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Space Channel 5
SpaceChannel5boxart00123
European box art for "Space Channel 5", Dreamcast version

Developer

United Game Artists

Publisher(s)

Sega, Agetec

Released

Dreamcast
JP December 16, 1999

NA June 6, 2000

EU October 8, 2000
Playstation 2
EU March 15, 2002

JP December 12, 2002

NA November 18, 2003

Genre

Rhythm

Mode(s)

Single player, Multiplayer

Ratings

CERO: A
ELSPA: 3+
ESRB: T
OFLC: PG

Platform(s)

Dreamcast, Playstation 2

Media

DVD

Space Channel 5 is a rhythm-based video game created by United Game Artists, and released on the Dreamcast in 1999. The game follows Space Channel 5's last hope, Ulala, as she struts onto the scene to keep the station on the air. She copies the dance moves of her opponents set to the rhythm of the music, all the while uncovering the reason behind the invasion of the aliens known as the Morolians during her report show.

The game was given a budget DriKore release in Japan on December 21, 2000 in simpler packaging. In 2002, Space Channel 5 was ported to the PlayStation 2. While it was released alone in both countries, the game was released in North America in 2003 as part of a sole package called Space Channel 5 Special Edition which included the sequel, Space Channel 5: Part 2.

For those who ordered Space Channel 5 directly from Sega or certain retailers, they received "Space Channel 5 Planet Dance [The Worlds Greatest Club Hits] Sampler", a CD that, aside from having Ulala and and the title of the game on the cover, had nothing to do with Space Channel 5. [1]

PlotEdit

Set 500 years in the future where space travel is now the norm, it’s apparently still difficult to maintain ratings for a television station. Channel 5, after years of broadcasting, has plummeted in the ratings, and if something isn’t done soon it will be permanently canceled. Enter Ulala, station director Fuse’s last hope of reviving the nearly dead Channel 5. He sends her out as the final resort to report on the invasion of an alien race called the Morolians.

Report 1: Introducing...Ulala!Edit

Ulala arrives on scene at Spaceport 9, the first area the Morolians invade, where chaos has broken out. She struts and dances her way through the main lobby, then the Flight Control Tower where the Space Rescue Police's mission to save the workers of the spaceport has gone awry. Things seem to be going well until the rival reporter of Channel 42, Pudding, strides in front of Channel 5's camera. She and Ulala quickly have a dance-off to see who is better. Ulala proves to be a formidable opponent, making Pudding and her Henchmen to retreat. With that taken care if, Ulala and the people she rescued head off for the Launch Pad. There, the hypnotized robot Coco Tapioca confronts them in a dancing duel. It isn't long before the mecha is defeated and Ulala's report show wraps up successfully.

Report 2: Spaceship S.O.S.!Edit

Onboard the Luxury Spacecraft G is where Ulala finds herself next doing her Swingin' Report Show. She heads from the cockpit to the dining hall with the crew of the vessel right behind her. It's after she saves the Space Diva that a shadow looms over her and her posse. It's the Rogueship-A-Go-Go and the Space Pirates! Some technical difficulties are brought to the broadcast of the report show, and when the static clears the camera focuses on the infamous Space Pirate Jaguar. He challanges Ulala to a dance-off, though the pink-haired woman proves she can get down. She perks Jaguar's interest before he zooms away with his jetpack. Ulala has no choice but to continue onto the Observation Platform. As Jaguar and the other Space Pirate Broadcasters get away, following after the mothership of the Morolian fleet, Ulala and the rescued victims of awful dancing fce off against Morolina, yet another dancing robot. She uses space children and Morolians alike as shields before using her tongue to attack. Even against such dishonorable tactics, Ulala prevails, shooting up the ratings for Channel 5 even more as she and her posse march away.

Report 3: Catch the Scoop!Edit

Somehow it happened, but no one questions it: the secret base of the Morolians has been discovered within the Asteroid Belt. Ulala rides the Astrobeat Jr. as she races reporters from other channels to get the scoop. Pudding, her bodyguards, Shinichiro Tachibana, and 88MAN are among those whom Ulala shoots at in order to clear the way to the secret base. Jaguar shows up, his ship blasting a large asteroid in front of Ulala soon after he confronts ulala with her space Pirates. He's able to hold her off long enough, incidentally, for Pudding to make it inside of a humongous, modified asteroid. Although, her luck quickly changes as she's hypnotized by the Morolians and in need of saving.

Freeing the former teen idol, Ulala delves deeper into the far-out twists and turns of the base until she reaches the Head Office. A wide-screen television (like as new television example: LCD television) is setup there, with the strongest dancebot of them all lurking within, and it goes by the name of Morolian Monroe. It attacks safely from inside the monitor, but soon emerges from it, revealing that it’s a two-in-one robot. Morolian Monroe changes tactics quickly, forcing Ulala to trace the trail it leaves from one side of the bot to the other. Although when it splits up into two robots, one green and one pink, Ulala hops off the Astrobeat Jr., the battle becoming even harder. The bots gang up on Ulala, making it impossible to get a single shot in.

Both Ulala and Fuse are startled when Jaguar finally catches up with them. Instead of taunting or challenging Ulala, however, he extends his help to the Channel 5 reporter and together they are able to defeat Morolian Monroe. Victory doesn't last long as strange images begin appearing on the giant TV. Morolians crowd around Ulala, and she questions if the aliens were brainwashed too. Fuse tells her to "Shoot at the TV", and once she does the screen blows out. The Morolians immediately revert to normal, being free at last and Fuse come to the conclusion that someone has hypnitzed them to force the earlier hostages to dance.

The secret base shakes and everyone is forced to jet as the place begins to explode. As Ulala is riding out of the large tubing leading outside and pulling double duty in saving the burning Morolians, Jaguar comes over the comlink between Ulala and Fuse, saying: "I found where the brainwash signal's coming from. Looks like it's frequency is the same as Channel 5's." In an unbelievable turn of events, the Channel 5 team knows where to head to next: The Channel 5 studio.

Report 4: Evil in the Galaxy Revealed!Edit

Ulala, Pudding, and Jaguar strut into Channel 5 Headquarters to find the source of the mastermind at work behind the invasion. It turns out to be none other than Channel 5 CEO Chief Blank. He runs - more like teleports - away from the trio and the chase continues. Space Michael is encountered in the connecting hallway and he's saved from the Morolians, joining Ulala as she heads for the Control Room. Inside of the elevator there, Mr. Blank is seen sitting on a chair. Taunting the pink-haired reporter, he zooms up to the roof while Ulala is left with a mass of Morolians to take care of. Saving Hoorg, the Morolian Leader, completes the group following Ulala up to the final confrontation.

Emerging from the elevator, Ulala and her companions learn a surprising fact about Chief Blank. He doesn't care about truth. In fact, he wants every reporter to share his vision. The "Ultimate Reporter" Evila is sent to outdance Ulala, but the robot fails against the groovy moves of the spunky reporter. The puppet is taken care of, it seems that Ulala has won. At least until the roof of the dome opens up and Fuse yelps for help. A humongous robot, Giant Evila, has taken the broadcasting ship and the director inside hostage, leaving it up to Ulala aboard the Astrobeat Jr. along with Jaguar and Pudding on their own crafts to dance-off against the new threat. Ulala must move in the opposite direction of what she hears to keep Fuse safe.

Giant Evila gets bold, knocking away both Pudding and Jaguar before the sound system fails and Ulala loses her rhythm. Ulala is knocked away, let to float in space. An A Capella beat picks up and Jaguar reaches out to grab Ulala, twirling her slightly back onto the Astrobeat Junior. Ulala now has a chant support, giving her a rhythm to groove to. She retaliates and finally Giant Evila's head disconnects from the rest of it's body, hovering above everyone. It shifts to the image of Chief Blank, who reveals that ratings are everything to him. If television was all for ratings, then what was the problem with brainwashing the masses?

Chief Blank, now called Blank TV, activates the "Blank Dimension" sucking him and Ulala into a separate space to do battle, yet the chant support is still clearly heard. Through a somewhat confusing game of TV laser tag wherein Ulala must shoot the screens with the correct beam (either "shoot" or "rescue"), the strength of her support increases. People start singing along with Ulala even when Blank's screens act as feet and hands in a way one could only see to believe. The Blank Dimension shatters and Ulala is free. When the energy of the crowd is pumped up, Fuse says for everyone to focus all of their energy on the station's antenna. Ulala, Jaguar, Pudding, and some Morolians each get a line in as the energy builds, becoming tendrils of a brilliant blue against the dark, specled canvas of space. Those tendrils work their way up the antenna just as Blank says his last three commands: "Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!" Everyone shouts the same right back, fully charging the antenna and blasting Blank, claiming he'll be back, into deep space.

Ulala wraps up her final report and marches off with friends and former foes alike along a glittering trail left by Fuse's ship. They make their way to the end of the galaxy.

Although the report isn't truly over until the results screen pops up.

CharactersEdit

Space Channel 5's last minute reporter to help bring up the ratings. She carries with her trusty microphone and two guns. The Chu Beam is used for shooting aliens, robots and other attackers while the Rescue Beam is used to rescue hostages being forced to dance. When ratings are high, she emits a pink aura, signifying she is full of groove energy. In Space Channel 5 Fuse fully backs her up as Channel 5's last resort to stay on the air.

The broadcaster of Space Channel 5. He remains in the broadcasting ship all the time, and his face is never seen. He relays instructions to Ulala to help her through her missions, although he often gets fascinated by Ulala's moves. When Channel 5 is on the brink of being canceled for good, he supports Ulala when she winds up being the only reporter left who could possibly save the station.

Space Michael, based on Michael Jackson, appears as a cameo in Report 4. He later becomes a fully involved character in Part 2.

A reporter from Channel 42, who usually shows up early on in the games. With her bodyguards, groupies and her catchphrase "It's me, Pudding!" ("Pudding desu!" in the Japanese version), she challenges Ulala but usually finds herself beaten.

A reporter from a Pirate broadcasting station dedicated to giving viewers the truth. In the first game, he tends to act snubby against Ulala's affiliation with Space Channel 5. He was a former member of Space Channel 5, and was indeed the reporter who saved Ulala's life years ago, but he sensed corruption from the station's head chief, Blank. He does, however, rescue Ulala once again from Blank, and uses his back up group to get Ulala back in the groove.

Leader of the Morolians. He decides which plans should be used in the ongoing invasion of the earth people. Doesn't realize that the Morolians were brainwashed by Blank into attacking people and forcing them to dance. He is one of the last Morolians Ulala has to face before confronting Blank.

The head Chief of Space Channel 5 in the first game, Blank became corrupt and brainwashed the Morolians to stage an alien invasion, so that he would get many ratings. He despises reporters who 'spread truth like disease' and even creates a robot clone of Ulala called Evila to replace her. He is soon defeated using the dance energy of the crowd and sent flying into space.

Extra ModeEdit

Once the game has been completed and the credits roll, the player has the option of saving and playing through a more difficult version of the game, although it is most noticeable in Reports 1 and 2. The timings are stricter and the dance turns tend to be longer.

GameplayEdit

The game is basically a "listen and repeat" game; players are given a rhythm containing multiple gestures and must repeat them back exactly as heard. The dance commands merely use the existing movement buttons. The "up" button corresponds to the aliens raising both paws or Ulala raising both hands. For "down", Ulala lowers only her right hand. Her left hand contains a microphone. When either the "left" or "right" button is pressed, she only moves her hand in the respective direction. No other input is needed for her to dance.

The "A" or "X" button is used for shooting at the Morolians or simply another dance move. The "B" or "O" button is used for rescuing hostages (In report 2, however, in the first phase of the boss, the "B" or "O" button is not used for shooting directly at the hostages.There also appears to be mispronunciation of "shoot" when the player presses either the "A" or "B" button. In the manual, it says "shoot", but the Morolians say words that are quite similar to "kiss" or "chin". Ulala, Pudding, Jaguar and Evila say "chu', while Fuse says "shoot" or "chu".

In between these scenes, Ulala appears to be taunting the opponent, or in a slump, dancing badly, depending on how many moves the player got or missed respectively. The performance also extends to the music. If Ulala misses a certain number of moves the music changes to an off tone one and if she has a better performance, certain extras will be played (for example: a guitar solo in the first level). Ulala is given a certain number of hearts in case she misses a move or makes an incorrect move. If she does so, she will lose a heart. If she loses all the given number of hearts, she will then hunch over and become upset, with Fuse shouting at her. In a boss fight, losing all of the hearts results in a game over. The same goes for if Ulala doesn't meet the expected percentage or ratings in a report.

MusicEdit

Main article: Space Channel 5 Original Soundtrack

Version DifferencesEdit

Playstation 2 versionsEdit

As far as gameplay and visuals go, there aren't any recognizable changes in the Playstation 2 port of Space Channel 5. However, in Space Channel 5 Special Edition, some things have been altered from the original version. This section also details the differences between Part 1 and Part 2.[2]

Space Channel 5SE vs Space Channel 5Edit

  • A lot of new voice samples are said by Fuse and don't repeat as often in the first 3 reports
  • Ulala says "Augh! Get your clutches offa me!" when Morolian Morolina grabs her with his tongue (a new phrase)
  • The students in that boss battle glow rather than just have hypnotized rings above their heads
  • Fuse specifcally says "X button beam" rather than "A button beam" for obvious reasons.
  • There are a few timing flickers when battling Jaguar in Report 3
  • There are a few graphic delays when battling Fuse right after the Blank Dimension battle
  • Evila now says "I am the Ultimate Reporter, Evila!" by herself instead of with her troupe
  • The "New Evila" voice was NOT used in this version (not in the original)
  • The News Flashes are in a different font, and lower case
  • Ulala's "Hey there Space Cats!" is delayed by a few seconds
  • "Ulala's Swingin' Report Show!" is now said by Ulala's Japanese voice.
  • The Title Screen now reads "Space Channel 5 Special Edition" and also says "Reprogrammed by UGA"
  • The save screen is more fluid and not just a list of files like the DC version
  • The Agetec logo appears upon startup and in the credits

Space Channel 5 Part 1SE vs Space Channel 5: Part 2SEEdit

  • Ulala's voice is done by Apollo Smile in BOTH games
  • Fuse's voice is different in SC5p2
  • Pudding's voice is different in SC5p2. Also in Padding (2nd world (extra mode) and SC5p2 only)
  • "Hey!" has been added
  • Normal Dance Mode also limits how many times you can mess up.
  • The Hearts indicating how many messups you can make from SC5 have been modified to be placed at the bottom of the screen. For each 5 messups you have a single heart with a 5 on it.
  • In SC5, the graphic that switches between Ulala and the person you are dancing against quickly enlarged, switched to the other graphic and made a "ZAP" sound. In SC5p2 the graphics are more varied and also enlarge with the "ZAP". The difference is that a charge goes through the hearts from the graphic when it becomes Ulala's turn, and it goes in the opposite direction when switching to the other character.
  • Moves have been extended. This means that instead of just plain "shoot," you can also be required to hold "X" button, "A" button or to get a "chuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu". This also applys to "Hey"s and any direction.
  • Dance sequences that have lots of music of but only a few moves are much more prevelant.
  • When battling a boss, your rating percent dissapears and is converted to an amount of yellow stars. Afterwards, the hearts dissolve into a spark, fly back to where the percent reappears and adds itself to the percentage.
  • In normal dance mode hearts are pink. Boss battle mode uses yellow STARS. In SC5, all hearts were pink and were used for boss battles.
  • The loading screen reads "Now Loading" as opposed to "Now Moloading." There are also a set of robot pictures that appear and dissapear in white circles as the game loads.
  • In order to ensure improved graphics, levels will stop mid way through a report and load the next part. 
  • Ulala and her dance troupe will stomp/tap dance as well as dance to the rhythm during boss fight breaks. Ulala simply danced in SC5.
  • Mexican Flyer (the SC5 theme song) is remixed several times in SC5p2.
  • Rating percentages no loner determine if you progress to the next level. You only have to not run out of hearts.
  • The player sometimes required to push two or more directions before shooting. Ulala's shot will go in those directions.

Space Channel 5: Ulala's Cosmic AttackEdit

SC5UlalaSCAGBAboxart00123

Space Channel 5: Ulala's Cosmic Attack was released for the Game Boy Advance in 2003 by THQ as part of an agreement that gave THQ the exclusive rights to make Game Boy Advance games based on Sega franchises. It is a remake of the original Space Channel 5.

DevelopmentEdit

In discussing the study of target demographics, Mizuguchi related the story of designing Space Channel 5, which was at first a vague assignment from Sega that asked only that Mizuguchi design a game with a broad enough appeal to draw in even casual female gamers. "This was the first I'd heard of casual female gamers", he said, "so I didn't really know what to do. I personally interviewed a lot of young girls, trying to find out what they like." Women, he says, tend to enjoy puzzle games, while male gamers "want to be on top, they want to accomplish something and be the champion." It's difficult, he insists, to create a game that appeals to both males and females on an equal level.[3]

Mizuguchi has also stated that Space Channel 5 was inspired by the dance troupe Stomp . He highly enjoyed the performance, and began thinking why musicals were so much fun, but more importantly "How can we get this feeling into an interactive process?". It was then that Space Channel 5 was born.

Michael Jackson makes a cameo appearance as Space Michael in Space Channel 5,[4] near the end of the game.

The May 2007 issue of EGM contains a quote from series creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi concerning what it was like to work with Michael:

"We were in the middle of production of Space Channel 5, in 1998 or 1999. I got a call from the U.S. from my partner - the executive producer of Space Channel 5 - and he said, 'Oh, Michael wants to act in Space Channel 5.' I said, 'Who's Michael?' 'Who is Michael Jackson?' he said, 'The Michael Jackson - the real Michael Jackson'
My partner had shown him the 60-to-70 percent complete version, when it was almost at the end of the game. We had one month to finalize. But Michael wanted to do something, so we suggested that if he was OK with it, we could program the people in the game to do the Michael Jackson dance when taken over by aliens. he said 'yeah.' We initially had five aliens who danced. One of them became Michael Jackson."

He had a more prominent role in Space Channel 5 Part 2 where he became the new head of Space Channel 5. Whilst Ulala is distracted by a fake scoop, the headquarters are attacked and Space Michael is kidnapped by Purge and the Rhythm Rogues and has to be rescued by Ulala in a level featuring several of Michael's trademark dance moves. He then joins Ulala in facing up against Purge.

In both versions of the game, Michael speaks in English, which is subtitled into Japanese in the Japanese version.

LawsuitEdit

In early 2003, Lady Miss Kier, formerly of the band Deee-Lite, initiated a lawsuit against Sega corporation for allegedly stealing her former persona and using it as the basis of a video game character. The lawsuit was based on accusations of copying her look of knee-high boots, short skirts and a pink ponytail, for Sega's Ulala character design.[5]

Lady Miss Kier (real name is Kierin Kirby) claimed that Sega offered to pay her $16,000 to license her name, image and songs for the game, though she rejected their offer. Kirby later learned that the videogame maker went ahead and used her resemblance anyway, and she decided to initiate the lawsuit. She ultimately lost the suit and a later appeal and was liable to pay Sega's legal fees of $608,000 (reduced from $763,000 requested).[6]

Ulala Floats1

An example of Ulala appearing to be "floating" above other characters.

TriviaEdit

  • In Space Channel 5, all backgrounds were pre-recorded .mov files. This could have been noticed during the first report, when Ulala was told by Fuse to go to the Flight Control Tower; as Ulala struts, the camera angle makes a weird appearance that looks as if she's floating while strutting! In the second game, however, all backgrounds
    Ulala Floats2

    Here, the background movie file did not change camera position the same time the models changed their positions, thus creating this weird image that half of the crowd is floating in mid-space. This happens all throughout the game, especially at the end of the second report.

    people who walked behind main characters, objects, etc., were all objects put onto the same graph Ulala, Pudding, Space Michael, etc., appeared on. Only cutscenes were pre-recorded .mov files. [citation needed]
    • Certain parts in the first game, however, when Ulala would, for example, enter through a door, or in the last report, after Evila was defeated when she jumps on her spacecraft, or whenever she appeared in a cutscene, Ulala was previously recorded with the actual background so there would be more shadows and no glitches. [citation needed]

Appearances in other gamesEdit

Ulala, along with other Space Channel 5 elements, have appeared in several other video games:

Ulala has also made a cameo in the 2001 film Josie and the Pussycats, where she is popular in the merchandising in a store that Wyatt visits to try out a demo CD.

ReferencesEdit

  1. IGN's Soundtrack Review: The Space Channel 5 Planet Dance Sampler
  2. Parra, Tugs. Space Channel Special Edition FAQ v1.1
  3. Clifaldi, Frank (2005-05-20). "E3 Report: The Path to Creating AAA Games" Retrieved 2007-05-26.
  4. Michael Donahue, "Forced Guests: Cameos that make us scream 'Yessss!'" in Electronic Gaming Monthly 226 (March 2008): 34.
  5. Kier VS Sega. ladykier.com. Retrieved 2006-12-11.
  6. "Lady Miss Kier" Hammered With Opponent's Attorney's Fees". legalreader.com. Retrieved 2006-12-11.
  7. Chris Greenhough, "GC 2008: Left! Right! Chu! Chu! Ulala in Samba," Wiifanboy (Aug 20th 2008).

External linksEdit

GalleryEdit

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