Gley Lancer[a] is a 1992 scrolling shooter video game developed and published by Masaya for the Sega Mega Drive.

Gley Lancer
Gley Lancer Japanese Mega Drive cover art.jpg
Original Japanese Mega Drive cover art
Developer(s)NCS Corporation
Producer(s)Toshirou Tsuchida
Designer(s)Hikaru Satō
Kaichi Sato
Programmer(s)Yukihiro Higuchi
Artist(s)Hiroshi Hayashi
Hiroshi Aizawa
Masanori Sakurai
Composer(s)Isao Mizoguchi
Masanori Hikichi
Noriyuki Iwadare
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
Sega Mega Drive
Virtual Console
Genre(s)Horizontally scrolling shooter


The gameplay in Gley Lancer is similar to most shoot 'em up games on the Mega Drive.

During the game, the Gley Lancer can toggle through four different speeds. This is always done in a 1-2-3-4-3-2-repeat order, although the starting point can be chosen in the game options. By shooting silver and blue pods, the player can pick up various weapons which take the form of Gunners:

  • Twin Shot: Fires a rapid stream of double blue energy pulses. Basic weapon.
  • Laser: Fires thin white lasers. Not quite as powerful as Twin Shot, but pierces enemies and inflicts multiple strikes on large enemies.
  • 5-Way: Shoots an arc of five purple energy pulses. Although the range is excellent, it suffers from a low fire rate—only one salvo from each Gunner can be on-screen at once.
  • Burner: Shoots moderate-range fireballs that can track along any solid surfaces they strike.
  • Spread Bomb: Shoots flickering blue bombs. The bombs have low speed and fire rate, but create secondary explosions upon striking an enemy or solid surface.
  • Saber: Generates a continuous, short/mid-range beam of purple energy.
  • Bound Shot: Fires a stream of rapid green energy pulses that reflect off of solid surfaces.

The player can have up to two Gunners. Both Gunners will always have the same weapon, with subsequent power-ups overwriting them both.

In addition, at the beginning of the game, the player chooses one of seven formations to use for the Movers that the Gunners are mounted on.

  • Normal: The Gunners will face in the same direction the ship is moving. While C is held down, the facing of the Gunners is locked, regardless of how the ship moves.
  • Reverse: Like Normal, except that the Gunners will face the opposite direction of the ship's movement.
  • Search: The Gunners will automatically aim at the nearest enemy. Tapping C will toggle between the Gunners aiming at same or different targets.
  • Multi: Each Gunner is restricted to either the top or bottom 180 degree arc of the ship. Horizontal motion will cause the Gunners to swivel in that direction. Although this prevents concentrated fire in any direction except the horizontals, it permits three-way firing. Holding down C, or only moving vertically, will keep the Gunners aiming in the same directions.
  • Multi-R: Like Multi, except the Gunners will swivel in the direction opposite the ship's horizontal motion.
  • Shadow: The Gunners imitate every motion of the ship, following a short distance behind. However, they can only fire forward. Holding down C fixes their positions relative to the ship.
  • Roll: The Gunners constantly spin around the ship at 180 degrees from each other. Normally, they shoot away from each other, resulting in a kind of spiral fire pattern. Tapping C toggles between this and the Gunners both firing forward.


The story is narrated through manga-style panel illustrations, similar to Phantasy Star IV or Gaiares. The manual of the Virtual Console version includes translation of the Japanese voice and text of the first few narrations.

The story follows Lucia, a 16-year-old star fighter pilot in the Earth Federation. A war breaks out between humans and an unknown alien race in the year 2025. Lucia's father, Ken, a high-ranking admiral in the Federation Navy, is captured after his ship is warped out of the combat zone with 4 alien modules which have the ability of teleportation. Lucia, heart-broken after hearing her father's disappearance, decides to hijack the prototype fighter CSH-01-XA "Gley Lancer" with the help of her friend Teim and go after her father.


The game's title is an example of engrish, which was common of many shooting games of that era. The "r" from "grey" was substituted with "l" resulting in the game's title.[1][2]

The game was released exclusively in Japan on July 16, 1992.[3][4] The game was re-released on the Wii Virtual Console in Japan on February 26, 2008, in Europe on May 16, 2008 and in North America on July 21, 2008.[5] Before the Virtual Console re-release, an unofficial fan-made translation patch was made available in English.[6]

In 2019, the game was given a physical re-release in Japan.[7][3][8]


Review scores
Nintendo Life7/10[9]
Mega Drive Advanced Gaming89%[11]
Mean Machines48/100[14]
Power Play79/100[15]
Video Games80/100[16]
Beep! MegaDrive6.75/10[17]
Sega Force79%[1]
Consoles +87%[18]

The game received mixed reviews upon release. In Japan, four reviewers for Famitsu gave it a score of 22 out of 40.[4] Mega Drive Advanced Gaming praised the game, giving it a score of 89%.[19]

When the game was released on the Virtual Console, it received yet more reviews. Eurogamer gave the Virtual Console release a score of 4/10.[10] Nintendo Life gave the game a score of 7/10.[9]


  1. ^ Japanese: グレイ ランサー Hepburn: Gurei Ransā?, also known as Advanced Busterhawk Gley Lancer.


  1. ^ a b "Mega Drive Reviewed! Greylancer". Sega Force. No. 10. United Kingdom. October 1992. pp. 52–53.
  2. ^ "Full of Eastern Promise: Gley Lancer". Retro Gamer. No. 21. United Kingdom: Imagine Publishing. February 2006.
  3. ^ a b Life, Nintendo (2019-04-11). "One Of Retro Gaming's Most Collectable Shmups Is Getting A Cheap Reprint". Nintendo Life. Archived from the original on 2019-04-11. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  4. ^ a b c "グレイランサー [メガドライブ] / ファミ通.com". Archived from the original on 2013-06-26. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  5. ^ VC-Reviews: Gley Lancer (Sega Mega Drive)
  6. ^ "". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-08-11.
  7. ^ "メガドラの名作横スクロールシューティング『グレイランサー』が再販決定。MD/MD互換機用で6月6日に発売". ファミ通.com (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2019-04-15. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  8. ^ 株式会社インプレス (2019-04-11). "27年の時を経て、メガドライブ「グレイランサー」がMD/MD互換機用"カートリッジ"にて復活! メサイヤ黄金期の横スクロールシューティングがここに". GAME Watch (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2019-04-12. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  9. ^ a b Life, Nintendo (2008-05-16). "Review: Gley Lancer (Virtual Console / Sega Mega Drive)". Nintendo Life. Archived from the original on 2017-09-28. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  10. ^ a b Whitehead, Dan (2008-05-20). "Virtual Console Roundup". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on 2014-09-16. Retrieved 2019-05-06.
  11. ^ a b "Review: Gley Lancer". MegaTech. No. 22. United Kingdom: EMAP. December 1992. p. 94.
  12. ^ "Review: Gley Lancer". Mega. No. 2. United Kingdom. November 1992. p. 54.
  13. ^ Destroy, Jim (September 1992). "GLEYLANCER". Joystick (in French). No. 30. France. p. 178.
  14. ^ "Review: Gley Lancer". Mean Machines Sega. United Kingdom. November 1992. pp. 102–104.
  15. ^ "Review: Gley Lancer". Power Play (in German). Germany. October 1992.
  16. ^ "Test Ein stern am ballerhimmel Gleylancer". Video Games (in German). Germany. August 1992. pp. 56–57.
  17. ^ "BE Mega Dog Race: グレイ ランサー". Beep! MegaDrive (in Japanese). Japan: Softbank. August 1992. p. 24.
  18. ^ "Mega Drive Review: Gley Lancer". Consoles + (in French). No. 11. France. July–August 1992. pp. 58–60.
  19. ^ "Review: Gley Lancer". Mega Drive Advanced Gaming. No. 2. United Kingdom. October 1992. pp. 32–35.

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