Test – Layer Section & Galactic Attack S-Tribute: a tribute to a classic shmup


If it found its audience on Saturn, Layer Section had mixed success and is still not well known even within the shooter community. The publisher City Connection has decided to take it out of the drawers by delivering a very academic port to the latest generation consoles.

When you think of the Sega Saturn, you will probably remember classics like NiGHTS, Guardian Heroes, Panzer Dragoon and perhaps if you are a fan of shooters the excellent Radiant Sivergun. But definitely not Layer Section, also known as Galactic Attack, Gunlock or Rayforce. Just that.

The fights are of rare intensity.

Released by Taito at the time, Layer Section remains one of the most atypical shooters ever developed. We are a long way from bullet hell at the Cavern. The title of Taito is intended as a technical shooter whose gameplay is entirely based on a target lock system. Atypical because suddenly, here the shots are executed with a delay and forces the player to anticipate the shots and movements of the enemy with a delay of a few seconds each time between the blocking, the shooting and the explosion of the enemies. The pace is slow compared to other shooters, but the clashes are extremely intense given the game-design. Dodging enemy fire can quickly get very complicated. Because in the Layer section, your ship will explode at the slightest touch. Enemy fire is also varied, from blaster blaster to (stretched) laser fire to sector blast. You must remain mobile while anticipating enemy models. It will take a few tries to complete your first run in the game.

The layer section is not very long. Wait about 30 minutes to see the end. But its 7 levels are not easily mastered and some boss fights quickly become a real challenge.

It will be necessary to find the weak point in the defense of each boss.

Another peculiarity of the game: Layer Section has the appearance of a space work. He puts us in command of a small ship caught in the middle of a galactic war. No loading screens between chapters, the game is one block, with very smooth transitions between levels.

Definitely old-school and very original in its approach to the genre, Layer Section is a title that will manage to surprise fans of a genre that is still too little known to the general public – but not necessarily to seduce them because, as we said, the approach here is very different. The game is technical, it requires a certain rigor in the approach to combat and a real learning of the game mechanics.

Intermediate leaders are also on the program.

Clearly, here is a surprising title, which certainly deserved to come out. However, this port to consoles and PCs remains dubious. On the one hand, because the arcade version is not included. We will have to settle for the two Saturn versions of the game, on the other hand because the port is ultra minimalist. No new content on the horizon, poor menus, basic emulation … And images that haven’t been reworked. At just under € 30, the bill is high. Note in passing that even for beginners, contact may be difficult. No tutorials on the horizon or unlimited lives. You will have to start over and over to master the mechanics of the game …


A relatively unknown shoot ’em up from Sega Saturn’s catalog, Layer Section has the merit of offering extremely technical gameplay and an original approach to the genre, with slow but intense comparisons. Here we are faced with a “lock & shoot”, in which the player must anticipate the movements of his enemies and make decisions in a quarter of a second. The learning curve is huge. The title in this sense is not suitable for beginners. However, it is an amazing game and undoubtedly one of the little-known nuggets in the late console catalog, which deserved to be made available again. However, this console port is disappointing given the lack of modernization in the interface, the absence of the arcade version of the game or the remastering in terms of graphics. At € 30 the bill is high, but connoisseurs will still largely find their bill.

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Layer and S-Tribute section of the Galactic Attack

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