From its July 1992 release, Masaya's Gleylancer didn't initially shine as a single player shoot-'em-up. It received a mixed reception, with Issue 2 of Mean Machines SEGA magazine describing it as unoriginal and tedious in a 48/100 scoring review. For years Gleylancer was more renowned for its reputation as an expensive collectible game, with even its recent reprint shooting up in price. It was thanks to a Virtual Console release that shmup fans became more appreciative of its solid gameplay.
Set in the year 2025, you control Ensign Lucia Cabrock as she pilots the Advanced Busterhawk Gleylancer to rescue her father from invaders attacking the peaceful Earth Federation. What some view as generic, others will see as an homage to classic horizontal shooter design, as blasting away pink scenery is reminiscent of Salamander. Similarly, there's a warship stage like in R-Type, and narrow passages harken back to Scramble – as the Mega Drive's Yamaha YM2612 blasts out catchy Stage 4 music to accompany your tunnel dodging.
With an upbeat soundtrack overall, quickening the movement speed of Lucia's CSH-01-XA prototype ship along with the frantic music keeps the gameplay feeling frenzied. It's especially gratifying that developer Shinyuden included a Modern gameplay mode where you use the right stick to aim power-ups — via the Gunner System invented by Doctor Gley – in a similar way to how we praised adding twin stick controls to Forgotten Worlds in Capcom Arcade Stadium.
Released in Japan in the same month as Thunder Force IV, when magazines felt fatigued with an overabundance of Mega Drive shmups, Gleylancer became hidden behind the likes of Gaiares, Gynoug, Hellfire, and Zero Wing as competition. Yet, it could attract attention today, since using the Rewind feature to complete 11 stages in less than an hour snags easy Platinum Trophies on both PS4 and PS5. Once precious trinkets have been grabbed it's most fun to practice each stage using save states to improve your skills, and see how far you can legitimately progress. Gleylancer deserves better than to become lost again, as just another Ratalaika Games easy Platinum release.
looks solid, not particularly my type of game but having watched some gameplay the sound effects take me right back, can definitely hear some alien storm sound effects in there, probably used across loads of games but alien storm is what comes to mind for me
Thanks for the review! I was surprised to see this released as a Ratalaika Game, but being a fan of the genre I jumped on it right away and have really enjoyed it. There are some nifty stages with fun obstacles to navigate and the modern control scheme is much easier to deal with than the original finicky secondary fire controls. The story is also more interesting than it has any right to be. All in all a great addition to anyone’s classic shootem up collection.
Got it for the Switch. Will get for the PS5. For the money it’s a lot of fun.
I’ve been in Shmup mood as of late. Playing a lot of Cotton. I might have to get this.
Reading this review i expected a 5 maybe 6 out of 10..an 8? For this when much better games have fared much worse..how does it run on the ps5/ps4? Is the music better as this virtually read as a review of the mega drive game and if there was no mention of trophys it could have been mistaken for a misty eyed trip down memory lane..must do better..👎
I'm going to be away in Blackpool until Wednesday, but I love chatting about retro games, so I'd really appreciate it if readers copy me in for any questions about Gleylancer on PS4 and PS5, or if you just want to chat about Mega Drive shoot-'em-ups in general.
There's lots to talk about with Shinyuden's version of Gleylancer, for example you may be interested in display choices, like the CRT shader style, plus options for scanline intensity and the curvature of the screen, or a pixel perfect display. The two wallpaper choices are basic, though.
The graphics are interesting too, with the Mega Drive's use of parallax scrolling, and I also wonder if Gleylancer's popularity would've been more widespread if it wasn't confined to being a Japanese import release in 1992. Then again, the way Gleylancer increased in value helped it to be talked about for years, even if not that many people in the West played it until the Virtual Console version.
That's why £4.99 is such a great price, which is for Gleylancer on PS4 and PS5 as separate versions together.
@Northern_munkey I'll take everything you've said into account, mate.
I originally prepared too many words for this review, where I discussed more of the specific features of the PS4 and PS5 versions, but it was too lengthy for a Mini Review, so I cut it down.
I think the score is justified, especially in regards to the quality of the original Mega Drive release, and the context of how Gleylancer compares to other retro games on PS4 and PS5 priced at £4.99.
I often consciously opt to cover the historical context of retro games on modern consoles, although admittedly the trip down memory lane perspective is something I enjoy discussing as someone who specifically focuses on reviewing original retro games, and retro modern releases.
I wish Gynoug would get a litttle re-release on PS5, I loved that game back when!
Thanks for the Review, always glad when Shmups get any Attention at all from the Press! Already bought and played through Gleylancer on PS5 and I had a great time. The final Boss was quite tough even with the rewind function lol
8? What drugs are you on? Joking aside, I heard it was supposed to be called Grey lancer but dut to pronunciation etc it was called Gley lancer, which doesn't reealy make sense.
There's so many better shooters than this. Its such a shame that the amazing ps4 port of ketsui is so expensive and jap only.
Now that IS an 8.
Personally wishing for Thunderforce 3 & 4 collection.
Looks like complete trash. Not sure how you can give a game a score of 8 when it looks like this rubbish. It's like it was made for a c64, it's 2021 not the early 90s.
This is why have remakes of remakes now, people are prepared to pay for junk just because it's hipster gamers that think retro is cool.
It's not... New games are good, old games are old and rubbish now compared to what we have now.
Anyone that actually pays for this is just trying to seem cool or something, why else would you play this over the thousands of current games?
This is an absolute classic and needs to be seen in the correct context, its a 10/10 game.
@JamieO fair point..at least you responded in a well thought out comment..no sarcasm,patronisation and not snarky..🤘
@Northern_munkey his are the best reviews and responses for those very reasons imo.
He does seem like a top person unlike some of the other over defensive reviewers imo.
“... since using the Rewind feature to complete 11 stages in less than an hour snags easy Platinum Trophies on both PS4 and PS5”.
It’s funny you mention Gaiares... I rented that game when it came out and used an invincibility cheat code to “beat the game”. I got to see all the stages, but I felt I cheated myself and never used cheat codes again (save NBA Jam big head mode and the like).
I guess a “rewind” is better — at least your playing it, but I feel like playing for trophies without mastering the game completely misses the point!
It’s no wonder the genre remains niche since the death of arcades. The games (shmups, fighters, etc.) don’t teach players how to play them. Shame, as this game seems to have the tools, but at the very least the platinum trophy should have been behind a 1CC clear w/o save states and rewind.
@Denni5m What a narrow view! It’s embarrassing really, to think things are better because they are newer. Imagine thinking that with music, or movies, or books! It’s no wonder so many players can be lead by the nose by the industry into the shallowest waters of the hobby by pretty graphics and trends.
*. *. *
I’m glad the hobby has grown to accommodate nearly everybody, but good lord, how many philistines must we suffer? Perfect consumers, poor excuses for gamers.
@Denni5m lol do you have an emotional breakdown every time a website reviews a classic game well?
Also, no, this clearly 16-bit shmup looks nothing like games on the 8-bit C64.
After reading this review I still have virtually no idea how this game plays or if it's fun or not.
Literally came here to say I'll definitely be picking this up, and really hoping Thunderforce 4 gets some love on the PS5. One of my favourite games of all time.
@Denni5m Who pissed in your corn flakes this morning? Was it the C64 that you seem to think this game can run on?
The pure frothing rage in your post is at once hilarious and disturbing, but completely unwarranted. This is a re-release of an older game. Yes, several gamers out there, young and old, appreciate older games like this one. That shouldn't affect you at all. Instead of picking fights, you need to get over it.
@Spiders It's because this game is published by Ratalaika. Their games always have easy plats.
@Loki7T1 I'm just stating my opinion. This game looks like garbage. You are getting caught up in the Symantec's of my c64 statement and avoiding the point.
For me there are way too many games that have been released in the last 5 years that are better than this, why go and torture yourself to play this then? The only logical explanation is the one I pointed out, people are doing it to seem cool or nostalgia/something bizarre like that.
It's like a cult has formed where people only play these types of games just to talk/brag about playing it, like a notch in their belt. They don't really actually enjoy these games more than modern ones, they enjoy the process of playing it to talk about it. Fair enough I get it, but don't go giving the game a 8/10 then. It's just not worthy of a score like that in 2021, reviews are meant to be relevant to the era they are written in.
2025 seemed a long long way off when this was originally released...
Amazing Megadrive classic, have it on cartridge:)
@Bad-MuthaAdebisi You have a good ear, it's quality that you spotted similarities between the sound effects in Alien Storm and in Gleylancer. I'll have to listen out for that!
I remember having lots of fun playing two-player Alien Storm on my Mega Drive. I'd especially love it if the arcade version of Alien Storm came to PS4 and PS5.
From Gleylancer's credits, five artists are credited for 'Music and Sound Effects' – Cube, Y. Kubotera, M. Hikichi, I. Mizoguchi, and N. Iwadare – and it has a cracking soundtrack, which at times reminds me of the tunes in F-Zero.
@IonMagi Cheers to you, too! It was nice to chat with you about Gleylancer when you were playing it on the weekend of WAYP 398.
In a similar way to how you're pleased about shmups getting attention on Push Square, it was good to see you spreading the word about Gleylancer in the comments of What Are You Playing?
@Spiders I really like the way you shared memories of playing all the way through Gaiares using cheat codes, although you regretted it a bit afterwards.
During the 16-bit era, I couldn't afford to buy as many games, so I'd rent Mega Drive and SNES games with a friend, and my cousin. Therefore, if need be we'd still use cheat codes, and magazine guides to see as much of the games as possible before returning them.
Also, I agree that there's a fundamental feeling of accomplishment from learning how to become better at a shmup. I don't even think people need to necessarily complete a 2D shooter.
I've been playing arcade R-Type on and off since it was released in 1987, but I've never beaten it. I still feel pleased that I've developed enough skill to consistently get far into the game using a single life, and I've reached the final stage using one credit.
@JamieO Thanks, and agreed!
@Dan_ozzzy189 I didn't know much about Ketsui: Kizuna Jigoku Tachi, so your comment encouraged me to learn more about Cave's 2003 vertically scrolling, bullet hell shoot-'em-up.
Like you mentioned it wasn't released on the UK's PS Store, unfortunately, but I searched for it on the US PS Store and it's available under the name Ketsui Deathtiny -Kizuna Jigoku Tachi- for $34.99. The North American PS4 version was published by M2, and released in November 2020, which must make it even more enticing for US gamers.
Cheers for mentioning Ketsui here, because I always like to build my retro gaming knowledge about quality titles like this.
Below are three UK gaming magazines from 1992, which I referred to for this Gleylancer review:
@JamieO I think eurigamer reviewed the dethstiny edition a year or so ago.
@Dan_ozzzy189 Cool, PS4 Ketsui Deathtiny sounds like a tough bullet hell shooter, with an intricate scoring system — which is pretty much CAVE to a T — with M2 Gadgets helpfully adding customisable difficulty levels to make it accessible, and using the space at the sides of the screen to present useful information.
I also like the new Deathtiny part of its title, it made me chuckle, although it's a shame it wasn't Ketsui's destiny to arrive on the European PlayStation Store!
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