Dance party fantasy

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“Hey there, SpaceCats. Ulala here, comin’ at you from Space Channel 9. Tonight I’m investigating reports that aliens have invaded and are forcing people to dance.” So, like a futuristic hipster, you take control of rising star Ulala in an attempt to save groove-crazed hostages — and the fate of all the space channels on the planet.

Sound ridiculous? Sure, Space Channel 5 is possibly the most simplistic title ever for Dreamcast — yet this is not your average fare. Dancing and shooting are the keys to rescuing the human race from the clutches of flamboyant Morolians, so with only the directional pad and two buttons used in gameplay, even a child could play this game, right? Well, SpaceCats, SP5 has more attitude than “Soul Train” and “Star Search” combined.

An original sound track supplies all the ear candy your precious senses could desire; Ulala’s scantily clad, wickedly orange attire makes Judy Jetson look prehistoric; and 78 dance-hungry characters will surely keep your virtual Rolodex overflowing.

Are you looking to improve your coordination skills? Then SP5 is perfect therapy for your finger-tapping fervor. Have you lost your Saturday-night, dance-club flare? Don’t fret, because SP5 will teach you how to gain entrance back into the party scene. This game is so utterly absorbing that you might find yourself saying, “Why am I playing this?” 11 hours after you powered up your Dreamcast.

“I’ve encountered aliens on the main floor — and they’ve taken hostages.” Uh-oh, Ulala. Your battle to become Space Channel 5’s ultimate investigative reporter hasn’t ended yet. Grab that retrofitted joystick and prepare to grind the dance floor into cosmic dust.

Jon M. Gibson writes about video games for the Metro Times. E-mail letters@metrotimes.com.

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