"Hey there, Spacekats! This is Ulala coming at you from Spaceport 9! Tonight we'll be investigating reports of aliens that have invaded, and are forcing people to dance!"
In the Space Channel 5 franchise players usually control galaxy reporter Ulala
though several "reports" or stages. The game is set to high-energy dance music, and the cast of characters is quite campy, frequently featuring gay themes.
The Space Channel 5 games are puzzles similar to the 80s electronic game "Simon Says." For example, someone captured by the aliens would ask Ulala to help them. In beat to the music, they would announce several commands such as the frequent "Up, down, up, down, left, right, chu!" Ulala would then need to repeat that sequence to rescue the person.
The player's success is gauged with "ratings," which climb higher if Ulala dances with no mistakes. For rescue sequences and boss battles, Ulala is given a number of hearts. Every time she makes an error, she loses a heart. If she loses all the hearts she fails the rescue, and in the case of boss battles must repeat the sequence.
As Ulala repeats stages with higher and higher ratings, she is able to rescue more people. You can view their bios on the title screen and learn more about them. She can also unlock new outfuts and accessories.
Though there have only been two main adventures in the Space Channel 5 franchise, they feature a rich cast of characters.
is the heroine of Space Channel 5, and the player almost always controls her. A cosmic reporter, she's known for her trademark phrase, "Hey there, Spacekats!" She wears fun, sexy costumes and carries a pair of tiny blasters in garter holsters. In every stage of Space Channel 5, she gains a new costume to wear. She is voice acted by singer Apollo Smile.
Jaguar is a Space Pirate Reporter, and the primary love interest of Ulala. Feeling that his illicit broadcast captures "the truth" more than the mainstream reports, he travels the galaxy in a massive black ship. In the second game, he has been kidnapped by Purge, and Ulala must save him.
is Ulala's reporting rival. She's had frequent nose jobs, and is taller and thinner than Ulala. When she's on screen she always adds, "Watch my report of channel 42!" In the musical sequences of Space Channel 5 part two she always plays a guitar. Evila Evila is a robotic version of Ulala, and a final boss of the first game. Controlled by Blank, her mission to report the news as the Space Channel 5 owner saw fit. In the second game she became a good character.
were the villains of the first Space Channel 5 game, and are roughly half the height of a human. They have televisions for faces, and tentacle-like appendages. The come in bright colors and love to dance. In the first game they were being controlled by an evil mastermind.
Interestingly, "Space Michael
" is a recurring character of Space Channel 5. He only had a cameo in the first game's final stage, but his role was greatly expanded in the sequel. Space Michael displays all of Jackson's trademark dance moves. His cameo in the first Space Channel 5 happened at the same time Jackson was engulfed in a firestorm of controversy, when he was rumored to have molested children. His inclusion in the game was surprising, as the gameplay of Space Channel 5 is frequently about rescuing children. Sadly, it would prove to be the last game Jackson would ever appear in.
Space Channel 5: Part 1
The first Space Channel 5
game featured four "reports" and was centered around a Morolian plot to invade the galaxy with dance moves. Ulala was there to cover the story, and eventually discovered in was the owner of Space Channel 5 that has instigated the invasion.
The game was originally released on Dreamcast, but eventually found its way to the Playstation 2. A technically inferior version of the game would find its way to Gameboy Advance.
Space Channel 5: Part 2
The sequel, Space Channel 5: Part 2
was superior in every way. The music was better, there were many more hidden costumes, characters and stages to unlock. It also greatly expanded the story and characters of Space Channel 5. Ulala must stop a race of dancing robots who are kidnaping people with music. The final boss is "Purge," an effeminate dancer who wants to transmit his signal to the galaxy with a giant satellite.
The sequel also expanded on the controls of the original. Players had to rescue trapped characters with the O button, and a hold mechanic was introduced. For instance, the sequence might be "Chu! Chu! Chuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu! Chu!" For the third input, players would have to hold the button for that period of time.
Space Channel 5 Part 2 was originally released on the Dreamcast in Japan, but never found its way to the United States. Fortunately for fans, Agetec released a double pack of both games for Playstation 2.
Though Space Channel 5: Parts 1 and 2 are the only official adventures of Ulala, she frequently appears in cameos for other Sega games. She was an unlockable character in Sonic & Sega All Star Racing
and also appeared in Sega SuperStars Eye Toy.