Developed and Published By: Ratalaika Games, Masaya (Original Game) Categories: Shootem'up, Retro Release Date: 10.15.21
Ratalaika has been hitting it out of the park with these ports lately. Lots of rarer, Japan only games, lots of excellent Switch conversions. This one is of the 1992 shooter, Gleylancer. Gleylancer never came to the west back in the day, but thanks to the advent of digital storefronts, it has seen a new life. First on the Wii Virtual Console, and now on Nintendo Switch.
Gleylancer is an incredibly impressive game for both when it came out and what console (the Mega Drive) it came out on. It’s fast, there’s a lot of sprites, and there’s even plenty instances of voice acting. It can and most definitely will get chaotic on the screen. This raises my main issue with Gleylancer. This is more an issue in space stages, but I found it a bit tricky to see enemy bullets. Almost as if they blend it, especially with your own bullets. Gleylancer also has a small quirk of you still shooting, after you get hit by something an dying. Something that bothers me more because Gleylancer has a checkpoint based revive system as opposed to on the spot.
Enough of what I dislike though, Gleylancer is a fun shooter, which has loads of variety. Upfront immediately before you start a run, you’re tasked with choosing your “Mover” formation. This decides on how your your Gunners, this game’s Option equivalent will aim. The direction you move, the reverse, a spin, a shadow, or even homing. That one can be a bit tricky however, for plot reasons. There’s more, there’s a great selection of the Gunners you can use. Standards like spread, laser, just a faster standard shot. To the fun ones like bouncing bullets, a flamethrower, a laser blade, exploding bullets. All of these have their own uses and stages will usually give you those Gunners when it’s practical.
Gleylancer’s music is fan-freakin’-tastic. I’m sure I sound like a broken record, but shmups really need good music. If it’s good music, I’m happy and lordy does Gleylancer have good music. To Switch owners, one of the composers, Noriyuki Iwadare might seem familiar as they’ve been doing music for Masahiro Sakurai’s games, including the Smash Bros series. Give me this stuff on CD.
Emulation wise, if you’ve played any of the other recent releases by Ratalaika, you know what to expect. Excellent, deep filter options are a showcase as well as a rewind function, which I’m ashamed to say I abused. You get two modes to play, one with more modern amenities. Gleylancer has a speed setting which before was set and had a certain order. Now, you can freely change the speed with L and R. I usually sat at 2 or 3. Also new is using the right stick to fiddle and aim your gunners.
The story has finally been translated. Gleylancer on Switch has a full translation, exclusive to the “Modern” Mode. Gleylancer’s story, presented in a cute anime style in the occasional cutscene has you in control of a young pilot named Lucia. She takes control of the “CSH-01-XA Gley Lancer”, a prototype fighter in order to save her father after his capture during an ongoing war. This is the first time the game has been officially translated, and this is even more appreciated when the in stage dialog plays. All that aside, if you don’t want modern improvements, the original Japanese game is there as well.
Gleylancer is another solid port by Ratalaika that deserved a wider release than it originally did. I’m praying we get a physical release eventually. Cannot wait to see what they do next. My only big complaint is that, like the other releases, this is SLIM on extras.
Buy Now: $6.99
*Game Download Code graciously supplied for the purpose of review