SEGA has been on a roll lately with their releases of past arcade titles on the Switch. What is unique about these rereleases however is that they come with a variety of different and new options never been done on original release or as a port. And with both TV and portability uses to be had, some might pick up a few if not all the titles available, as they enhance the game play in wonderful fashion. That’s why it is easy for me to say that this port of Space Harrier is the best version of the game.
For some who do not know, Space Harrier consists of Harrier: a young man who has fell into the Fantasy Zone and must save the land from all sorts of interesting creatures and beings. If that doesn’t sound like a semi-prequel to NiGHTS, the gameplay uses 3-d sprites scaling graphics to render space and environments as you control Harrier who he flies and shoots projectiles and enemies. It is a wonderfully flight-controlled game, as you traverse through 18 levels of interchanging areas. And while the levels do reuse enemies and landscaping pillars-to-dodge, it keeps at a constant learning place, to the point of mastery by the time to get to the last level. And that is why I enjoy this game so much: it doesn’t pull any punches but keeps everything at a fair medium. It gets insane at some points, but not impossible. And for an arcade game in 1985, what a beautiful and remarkable sight the game is. But the design and art style are what makes the game stand out, all thanks to the legendary Yu Suzuki, who made the final changing to what made this game look awesome. And of course, the music is a delight, I can hear the main theme in the upcoming days to come because it has happened before.
Now for everything why this is the best version of this port of the game. SEGA AGES offer a wide array of options and even some unlockable modes and assist tools to help with newcomers. First you can save and view your replays for your 8 past games and ones you mark as favorite. You can also use load and save states to record at any part in the game in any mode. You can look at the online manual and even run the staff credits just to see who worked on the game from 1985 to present day (M2 staff roll as well). Players can choose the original arcade mode, which they have three lives, three quarters (continues) and that’s it. But you can always turn on the stage select and restart from any level you choose and even continue the game to the end. You can set the games difficulty in any way you want, whether as someone who likes to start from the very beginning as a challenge or someone who is just starting out to enjoy the game in an easier manner.
The brand new KOMAINU Barrier Attack mode gives a new swing on the original gameplay and gives you a protective barrier to shield you from landscape hazards and enemies (not from enemy fire though!). You get unlimited continues with the mode and can be enjoyed as an easier mode of the game that is still a whole lot of fun, especially when ranking up points for a high score. And yes, there is a world ranking board as well. I haven’t explained the settings menu either that offers set difficulty, lives, extending the amount of points, and even a time trial mode. You can even unlock the final boss HAYA-OH and toggle it to show up in the final level or not. On top of changing any kind of controls (from button mapping, invert, etc.), using any kind of display features (wide or full-screen, wallpapers, etc.), and having any kind of sound effected needed (basic sound levels, selecting background music, etc.).
It is understandable that $7.99 might scare off some or others might consider this to be a lot for an arcade port to be re-released for the 20th something time. However, don’t let that fool you from all the wonderful options this version gives you while keeping the same love and the purest version of Space Harrier even made. M2 really has a knack for reviving old classics (everything running perfect and smooth) with even better results, and they certainly didn’t skip out on it.
- Original, if not better version of game
- New KOMAINU mode is a fresh taste to an old recipe
- Variety of settings to change the way you want to play the game
- Price is a little high