Gleylancer review - Sega Megadrive

Read Original Review PDF for Gleylancer

Gleylancer box artTo the average chap in the street, any lone pilot who pits himself against a full alien empire is seen as a being a bit funny in the head. However, the aliens of the universe seems to respect their true tommy grit, to the extent that no empire is complete unless it has at one time or another been ravaged by a one-man death machine. However, this poses something of a problem for the up and coming designer alien empire who might not actually want to invade our solar system, kill loads of people and then have terrible revenge wreaked upon them.

One race in such a bind lighted on a simple solution - kidnapping all of Earth's crack pilots, teleporting them into a section of space filled with heavily-armed gunships and blowing them up. This crafty plot probably would have succeeded too, but those xenomorphs went and forgot to kidnap the most dangerous pilot of all - twelve year old Lucia Cabrock. In her rage over her father's kidnap (crack piloting obviously runs in the family) and indignation over being overlooked as a threat simply because she's a pre-teenage schoolgirl, Lucia leaps into her top-secret CSH-01 Greylancer and sets off for revenge.

What the Mean Machines staff thought


" Greylancer treads the well-worn scroll, blast 'n' power-up boards with a few new ideas to show off. Its best point is its different firing modes, but what a shame to only allow the player to pick one mode at a time. Cycling through them mid-game would have added a whole new aspect to the otherwise dull proceedings. Another problem is that you spend more time dodging things than blasting, which quickly gets tedious. The games desperately needs more action. But what really killed it all off for me is that the game is very easy to complete. Shoot 'em up fans should breeze through this within a day. The graphics, sound and presentation are all okay, but really Greylancer falls flat in the playability department. If you're after a decent blaster there are loads of better ones than this - Thunderforce III and IV, Hellfire, Gynoug, Bio Hazard are just a few of the alternatives. "

" Calling Greylancer a shoot 'em up is a bit misleading, as it's more of an avoid 'em up than anything. The amount of time spent dodging debris and twisting through tunnels far out-weighs that spent shooting things. This is a real pity actually, because it can get thoroughly tedious. The variable weapons system, although cribbed from Hellfire, is quite entertaining. That said, the weapons are the most entertaining thing about Greylancer. The graphics aren't that bad, the presentation is fine, and the sound is okay if nothing great. There are a couple of problems with the playability. Firstly, a credit is a long time to wait to change your targeting program if you make the wrong decision. Perhaps calling up the menu when the game is paused would be a better idea. Secondly, the afterburner trail and sparkly tracks left by your ship often make it very hard to see just what's going on when the screen fills up. Many fatal bullets remain unseen thanks to the haze of the spangly effects, and even some aliens find themselves masked by this screen. However, seen-it-all-before blues are the real down point of Greylancer. Although spotting which games each idea/alien/level has been stolen from is quite fun for a while it doesn't excuse the almost absolute lack of original throught which went into this game. "


Overall Score48%

Retrospective comments


Oo-er. Gleylancer (or Greylancer, as the Mean Machines team have decided to called it - they were obviously aware of the Japanese habit of turning 'R' into 'L') is something of a cult classic today and tends to fetch a pretty penny thanks to its reputation for being a bit special. This review rather flies in the face of all that.

I have to admit that I do agree with the MM team on a number of points. The game is shamelessly derivative, copying elements from many other shooters. Not that this is a terrible crime - after all, most shooters copy from others - but in the case of Gleylancer, everything it does it done better elsewhere. Graphically, it's impressive - but again, there are better examples on the machine. The in-game graphics simply can't compete with those seen in Thunderforce IV or Gynoug, but the anime cutscenes are gorgeous and wouldn't look out of place in a Mega CD game. The music is good though (a common thing with Masaya's games) and the speech is a nice touch.

However at the end of the day the game is simply too average. I know a lot of fanboys are going to disagree, but I feel the fact that the game didn't get a Western release, coupled with the rarity of the Japanese version has inflated the perception of the title. It's an average shooter on a machine that is packed with quality examples of the genre and with a market value of well over £50, I can't recommend it.

Jaz's Sheep - 22 Dec 2010, 10:02 GMT

Just goes to show what an animie-esq style can do for a game's rep + value

rich - 10 Apr 2012, 15:19 GMT

This is clearly one of the best shmups on the Mega Drive, and it makes most of the other games they bring up look like generic crap to be honest. The music is great, the weapon system is very elegant, and precise, and the level layouts are intricate and memorable. Only area which falls down a bit are some of the bosses.

Also every single shmup review they did is way off base, they go on about "decent" games like Hellfire, and Gynoug as though they're the second coming of jesus, gave the mediocre Zero Wing over 90%, the absolutely horrific Xenon II 82% and then proceed to give all the actual classics respectable or low scores, or don't even review them at all!

PeriSoft - 15 May 2013, 03:07 GMT

You know, having seen the shoulder pads the characters sport in those screenshots, I'd worry that a crowded hallway would quickly turn into a killing field. Seems like a bad idea for space-faring types...

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