SPACE CHANNEL 5: ULALA'S COSMIC ATTACK / Sega / Gameboy Advance
Wow, man. There's bad ports, and then there's THIS.
This port of the original Space Channel 5 goes from a special 800mb form of CD on a 64-bit system to an 8mb cartridge on what was basically a 16-bit system. So naturally, you have to expect some graphical downgrading and etc. There's tasteful ways to handle that, but whoever handled this port didn't go with any of those options, instead simply trying to reduce and cram the original game down to 1/100th of itself somehow.
The game just looks godawful. Character models are reduced to the minimum of polygons and frames of animation, and backgrounds are basically stripped bare. The characters look like those PC adventure games from the early 90s that started experimenting with rotoscoped 3D characters instead of sprites .. except those games look a hell of a lot better. Ulala has gone from a hottie to looking somewhat frightening in an Uncanny Valley sort of way. And of course, don't expect any voice acting, it's all really halfassed-looking text boxes.
The graphics are actually the forgivable aspect of the game. What's not is the gameplay. Unlike other rhythm games, Space Channel 5 gives you no visual indicator for button press timing. You get a Simon-like sequence, then have to memorize that and replicate it solely using the music for correct timing. The music from the original game has been "downsized" to tinny MIDI files that sound crappy, but even when you're seemingly on the beat with the right button press you'll get it wrong most of the time anyway. It's maddeningly finicky, and I suspect in a lot of places it's just completely off-sync.
Space Channel 5 was really not a wise choice for a port to a handheld of the time. It was a game that could be completed in 30 minutes and was basically relying on its panache to carry it, which is totally gone with the graphical and music reductions. Games like Rhythm Tengoku and even Wario Ware prove that you can do great rhythm games on the GBA, but you have to play to the strengths of the system. Converting to even mostly-static 2D graphics would have been better than simply trying to dither the original game down to 8 MB somehow, and there's just no excuse for the music whatsoever, even the GBA is capable of better than this. Even after all that it was still basically salvageable, but throwing the game out the door with obviously deficient gameplay indicates it was just a rushjob that no one really cared about.
* Gameplay Video