Due to my absence, I have decided to do a couple special reviews. This sites main focus is to provide a review for every TurboGrafx-16 and PC-Engine game, but since I’ve been slacking I’ll review a couple of PC-Engine CD games! Who knows, I may toss them in here and there from now on. First up was a random choice, Ginga Fukei Densetsu Sapphire! I had no idea what the game was when I picked it and because the game is in Japanese, I really don’t know what’s going on with the story. But that doesn’t hinder the game play at all!
Ginga Fukei Densetsu Sapphire is your typical shmup (shoot em up) with some amazing visuals and sounds! You can definitely tell this is a step up from your normal PC-Engine game. There is voice acting although it is in Japanese, colorful Anime cutscenes, and some fantastic music thanks to the use of a CD-ROM. There isn’t much English in the game, but my take on the story is you’re some kind of female futuristic task force. Each lady gets there own ship, and of course each has their own unique firepower. There is even a difference in speed between the four. Stay away from the green ship, it’s super slow.
Once you pick your pilot it’s off to shoot things! The controls are simple as they are in most shmups. Hold down a button to shoot continuously, and the other is your special. Sapphire puts your eye and twitch reflexes to the test but it’s not super overwhelming. I’ve seen some shmups where it seems like every inch of the screen has an enemy or bullets whizzing by. That is not the case with Sapphire although it isn’t a cake walk either. On the normal difficulty setting I could only get to stage 3. When I set it back to easy I was able to make it to stage 5. Pro Tip: Raise your continues to 9 in the options as well.
Some enemies drop power ups represented by a floating “P”. Let them float long enough and their color will change so you can get a different type of gun. After getting just one power up, you’ll get a gun at each side of your ship. There’s a neat little strategy involving these ships. If you encounter a bunch of enemies on the screen, do not shoot. Just dodge. Once the guns are glowing hit your shoot button and the guns will zip around the screen taking out enemies and rack you up some points!. The stages aren’t that long and consist of a mid boss and end level boss. There are some interesting enemies in this game. The paintings that contain dragons in them or the mannequin head that transforms into a skull stand out.
Sadly, Ginga Fukei Sensetsu Sapphire is one of the most expensive games for the PC-Engine CD. I couldn’t find any on eBay now, but I’ve read stories about them going for $400+. That’s ridiculous! It seems people are also making fakes of these and tossing them up on auction sites. Luckily there are ways to spot fakes. I found a guide here. There is a cheaper route as well. If you must physically own this game there is a PSP version in the Galaxy Fraulein Collection that runs anywhere from $50-$70.
I do recommend playing this game. Be it by hunting down a copy (if you’re Scrooge McDuck) or by other means. It is a beautiful shmup with some awesome early polygon work, mixed with some big sprites. The explosions are delightfully blocky and I love it. The music delivers and helps add to the game play and with some practice, you’ll get further each time you play. And don’t be ashamed of putting it on easy. There is still a challenge even on easy mode. Heck I barely made the high score list but I still had fun. What are you waiting for! Go! Emulate! Have Fun!Final Verdict:
- Fun game with easy to learn controls
- Interesting cast of enemies
- Nice blend of polygon and sprite graphics
- Fun for shmup fans both old and new