Patrick Hope: ‘Space Adventure’ a unique space opera

I just got back from watching "The Force Awakens" which, to put it mildly, makes me very sad that the "Star Wars" movies my childhood and adolescence happened to be the silly prequels. In any event, the most recent entry really defines the whole ...

Patrick Hope
Patrick Hope

I just got back from watching “The Force Awakens” which, to put it mildly, makes me very sad that the “Star Wars” movies my childhood and adolescence happened to be the silly prequels.
In any event, the most recent entry really defines the whole space opera thing. And video games are no strangers to space operas of varying quality. One of the more unique space operas out there comes to us on the Sega CD of all things and is based on an anime neither I nor pretty much anyone in America has ever seen - “Space Adventure.”
Please ignore that this may be the most generic title for any game ever. I guess it also has the subtitle of “Cobra: The Legendary Bandit.” Cobra is the anime that is apparently big in Japan. And honestly, whenever you’re playing this game, you’re going to feel like you’re missing a lot of context. Also, this is a visual novel.
“Space Adventure” plays an awful like “Snatcher,” except not nearly as good. You play as Cobra, a, well, legendary space bandit who is kind of like a comparatively charmless Han Solo who also has an arm cannon for some reason. Again, having no knowledge of the source material really hurts here. Everything is going to be clicking around menus and, every once in a while, fighting something with an RPG-like menu.
However, the purported RPG elements are kind of a lie, as the battles are really just about clicking on menu options in the right sequence. Just do this over and over again and you’ll win. Or make progress. Also, sometimes the game flat out tells you not to pick certain options, making you wonder why they’re even there. The puzzles are also kind of obtuse and you’ll spend a lot of time wandering around trying to figure out what to do next. “Snatcher” this is not.
Then there’s the story. So Cobra finds this femme fatale, Jane, whose father was some equally legendary pirate and tattooed the map to his biggest treasure on his daughters’ backs like any responsible parent would. There are also some evil pirates who are completely different than our hero. Also, their leader named Crystal Boy. Yes, that is really his name. And at one point the pirates dispatch some assassin named Hammerbolt Joe to kill Cobra.
So this game either had translation issues or the source material is incredibly lazy. Let’s not even get into one of the planets being named “Neon Big Bird.”
This makes it sound like “Space Adventure” is an awful game. It really isn’t. It’s just very strange and hard to really get a grasp on. To be honest, it’s one of the stranger choices to localize for a system that was more or less dead at its 1995 release anyway.
And considering a copy goes for about $250 now, you can really take a hard pass unless you’re the one person out there who actually knows about the series this is based on. It’s pretty clearly in the “weird historical curiosity” category, so you can rest easy this Christmas knowing that you did not experience the adventures of Cobra or the real star of the game, Rock Knight.
Hope is a local attorney and video game enthusiast. He gave up on “Space Adventure” and found what might be the one and only play-through of it on YouTube. It was not worth it.

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