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hunch over

Space Channel 5

For the Canadian television network, see Space (TV channel)

is a music video game series developed by United Game Artists under the direction of Tetsuya Mizuguchi and published by Sega. The gameplay features a system where the player must copy sequences of dance steps preformed by the computer.

Overview

Gameplay

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. Their legs move, and their torsos automatically bend.

The "A" button is used for shooting at the Morolians or simply another dance move. The "B" button is used for rescuing hostages (In report 2, however, in the first phase of the boss, the "B" 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", "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 (if the player gets all the moves correct) or have messed up the dance (if the player gets incorrect moves or misses a move). The performance also exends 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 (as for example a guitar solo in the first level). Ulala is given a certain number of hearts in case she misses a move or get 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.

Story

The second game follows Ulala as she faces off against a new group of enemies called the Rhythm Rogues (known as the Odori-dan in Japanese), led by the mysterious Purge and his masked assistant Shadow. The Rhythm Rogues kidnap thousands of innocent people, including Space President Peace, and force them to dance.

Purge demands a ransom for the return of the president, but when Ulala and Space Policewoman Pine reach the rendezvous point, they discover that the ransom demand was a diversion from Purge’s real plan to steal transmitters from all of the news stations and combine them into a superpowerful dance-control weapon. Ulala is unable to prevent Purge from stealing the transmitters and destroying Space Channel 5’s orbital headquarters, but she does succeed in rescuing Space Michael and the other Space Channel 5 employees, except for (apparently) her boss Fuse.

Pine summons Ulala, Space Michael, rival reporter Pudding, and the Morolian Boss to Purge’s “Mystery Zone” space station, where the group defeats Shadow (revealed to be Ulala’s colleague Jaguar) in a battle of the bands. Ulala then faces Purge, first in a one-on-one dance battle, then in a final showdown with the help of her friends and all of the kidnapped dancers.

Characters

  • Ulala, voiced by Apollo Smile, is Space Channel 5's top reporter. When she was young, a reporter from Space Channel 5 saved her life, and she wanted to become a reporter for Space Channel 5. 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.
  • Fuse is 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. He is voiced by David Nowlin in the first game, and Kerry Shale in Part 2. In the Japanese version, he is voiced by Takashi Thomas Yuda.
  • Noize is Ulala's partner and provides transportation for Ulala using a platform ship powered by dance energy and jiggy power. In Space Channel 5: Part 2, he helps Ulala in a drum battle against Pine. He is voiced by Alan Marriot. In the Japanese version, he is voiced by Ken Okazaki.
  • Space Michael is a character based on and voiced by Michael Jackson. He appears as a cameo in the first game, but becomes a fully involved character in Part 2. After being rescued by Ulala from the Rhythm Rogues, Michael uses his singing skills against a singing robot.
  • Pudding is 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. In Part 2, she challenges Ulala to a guitar battle. In both games, she teams up with Ulala on later levels. She is voiced by Sumalee Montano in the first game and Larissa Murphy in Part 2. Her Japanese voiceover is done by Kae Iida.
  • Jaguar is 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. In Part 2, he mysteriously disappears while investigating something. Later, it was revealed that he was brainwashed by Purge, becoming "The Shadow." He is saved by Ulala near the end of Part 2. He is voiced by Jeff Kramer in the first game, and Tom Clarke Hill in Part 2. In the Japanese version, he is voiced by Show Hayami.
  • Hoorg is the leader of the Morolians. In the first game, Morolians were brainwashed by Blank into attacking people and forcing them to dance. Boss Moro was one of the last Morolians Ulala had to face before confronting Blank. In Part 2, he is a news reporter on Morolian News, which airs in between reports but constantly gets hijacked by Purge. In Report 5, he joins Ulala in stopping Purge.
  • Pine is a member of the Sexy Space Police. In Part 2, when dozens of reporters are heading for a scoop, Pine lays down the law to clear the area, opening fire on Ulala who refuses to leave. She then challenges Ulala and Noize to a drum battle. Later on, she calls on Ulala's help to stop Purge. She is voiced by Toni Barry. In the Japanese version, she is voiced by Yoshiko Sakakibara.
  • President Peace is the galactic president, Peace loves nothing more than to sing, but unfortunately whenever he gets the chance, he gets kidnapped by the Rhythm Rogues. His amazing voice provides a massive source of groove energy that Purge uses for evil. He is voiced by Bob Sherman. In the Japanese version, he is voiced by Tōru Ōhira.
  • Chief Blank is 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. He is voiced by Gary Martinez.
  • Purge is the main antagonist of Part 2, Purge is a sly dancer and leader of the Rhythm Rogues. Using his henchman Shadow and his army of robots, Purge kidnaps President Peace and steals satellites from several TV stations in order to complete his Ballistic Groove Gun in order to make the galaxy dance for him. He is voiced by Erik Myers.

Games

Space Channel 5

Space Channel 5 was first released in Japan for the Dreamcast on December 16, 1999. It was later released in the United States on June 6, 2000 and in Europe on October 8, 2000. 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. It was released in Europe on March 15, 2002 and in Japan on December 12, 2002. It was released in North America in November 18, 2003 as part of a sole package called Space Channel 5 Special Edition.

Space Channel 5: Part 2

Space Channel 5: Part 2 was released in Japan on February 14, 2002 both for the Dreamcast and PlayStation 2. The PlayStation 2 was released Europe in February 12, 2003, and in North America as part of special edition package with the first game on November 18, 2003. Space Channel 5 Part 2 (Limited Edition) was released in Japan featuring a carrying case and a set of large headphones.

The scoring system is changed from the first game. Moves can be charged while holding down a button. Instrument battles have been added. They are played using the directional buttons. There is a 100 stage battle mode, in which players have to play 100 consecutive lines, with only one heart. Some of the lines seem to resemble those found in the first game. There is also a 2 player mode, where one player controls directions and the other controls actions, and an alternate story mode where characters, costumes and dance moves are different.

The game was pulled from the shelves moments before being released in the United Kingdom. This is thought to be because of the recently-aired television programme Living with Michael Jackson, which led to a child molestation lawsuit being filed against the singer. The only playable version officially released in the UK was a demo of the first level which came with issue 30 of Official Playstation 2 Magazine UK.

Space Channel 5: Ulala's Cosmic Attack

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.

Ulala's Channel J

Ulala's Channel J was released for the Vodafone.

Future of the series

According to an article on Eurogamer.net, several "Higher Ups" at Sega are pushing for a new SC5 game to be made for a next-generation console. However, producer Takashi Yuda says that "nothing has been decided." Series producer Tetsuya Mizuguchi has expressed interest in another Space Channel 5 sequel for the Nintendo Wii, although no plans appear to be in the works at this time.

Other titles

Rez, also developed by UGA, featured a Morolian alien as an additional, unlockable evolution for the main character.

A minigame called Dance was included in the 2004 Nintendo DS handheld game Feel the Magic: XY/XX which has a near-identical format to Space Channel 5, and even starts off with a sound clip from it. If the game is played with a Space Channel 5: Ulala's Cosmic Attack Game Boy Advance cartridge in the system at the same time, Ulala's hairstyle could be unlocked for the female lead.

Space Channel 5 also appeared as a minigame in Sega's PlayStation 2 EyeToy-based game, Sega Superstars.

Ulala also appeared as a hidden playable character in the game Sonic Riders.

There's also an unlockable Ulala costume in Beach Spikers for the Gamecube.

A girl having a similar striking appearance to Ulala appears in Phantasy Star Universe in single player mode. Around Chapters 10 and beyond, she reports for the Gurhal Channel 5 News. The intro theme is the same as Ulala's Space Channel Intro.

Ulala and Pudding also appear in the Sega Superstars Tennis, alongside other Sega franchises. A Space Channel 5 themed court is also included.

Ulala and a Space Channel 5 themed level appear in Samba De Amigo for the Wii.

Development

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.

Michael Jackson makes a cameo appearance as Space Michael in Space Channel 5, 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. Then when faced up against a singing robot, Space Michael 'sings' using trademark noises such as his infamous howl. He then joins Ulala in facing up against Purge.

In both versions of the game, Michael speaks in English, which is subbed into Japanese in the Japanese version. He tends to have the habit of calling Ulala, 'you-la-la.'

Lawsuit

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.

Lady Miss Kier (whose real name is Kier Kirby) claims 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).

References

External links

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