Retro Coin Op Synopsis
Sega’s Space Harrier showed us what Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland would have been like if Alice had brought along an enormous plasma cannon. In a mock 3-D world of giant centipedes, poisonous mushrooms and other fantastic creatures, your lone Space Harrier blasted through several stages of action-packed mayhem, shooting everything in sight.
Graphically, Space Harrier was a complete breakthrough, delivering rapid-scrolling 3-D vistas and large, colorful enemies. As seen from behind the back of your intrepid Harrier, the action moved extremely fast, forcing you to zip from one corner of the screen to the other in order to avoid the massive amount of firepower coming in your direction. Thankfully, your character could fly as well as he could run, allowing you the full range of the screen for evasive maneuvers.
Despite the new perspective, Space Harrier was still a classic action shooter at heart. Players used a single joystick control with a firing trigger button to fend off spaceships, Easter Island-style stone heads and the many end-of-stage bosses. Unlike earlier shooters, this one actually had an end, but it took a quick trigger finger and usually several quarters to get there.
Space Harrier’s breathtaking look and fast-action gameplay made it a huge success in its time. The game was also bolstered by its special full-motion cockpit cabinet, which allowed players in select locations to experience firsthand the harried life of a Space Harrier.