Space Harrier II (Genesis)

Space Harrier II Box Art

Space Harrier II

System: Genesis

Release Date: August 14, 1989

Developer: Sega

Publisher: Sega

Genre: Shoot ‘Em Up

Get ready! Space Harrier II is up next on the Sega Genesis. This was one of the two Japanese launch titles. When I first played Space Harrier on the Master System, I really wanted to like it, but I really didn’t care for it too much. It was neat, but not very fun. Space Harrier II is more playable, but it’s also more of the same. The best I can tell you is that it still plays exactly the same. It’s a behind the back view of the Space Harrier and you can move in all eight directions.

You have an unlimited supply of bullets that are activated with the A, B, and C Buttons. Only five bullets can be on screen at once, so you don’t necessarily want to overextend yourself. I found that they also ricochet off of indestructible pillars that come out of the ground, which may keep them on screen for longer than you’d like. Enemies come at you in waves that follow the same pattern time and time again. You die either by touching an enemy or getting hit by one of their projectiles. Then you get a much better digitized scream than what we got on the Master System.

Even on the easiest setting, you only get five lives. There are twelve stages, followed by a boss gauntlet, and the final boss. As I played, I died several times and continued where I left off by using the stage select feature. When I cleared stage 12, I got sent back to the first level, disappointed there wasn’t a final boss. A little research informed me that I have to beat all 12 stages in one go. Not today, Satan!

Graphics: 2.0

It looks better than the original Space Harrier, running more smoothly, and having better sprites, but only about the same compared to other games I’ve played recently.

Sound: 1.5

They fixed the terrible scream with the Genesis’s speech sampling quality. The music is all still low-key and generic.

Gameplay: 1.5

Fly and shoot and die. Again and again.

Difficulty: 1.0

I don’t see how anyone would be able to reach the final boss without dozens of hours spent memorizing each level. Individual bosses aren’t hard if you move in a figure 8 pattern while shooting.

Fun Factor: 1.0

I wanted this to be a much better version of Space Harrier, but it’s only marginally better, and with two years and a console jump, that doesn’t count for anything.

Overall Grade: 1.4

Space Harrier II earns a D+. I don’t think this series is ever going to really impress me, although I appreciate the idea.

Space Harrier II Video Review on YouTube