The arcades are going to be hotter than lava this fall when Sega’s own Amusement Vision drops Planet Harrier into American arcades. For those who don’t remember, the original Space Harrier was nothing less than one of the most popular arcade games of all time. The brainchild of Sega legend Yu Suzuki, Space Harrier seemed graphically ahead of its time when it was released in 1985, and thousands of kids lined up in arcades to blast their way through hordes of crocodiles and dragons.
The sequel, while sticking to the original forward-scrolling shooter recipe, boasts many improvements. First and foremost, Planet Harrier will be in 3D, running on Sega’s Hikaru arcade board. From the pictures we’ve seen, the graphics are going to be absolutely astounding. Planet Harrier will feature new enemies as well as updated versions of baddies from the original. Another difference is that Planet Harrier will allow players to choose between four characters: Nick, Glenn, Cory and a mysterious fighter known only as X.
There will be the standard number of heavy arms, Vulcan cannons and lock-on missiles to fire, though characters have their specific weapons to enter battle with. Nick and Glenn will use oversized guns to decimate their enemies, while Cory and X depart from the norm and use a giant hypodermic needle and an electric guitar respectively. For the ultra-bloodthirsty, Amusement Vision has included a special lock-on system that will allow players to launch 16 missiles at once.
Another shining addition to Planet Harrier is the capacity for two people to play together. If someone wishes to join a game in progress, he presses a button that asks the first player if he would allow the second to join the game. If the player agrees, the two characters are joined through a force field. They will be allowed to join forces to complete special moves that are specific to each character combination. They can also carry their relationship to the Star Shop, where they can loan each other cash for goods.
There has been no official confirmation of the rumor that Planet Harrier will be making its way to the Dreamcast in the months to come, though it seems very likely. Check out these screenshots we put together and stay tuned to Sega Radar for more info on this amazing arcade shooter as soon as we have it.