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Retro Fire

Pub: AcclaimReleased: 5.18.95
Dev: VingWritten: 3.7.10

Ah, Galactic Attack. What a game. Known in Japan as Layer Section, this was one of the first ten Saturn video games I played and effectively, it helped spur on my Saturn resurrection back in January 2001. I remembered seeing this game on EGM's Top 100 Best Games list in issue #100. Situated at #86, it always left an imprint on my mind. That was '97. Four years later, I was staring at a copy inside a FuncoLand for just $4.99 and knew what I had to do. The game certainly lived up to its billing. It was fun, addicting and simply a blast (pardon
the cheesy pun). But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's rewind a bit... now where did I put that hot tub time machine?  [... -Ed.]

1999 TO 2001 -- TWO YEARS, TWO GAMES

As readers of SEGA Saturn SAGA may recall, for two years I lived on just two Saturn games. Both import fighters, it was all
I ever needed to get by in life. Ah-ha, or so I thought!

World Heroes Perfect, my beloved... was my first Saturn game ever

                                                      And the second, Fighter's History Dynamite

For two years I was content switching from WHP to FHD. FHD to WHP. I never cared to explore the rest of Saturn's vast catalog. Didn't feel the need to. I owned the system only for Perfect and Dynamite, two arcade fighting games I desperately wanted to play back in the day but never did. Now owning them both was a dream come true. I didn't need any other Saturn games

That all changed one night in January 2001

At my buddy's house to study for a HUGE physics exam, I saw a Saturn lying on the ground. I nearly fell over. Remember, the PlayStation was all the rage back then, and by 2001 the Saturn was a long, LONG afterthought

"Hey -- you're the first person I know who has one too,"
I said, pointing to his Saturn

"Oh yeah?  I haven't touched the thing in years"

What's this?  I noticed Street Fighter Alpha 2 and Bust-A-Move
beside the system, both games lookin' pretty in their big bulky US cases... seeing them triggered something inside of me that I thought was long dead. Suddenly,
I felt very excited about games again... beyond just the two import fighting games I had at that point

"I still play my Saturn, though it's been a while too."
  It was true. It had been months since I played WHP or FHD. Love them though I may, two years is a long time to play JUST two games

"If you want some of the games, go ahead. Take some. It's cool"

I nearly fell over. "I can't do that, man"

"No, go for it. Really. I don't play them anymore. Plus I never even bought any of them to begin with"

"I can't, really, but thanks..."

"You sure?"

"... I'll just take these two," I said quickly as the moment overtook me. I lured Street Fighter Alpha 2 and Bust-A-Move 2 out of the pile. I remember seeing BUG! but not giving a damn whatsoever about it. I just wanted some Street Fighter and BAM2 action!

The rest of the study session I found it difficult to focus on atoms or Murphy's Law, and who could blame me. The moment of truth arrived when I came home and fired the games up, one
by one. I cheered for every successful Dragon Punch, and I cringed for every "NO!  I AIMED

Street Fighter Alpha 2
in particular blew me away. It played so smoothly and had just the right amount of style and substance. Playing Bust-A-Move 2 was like being back at an arcade hall, plopping a quarter into a simple but delightful puzzler to tide me over until the lines for the latest fighters died down a bit... ahh, good times

It was an unbelievable arcade-like experience I had that fine evening. It made me think about what other gems this system has to offer.... 

As they say, the rest is history. I never looked back



The very next month, February 2001, I was driving to Uncle Jimmy's house to visit him and my cousin David when I saw FuncoLand's big bright, colorful, neon sign calling out to me in the dark of the night. I remember being awed by their large luminous sign and being ecstatic about what Sega Saturn gems I might find inside. There I saw World Series Baseball II for just $3.99 and Galactic Attack for $4.99, both disc only

This is one of the best, and it effectively got me back into the genre

I had heard WSB II was a quick paced arcade-like baseball game (like the classic Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball) and Galactic Attack -- #86 in EGM's top 100 (issue 100, November 1997). I plucked them both off the rack without a moment's hesitation

There's no flippin' way I could pass up on the 86th best game ever, right?!

There was also QUAKE and Fighters Megamix for $9.99 each but I decided to pass up on both games (disc only). The clerk gave me a bewildered look when he saw me bringing World Series Baseball II and Galactic Attack to the counter

"You still playing these games?"

"No... just starting,"
I said with a little grin on my kisser

He looked at me like I was crazy. And maybe I was... but damnit, if I was crazy, I was gonna have a good time at it

Now I had six games in my collection. My library tripled in two short weeks prior to the two years I owned only WHP and FHD!  I couldn't wait to try out Galactic Attack and WSB II. The sense of thrill of adding more quality titles to the ole collection became an addiction in every respect of the word

Leaving my newly acquired Sega Saturn games in my glove compartment, I made my way to my uncle's house. They had to make a run at the grocery store and told me I could join them or stay back and surf the net or something

I stayed back. On that chilly February night of 2001, I searched for info (read: reviews) on WSB II and Galactic Attack. I'll never forget the moment that evening when I stumbled upon . . .

My God -- hundreds of user reviews!  US and Japanese game reviews. The freakin' works!  I was absolutely floored by what they had on offer. I read through all the WSB II and GA reviews til my cousins came back. It thrilled me to read all the good things the reviewers had to say about these two games. And over the years,
I frequently referred back to the reviews found on sega-saturn dot com, either before purchasing a game, or just after playing it, usually the latter; reading what others thought of certain games and then comparing that to how I felt. It was part of the fun of buying and playing all the Saturn games that I did... and MAN was it a lot of fun

Here's the FuncoLand receipt from that infamous night. Wow, February 17, 2001. That's over nine years ago. Almost a decade. It feels like it
was from another lifetime. What a great night it was, visiting my cousin David (same David from BUON COMPLEANNO!) and stopping by FuncoLand on the way there only to find two great Saturn games at a good price. Discovered the epic Sega-Saturn.com website with its hundreds and thousands of user friendly reviews, eagerly anticipating the end of the evening where after catching up with my little cousin could I drive on home and pop in my brand new games... what a HIGH!  As for FuncoLand, people love to bash
it back in the day but my theory on them was always simple. Bring 20 bucks, stay 10 minutes, and then get the heck outta dodge. I never once had any issues with FuncoLand applying that philosophy, and it was always a treat to see Saturn games lying in a bin in the 21st century. Cheers, FuncoLand.... cheers


One of the cool things about this game is the ability to lock onto targets below,
destroying them before they can become a factor in the "regular playing field"

Blowing those giant rocks leads to, you got it, them breaking into smaller pieces.
Oddly fun stuff. Watch out for the mid-sized 'bot there... he's a cool early enemy

Boss time!  Take out the left and right arms. In classic boss fashion, they flash when hit

You gotta love first level bosses in space shooters. They look intimidating but are very easy, yet set the tone for the nastier bosses to come. And killing 'em always satisfies!

Onto level 2 we go. Blow all the turrets on that gigantic space ship there

Boss 2 is this weird looking contraption. Pelt it like crazy and watch it flash in a frenzy!

There are six levels in all, can you save the universe?


Layer Section II
is the sequel and it
came out for the Japanese Sega Saturn.
Personally, I don't think it holds a candle
to the original, and I never got into the
sequel much, but there are those out
there who love this game and think quite
highly of it. For me, the original game
reached such a pinnacle it was difficult
for a sequel to come close to the first
game. Here's a closer look

                                                                No more 2D you see?  No 3D glasses required

Destroy targets below, just like in the first one

                                                                         Nice looking skyscrapers there...

Lovely orange bullets  [Great captions, man -Ed.]

                                                                 Hmm, I oughta give this game another spin

It looks cool, but I remember thinking it doesn't play as well as it looks

                                                                       Looks like the first boss, me thinks

Insert 2D > 3D comment here

                                                             LS II is not as pricey as the other Saturn shooters


Galactic Attack is an awesome shooter, no bones about it. I can thank it for getting me back into the genre as it was the first shooter I'd played in YEARS and that night of one, February 17, 2001, I realized why I used to love space shooters so much. There is a classic struggle and that ever lingering insurmountable feeling
of being one against an entire empire of baddies. The fate of the universe resting in your hands. No pressure!  Easily the best US Saturn shooter (there were only 3 though) and for my money, it's in the top five Saturn shooting games discussion. Although many folks rave about Radiant Silvergun, call me crazy, I would rather play Galactic Attack. A must have for Saturn fans all over the world. Shooters don't get much better than this


Images courtesy of gameofyou