THE NEXT SPACE
Developer: snk Year: 1989 Genre: shoot-’em-up
Sometimes, you come across a game that would have been perfectly acceptable in years gone by that is just no longer up to scratch, and that’s the major problem with The Next Space. In the early Eighties, it was fine to have a shoot-’em-up where all the stages had the same star field background, with tiny enemies leading up to a boss fight. By 1989, the genre had moved on considerably.
The defining characteristic of The Next Space is its large selection of nine subweapons, ranging from a large delayed detonation bomb to homing shots, which can be acquired by picking up alphabetical icons. You can shoot these icons to change the letter, meaning that every power-up is essentially universal – yet for some reason, the game still blankets the screen with them, which just serves to shield enemies from incoming shots.
There’s nothing that The Next Space does which wasn’t already being done better in arcades years earlier, and frankly even on consoles – Gunhed on the PC Engine makes this look frankly silly. Unless this was produced for people who felt that the shooting genre had become too complex, we can’t see who it was trying to appeal to.