From Sega Retro
|System(s): Sega Mega Drive|
|Publisher: Renovation Game (Japan), Renovation Products (US)|
|Developer: Telenet Japan|
|Number of players: 1|
Gaiares (ガイアレス) is a Sega Mega Drive horizontal shoot-'em-up developed by Telenet Japan. First published in Japan by Renovation Game in December 1990, it was later brought to the United States by Renovation Products the following March, and eventually brought to Europe later that year. One of the first Mega Drive games to utilize an 8 Megabit cartridge over the standard size of 4 Megabit, Gaiares (alongside Technosoft's Thunder Force III) was one of the earliest shoot-'em-ups to demonstrate the technical strengths of the 16-bit hardware.
The title combines "Gaia" (for Earth) and the suffix "-less," as the Earth has been lost to pollution in the far future according to the plot of the game (making mankind "Earthless").
In the year 3000, Earth has become an uninhabitable, polluted wasteland and the human race is almost extinct. A group of alien space pirates called Gulfer, led by the evil Queen Zz Badnusty, plans to use the pollution to fuel weapons of mass destruction. The United Star Cluster of Leezaluth sends a warning to Earth about their plans, stating that if they cannot stop them, Leezaluth will be forced to supernova Earth's sun to avoid war with Gulfer; but if the humans succeed, Leezaluth will use their technology to restore Earth to its former beauty.
Legendary space hero Dan Dare (Diaz in the Japanese original), a brave and skilled pilot from Earth, is chosen to be the pilot of a new starfighter to combat Gulfer. The ship is armed with a powerful experimental weapon from Leezaluth called the TOZ system, run by Leezaluth emissary Alexis, which can steal powers from the space pirates' own ships.
The game is a side-scrolling shoot-'em-up. Stages have a miniboss and a boss; some stages feature branching paths that can be selected by flying high or low on the screen. The player's starfighter is moved in any direction with the D-Pad; its movement speed can be cycled between three settings with . The ship fires its weapon with , which can be held for rapid-fire. The TOZ module follows the ship and augments the ship's fire with its own.
Instead of collecting power-up capsules to gain new weapons, as in most shooters, the TOZ device can be shot out with (in a manner similar to the Force in R-Type) to "steal" the weapon of an enemy that it contacts (destroying the enemy in the process). This weapon replaces the standard armament. Stealing the same weapon again increases the weapon level, up to three levels. Each weapon has a separate level, which the game remembers when it is equipped again. Weapons cannot be stolen from bosses. The player's ship cannot fire while the TOZ is deployed; it returns after a moment after it steals a weapon or if it cannot find an enemy to target. The TOZ module is invulnerable to damage and can protect the ship from enemy fire and destroy enemies it touches when deployed.
The ship is destroyed if it takes damage from an enemy or runs into terrain. The player starts over at a checkpoint with a new ship if the player has lives remaining, with the starting weapon and without any of the weapon levels acquired. If the player runs out of lives, the game ends, but it can be continued as long as there are credits remaining.
|Surrounds the ship in a barrier that protects it from three hits of damage. The screen flashes when the barrier takes damage.|
|Eliminates all of the enemies on screen.|
|The stage reprises many of the minibosses from the previous stages.|
|The stage reprises all of the bosses from the previous stages.|
During development, Gaiares was known by the name Aztion (アズシオン).
According to developer Kouji Yokota, development began with a 4 Megabit ROM size. When it was doubled to 8 Megabit, the developers used the space for cutscene graphics.
American advertising campaign
- Main article: Jamie Bunker.
In 1990, Renovation Products selected one of their game testers, Jamie Bunker, to be the spokesperson for the upcoming Sega Mega Drive game Gaiares' United States advertising campaign. Bunker posed with the game's United States release in a series of three advertisements, with each labeling the seventeen-year old spokesman a "professional gamer". Contrasting with the often juvenile and exaggerative statements of other game advertisements of the day, Renovation Products' advertisements simply featured a visibly genuine Bunker presenting the game with a recommendation of its quality, and has become one of the Mega Drive era's most fondly-remembered advertising campaigns.
The game's United States release shipped with a poster featuring the game's Western cover artwork.
The game was re-released in 2022 by Retro-Bit.
- Game Design: M.Yamamoto, K.Yokota
- Character Design: T.Iwata, K.Yokota
- Graphic Design: K.Yokota, T.Iwata, Y.Kuzumoto
- Program: M.Yamamoto
- Sound: S.Ogawa (Business Support Co., Ltd.)
- Special Thanks: K.Fukushima, Y.Fukushima, J.Fukushima, T.Fukushima, Y.Abe, T.Kinoshita, E.Kikuchi, T.Miura, T.Matsuzawa, A.Suzuki, Y.Shimizu, K.Ohta, Y.Yamauchi, T.Umezu
- Main article: Gaiares/Magazine articles.
- Main article: Gaiares/Promotional material.
|Sega Retro Average|
- Main article: Gaiares/Technical information.
- Gaiares Is Getting A Physical Re-Release With The Help Of The Kid Who Promoted It 31 Years Ago article by Damien McFerran at Nintendo Life
- Gaiares Is Back! Pre-Order the Best 16-Bit Shooter Ever Made! video essay by Defunct Games at YouTube
- File:Gaiares MD JP Box.jpg
- https://sega.jp/history/hard/megadrive/software_l.html (Wayback Machine: 2020-07-02 23:21)
- Beep! MegaDrive, "January 1991" (JP; 1990-12-08), page 8
- GamePro, "March 1991" (US; 1991-xx-xx), page 78
- File:Mdfan JP 1990-08.pdf, page 79
- http://cinnamonpirate.com/2007/07/unpublished-the-real-jamie-bunker/ (Wayback Machine: 2010-10-30 20:12)
- Sega Force, "January 1992" (UK; 1991-12-12), page 10
- File:Gaiares MD credits.pdf
- 1700 igr dlya Sega, "" (RU; 2001-xx-xx), page 83
- Beep! MegaDrive, "January 1991" (JP; 1990-12-08), page 36
- Computer + Video Giochi, "Aprile 1991" (IT; 1991-xx-xx), page 46
- Electronic Gaming Monthly, "March 1991" (US; 1991-xx-xx), page 18
- Entsiklopediya luchshikh igr Sega. Vypusk 1, "" (RU; 1999-xx-xx), page 316
- Famitsu, "" (JP; 199x-xx-xx), page 1
- Hippon Super, "January 1991" (JP; 1990-12-04), page 43
- Joystick, "Mars 1991" (FR; 1991-0x-xx), page 124
- Mega Drive Fan, "March 1991" (JP; 1991-02-08), page 99
- Mega Play, "March/April 1991" (US; 1991-04-xx), page 42
- MegaTech, "Xmas 1991" (UK; 1991-12-06), page 78
- MegaTech, "February 1992" (UK; 1992-01-20), page 40
- Mean Machines Sega, "October 1992" (UK; 1992-09-xx), page 138
- Player One, "Décembre 1991" (FR; 1991-xx-xx), page 60
- Power Play, "4/91" (DE; 1991-03-15), page 128
- Sega Pro, "April 1993" (UK; 1993-03-11), page 65
- Sega Saturn Magazine, "September 1995" (JP; 1995-08-08), page 86
- Tricks 16 bit, "Tricks Sega Gold 800 igr" (RU; 1998-03-20), page 15
- User, "Mártios 1992" (GR; 1992-0x-xx), page 83
- Video Games, "1/91" (DE; 1991-03-27), page 84