Talk about Raiden
is not just talking of "Another old people's videogame", it's about talking one of the must successful shooting games and a survivor who managed to withstand 25 years until today, as the series will be getting the fifth entry in the franchise (Raiden V
The gameplay is more than just an average shooter, the basic elements of shoot, power up and bomb are present, but unlike any other shmup, Raiden
was among the first games to include a switchable weapon feature, As you start the game you'll have the Vulcan shot
equipped, which is represented by a Red Crystal
, grabbing the Blue Crystal
switches the weapon for a Laser shot
, which is the "Powerful" weapon, but while the Vulcan's strong point is the spread shot
gimmick, the Laser is a straight shot
, but if you played this game through all this 25 years, you'll know better than i that if you get close to an enemy with the Vulcan spread shots you'll inflict a major damage to your enemy than the Laser itself
. But shots aren't just the only weapons you'll find on your mission, you can pick missiles marked by a green "H"
or a yellow "M"
. The "H" gives you the Homing Missile
, which chases your enemies, but its a very weak weapon, this is the kind of weapon that works well on a "Laser-using" player, to compensate the lack of the spread shot featured in the Vulcan. The yellow "M" gives you a standard Missile
, which goes straight forward, but it leaves an explosion after hitting an enemy, this is the "Power Type"
sub-weapon of the game, combine this missile with the Vulcan and you'll have the strongest weapon combination of the game. The bomb does the common thing known on any game, clearing the screen of bullets and inflicting damages to the enemies. But if you're playing with a friend there's an additional special weapon
, if one of the players gets behind (example Player 2 ship in front of Player 1) and a bullet from the other player hits the ship it will transform into a splash of glowing green orbs that inflict massive damages to the enemies
, with some practice and teamwork you can kill a boss in no time. Each time you pick a power up once you're fully powered up you'll get 5,000 points
, the same if you pick a missile or an extra bomb.
Throughout the levels there's medals that combined with the unused bombs they will give a good amount of bonus points at the end of a level. But to make the medals valid you have to survive the stage without losing a single life, if you die you'll lose your medals and extra bombs, reducing your bonus drastically. Once you finish the 8 stages of the game you'll get a Mission Complete Bonus of 1,000,000 points
, then the game repeats, but this time the Mission Complete Bonus will be 2,000,000
. The bonus will increase as the player repeats the 8 levels again and again.
The gameplay is perfect and breaks with the basics of your common shmup game, but there's one complaint i have about. When you get Game Over you're sent back to a "checkpoint"
, it's not as drastic as in R-Type
, but it's kinda annoying (specially in the last levels). This start back only happens on the "Solo Play", when you're playing a "Dual Play"
game (2 Players) you can start where you left off.
Graphcally, the game is gorgeously made, starting off with your ship design, which may look "compact" but that's just momentary because once you power up your ship (Lv.5) it will change to it's "Power Up Mode", doing a little animated transformation. There is plenty of well drawn mechanical objects ranging from the small tanks to the fortified temple in stage 4, the stage 2 boss puts the word "compact" on it's deployable flyers, as they are launched as folded squares that unfold revealing their true form as flying projectiles. not just on the mechanical concept, but also on the scenery where we can see minor details such as people walking on bridges, cows on the grass, tanks hidden on the farms, the waving water on the river flowing on stage 1, the destructable stone pilars in stage 4, the craters left by the explosions have glowing red rubble, and the best part of all, the combination of sci-fi and fantasy in stage 6
, where the two concepts combine in spectacular details such as lakes on a crater, space bases, and an ancient temple
with walking chariot/tanks with heads that comes to life with rapid color changing effects.
The sound department was pretty solid and well composed, electronic keyboards, digitized drums, and anime style explosion sound effects, most of the game tunes became memorable in both shmup and videogame history with themes that fulfill the ambient of the air and space combat. From the adventurous "Gallantry"
to the suspenseful and aggressive "Go to Blazes"
and the action paced "Rough and Tumble"
. Curiously, the first seven seconds of "Name Regist"
, the Game Over and Name Entry theme sounds very similar to the song "Faithfully"
by Journey, sharing the same coincidence with "Electric Tower"
the stage theme of Elec Man from Mega Man
- Raiden means "Thunder and Lightning", it was also the name of a World War II japanese plane, which it was codenamed "Jack" by the US military.
- Raiden is pronounced "Rhy-den" instead of "Ray-den".
- Stage 1 makes a brief appearance in the ending of Raiden III
, in this scene you can see the crashed Raiden where the fairy merged. Strangely, the crashed Raiden was misplaced to nearby the crashed large ship instead of being near the rails where the bosses moved.
- The songs "Gallantry", "Rough and Tumble" and "Go to Blazes" were re-arranged for Raiden DX
, while "Go to Blazes" was re-arranged again for Raiden IV
- The first seven seconds of "Name Regist" were re-used in Raiden III
as "GAME OVER for Raiden I" and in Raiden IV
as "GAME OVER for Raiden".
- An almost arcade perfect port of Raiden
was released on the PlayStation as part of The Raiden Project
and on Raiden Legacy
on the PC and Android.
- The bootleg boards of NMK's Thunder Dragon
uses the Seibu sound hardware from Raiden
(a Z80 @ 3.579545 Mhz), so this "Raiden
Killer" plays "Rough and Tumble", "Lightning War" and "Go To Blazes!" as background themes, and "Fighting Thunder" as Stage title card.
So what we have here is a testimony of a 25 year old veteran of shoot-em' up action which proves to be a worthy challenge even to this day. 9/10