Gleylancer is one of those early 90’s SHUMPs that we used to read about in the import sections of EGM or Game Fan. Amazing looking games that would never leave Japan, you could pay to import them if you wanted to spend double the price and knew of a way to play it. These were pre-internet and Amazon Japan days, having a game release only in Japan was pretty much the end of any realistic chance most gamers would have of ever playing them. The game currently sells for around $500 if you can find an original and not a cheap bootleg from China.
Thanks to the fine folks at Ratalaika Games this lost side-scrolling classic can now be played by anyone with an Xbox, PS or Switch and it is well worth the asking price. Not only have they made the game available outside of Japan (besides a Wii Virtual Console release few noticed) but they have provided western audiences with the first English translation of the game so we can finally understand the animated intro and cutscenes. Thats not all though, they also added a number of QOL features to the release including adjustable gameplay speed, the ability to rewind and more. Truly the definitive edition of this game and it will only cost you under a tenner instead of nearly five bills.
The game itself is challenging, fun and feels like peak Genesis era gameplay. As you fight your way through the horizontal scrolling battles, your ship quickly adds up to two satellite ships allowing you to not only add to your fire power but also allows them to shoot in multipole directions. This is not a bullet hell game, the screen will not fill with bellets leaving you a small space to maneuver but rather avoiding shots and other ships will be the key. It sounds easy but make no mistake, this is classic 90’s gameplay and it is challenging. The first level will see your ship rocketing through an asteroid field and ships and bullet fly by your ship, how kids back then made it through the game without the rewind feature is beyond me. This is a game that will challenge your reflexes and will make you work for every level you beat. Mad props to anyone who does not use the rewind feature and can beat this one their own, you are certainly better than me.
Gleylancer is the type of game I love to see on the modern consoles, a high priced video game rarity that most of us would never be able to play now widely available. Ratalaika Games could have released a vanilla port but they went the extra steps to insure that the game was translated and had extra features added to it. You may not like 90;s shooter but this kind of video game preservation shows that Ratalaika is truly doing (the video game) Gods work. Check it out if you want to see what drove Japanese Mega Drive gamers mad nearly 30 years ago without resorting to old magazines.
Ratalaika Games – $6.99
Xbox / PS / Switch