooter, finally you have several wallpapers to display which all look great and don’t detract from the core game visuals.
Finally you have several additional difficulty modes such as Manic for you who like it punishing and Cheater mode which allows you to effectively breeze through the game with invulnerability.
For the budget price it’s hard not to recommend Glaylancer to Shmup fans, it’s a hidden gem that on the surface may seem run of the mill but is really a fantastic representative of why the genre is so fun.
It isn’t one for score chaders as there are no in depth score mechanics or online leaderboard but aside from that and a few issues mentioned earlier it’s hard not to love Glaylancer.
A fantastic, cheap and cheerful re-release of a hidden gem from the Mega Drive days.
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