| paleface [sys=PS1; cat=Shooter_Vert; loc=JPN] |
|Tate-mode vertical shooter, or two of them rather, from back in the old days when shooters relied on separate, fast, aimed bullets to take you down, rather than big suffocating swarms of slow bullets. Great for reflexes rather than the memorization exercises of some recent shmups.|
These first two Raiden games feature relatively modest sprites and effects but an incredible amount of ground detail, and it's a beautiful thing to see a helicopter explode in a big firewall, the wreckage of the frame sailing forward with momentum while smaller pieces of the craft spin lazily down to splash in separate little splashes in the water below. Raiden II has more of this than Raiden, of course, but both look pretty nice particularly considering that they're fairly long in the tooth. They're also very, very difficult with fast little bullets whizzing all over the place but mostly right at you.
Raiden II introduced a third weapon, a semi-auto-tracking lighting gun thing that projects this writhing snake of purple electricity around the screen, whipping itself from target to target with a nice crackling effect. It's something of the lazy man's gun though so I tend to prefer the strong, straight-shooting blue lasers. The third weapon makes Raiden II quite a bit more difficult (if you don't want to use it) because of the way in which powerups are handled: there's only one kind of weapon powerup but they flip through the three weapon types as they spin in tight little circles around the screen, so you've got to time picking them up carefully or you'll get the wrong weapon, generally at near the lowest power level. Argh! This becomes rather frustrating after a while--I like my powerups simple and no-nonsense. The bomb and missles do something similar in Raiden II, since there are two types of each but only one bomb powerup and one missle powerup.
However, II has the advantage over I in that it isn't all based on checkpoints: in the first game, when you die you don't start off at that same spot with your next ship, you have to restart at an earlier point in the level. This makes boss fights very difficult, needless to say. Now, certain games that I like a lot (Gunbird 2) do this, but only in the later levels--Raiden I does this from the very beginning like there's no tomorrow.
Well anyway, I'll just try to stop bitching and be thankful for this quality double vshmup port.