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 Post subject: Raiden - The Console Ports in One Review
PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:20 pm 


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RAIDEN / RAIDEN TRAD - When the Fighting Thunder strikes in our house.

Imagine for a while you're a child in a christmas morning of the early 90's, between 1991 and 1994. Scatman John and MC Hammer were on the radio playlists, Michael Jackson relased "Dangerous" and we saw the King of Pop alongside Michael Jordan in the video for "Jam", Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park was roaring on the theaters, the "NBA Boom" made Basketball the sport for excellence among the youth, and Raiden was the shmup that everybody talks about as Raiden II was released, but what about our home consoles? Will the Fighting Thunder will strike on our 16-bit SNES or Genesis?, and the answer was yes.

In 1990, Raiden made it's debut on the MS-DOS / CD-Rom home computers, one year later, Raiden made it's arrival on the PC Engine (TurboGrafx 16). In 1992, Raiden Trad arrived on the Super Nintendo, in this year, Super Raiden was launched on the PC Engine CD (TurboGrafx-CD). In 1993, the Sega Genesis version appeared. But if you're very lucky to live in Japan or your family made a trip there and bought an FM Towns Marty computer, you'll be catching Raiden Trad in November 1991, just at the nick of time for christmas, and what a christmas gift you'd had (I'll talk about this port later in this review). But if you were an Atari-maniac, and you had the Atari Lynx, Raiden will be in your portable 8-bit console in 1990, and if you had the "Jag" (Atari Jaguar), you'll be playing Raiden in 1994. There was plans for a Commodore Amiga version, but sadly it didn't saw the light.

So anyway let's start with the "Raiden in the House" reviews, and this will be a quite long trip to "Memory Lane" a happy one or a quite bitter one depending on which version you had.

NOTE: For a more "In-depth analysis" of the gameplay, better read the review of the arcade version of Raiden.




RAIDEN / RAIDEN TRAD - GAMEPLAY REVIEW

Raiden Trad (SNES): To begin with let's go with the SNES version. This version was released by Electro Brain, and developed by Micronics (the ones of the infamous NES port of Capcom's 1942) and Toei Animation, yes, the anime studio behind memorable series like Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon and Saint Seiya made a Raiden game, curiously, in the US version there's no mention to Seibu Kaihatsu, the real producers of Raiden, while the japanese version gives them credit.

Before starting the game we will notice a little flaw on the options, when you push right on the D-pad, the cursor moves to the left and viceversa, i never expected a flaw like this on an 16-bit console and it's a little bit disorientating, but fortunately is something you can get used to once you know what's up with the options.
As for the main game, at first looks promising as the shooting action keeps its initial faithfulness to the original arcade. The basic elements are there, Red Crystal powers up your vulcan guns, Blue switches the Vulcan for a Laser shot, "H" is for Homing and "M" is for Missile. However the arcade faithfulness goes down with the weaponry, the Homing missiles are way too fast and powerful even on its level 1, and wait for the H to turn into the "M" weapon takes a lot of time unlike the arcade. i'm not joking around, it takes like 10 seconds or so to change. The fairy location was also changed, remember where she was hidden in Stage 1?, you'll notice that shooting on the bush of the island is not working, the reason is simple, it was changed to one of the bushes in Stage 2, and there's another one in the water on Stage 3. Many parts of the game are out of the arcade accuracy like the boss attack patterns, in Stage 2, the boss throws you the small gliders while firing the spiral of bullets and the frontal bullet attack combined, and for worse many, many things were butchered. In Stage 3, the small platforms don't leave medals when you destroy the cannons and the same problem goes with the two large vessels (which were changed from being two cannoned to a single cannon vessel), Stage 4 boss doesn't move, the boss in Stage 5 is already on the edge of the cliff instead of rolling on the airfield runway, but the worst of all the tone downs in this game is in Stage 6. The escape from Earth's atmosphere was removed to a "blue to black" background change and the worst of all, the stage is just a simple "shoot asteroids" that goes on and on. The asteroid surface was gone and the ancient tanks bosses were replaced by the stage 2 boss. Another problem was that the game is way too stingy with the continues, only were able to continue one more time, after that it's Game Over and you'll have to start all over again. To finish this part of the review, the rankings doesn't allow you to enter your name, so you and your friend will appear as "1p" and "2p".

Raiden Trad (Sega Genesis): In contrast to the SNES version, the Genesis version (by Micronet and Seibu Kaihatsu) is more faithful to the arcade, the missing things from the SNES version made their way on the Genesis, the boss patterns are not "all at the same time", the cannon platforms on stage 3 can be destroyed, along with their medal dropping feature, the stage 4 boss finally moves, the leaving Earth sequence in Stage 6 was included and the best part, Stage 6 is arcade accurate, not only that, the game adds a plus after finishing the original 8 stages: A post-credits Special Stage made for experts since the enemies in this level take more hits to be destroyed. The replay value in the Genesis version was greately improved, except for one fatal flaw: Start back everytime you lose a life. After losing a life, you're sent back to a certain point of the stage, kinda like in R-Type, and this flaw isn't a Genesis-only thing. The Turbografx version of Raiden and PC Engine CD Super Raiden also have this flaw, which only adds an unnecessary amount of frustration. And if that wasn't enough, the game lacks of a two-player option. Out of that, the weapons are more accurate to the arcade, specially the missiles and their strengths which were increased in the SNES version.

Raiden Trad (FM Towns Marty): Now that we've talked about the SNES and Genesis ports of Raiden Trad, let's talk about a quite obscure, yet incredible well made port of Raiden. Raiden Densetsu: Raiden Trad (it has both japanese and english names on the title screen) it was an arcade port made by Success (later known by both Cotton and Psyvariar series) and KID Corp (Kindle Imagine Develop) (NES G.I. Joe games, Low G-Man: The Low Gravity Man, and Burai Fighter), and for what i saw on videos on the 'net is perfect at first sight. What can i say, it's arcade perfect, if you have this version you'll probably are the luckiest gamer on Earth, because it's the dream of an arcade aficionado realized: Never be in line to play his/her favorite game again, all the arcade excitement at home, same graphics, same gameplay, no toned down things, no quarters or tokens required and obviously no dollars to spend. The game have the true potential of being the definitive arcade port except for one thing, the same fatal flaw from the Genesis and TurboGrafx and PC Engine versions: Start back when you lose a life, and like such versions, losing a life means reseting the medal count back to zero after respawning.
Despite the start back flaw, there's some new features in the game. The first one is the option of choose which "player ship" do you want to be, so you can be the red ship or the blue one and still being controlling it with the Player 1 control, along with the 2 player feature. The second is the "Competition". This is what you can call the "Survival Mode" where the main objective is to see how far you can go on the game with no lives or continues, Both Competition A and B apparently have no difference with each other.

Raiden (Atari Lynx): Some games are obviously not meant for 8-bit ports, examples can be found everywhere on any 8-bit console: After Burner and Space Harrier on both Sega Master System and Nintendo Entertainment System, not just because of tone down things, but also on the drastic changes on the over all game. The Atari Lynx port of Raiden suffers this issue too, starting off with your weapon system. The "P" items gives you the 3 way shot and BOTH Regular Missiles and Homing Missiles, picking a Missile item will deactivate this, and if you pic the Laser while having the 3 way vulcan, you'll have a "Laser-Vulcan" mix of some sort, as you can fire your laser beam while 2 spread vulcan shots are fired on the sides, the positive thing of this is that even if it goes against the arcade pattern, it comes in handy when it comes to have more firepower. But guess what, when you complete a level, your power level is RESETED for no logical reason. I understand the fact of losing my power ups when you die but when i complete a level without getting hit once?, that's complete nonsense. But that's just the tip of the iceberg of flaws in this version of Raiden, a signal that the problems with this 8-bit version is just the beginning. Stages 4, 5, 7 and 8 were removed in this version, and they're replaced with stage 5 and a mix of Stages 2 and 3. In total, this version of Raiden is 5 stages long then the game repeats in an infinite loop, sadly without the Mission Complete bonus. In the bright side, the "asteroid stage" manages to keep the arcade accuracy, except for one thing: the ancient tanks have been replaced with the Stage 1 bosses, a very similar (yet not as drastic) flaw to the SNES version of Raiden Trad.

Raiden (Atari Jaguar): If i complained about the lack of things from the SNES version, the Jaguar version incorporates them with ease, along with the Two-Player option. However there's still more differences with the arcade, first off the take off sequence at the beginning of the game start apart from Stage 1, as your ship takes off, the screen will go black and you'll get a "Get Ready" message on the screen and then you'll start the game. You can also select the number of credits you want to be granted for your game, from 2 credits to 8. Also, when you lose a life the game doesn't send you back which is also well recieved, so you can fly alone without being sent back to a point, but as in the arcade, having a second player is always a good help, and the Jaguar version included the "glowing orb" 2-player subweapon, which is of great help.

Raiden (MS-DOS / CD Rom): After seeing the gameplay of the other home ports, there's not too much to say about the gameplay. The DOS PC and CD-Rom unit helps in the purpose of giving a little of arcade accuracy to this version of Raiden. There's a two player game option, If you die you don't start back, which is of great help if you're playing on the "Veteran" difficulty. The boss battles have been toned down, in Stage 1 you only fight one tank. Unfortunately, there's not too much gameplay videos or screenshots to see the rest of the game, but i'm sure the stages are at least arcade accurate.

Raiden (Commodore Amiga AGA): Did you know there was an unreleased prototype of Raiden for the Amiga version?, sometimes there's game that for some reason they didn't saw the light on consoles (SNES Universal Soldier, Star Fox 2), but thanks to the internet, this obscurities finally see the light, and as we can see, there was plans for Raiden which whatever the reason it was forgotten. The gameplay is basically the same as the many, many ports. However, this demo or prototype only has one playable stage: Stage 4. Just one stage that repeats until you turn off the computer or you get killed, there's not too much to say, just the fact that this port had a lot, way a lot of potential, but sadly it was canned and forgotten.

Raiden (TurboGrafx-16 / PC Engine): Developed by Nec Avenue and Hudson Soft (Star Soldier series), this was the very first 16 bit console port of Raiden, all the main elements of the original game are there, the power up system, the laser, the Fairy item, the medals, the same bosses (best example is Stage 6), it aims to be one of the best home ports of Raiden, but it has the same fatal flaw of the Genesis and FM Towns Raiden Trad's: Start back after dying. As i said before, this kind of things should be only for R-Type, because in Raiden's case, and mostly on the PC Engine version, trying to take your stand while having Level 1 in firepower is frustrating, and if that wasn't enough, the bullets are a little bit faster than the other versions. However there's a couple of tricks that will come in handy. The first one is the "Power Continue", after losing all your lives and you're on the Continue screen, wait until the timer reaches Zero and press Run. If done right, you'll continue with an extra Bomb and 3 Power-ups, in the Japanese version you have to press buttons I and II, then wait until the time hits zero and push Run. The best part of it is you can rely on this trick on all the credits. Speaking of credits, if you press I and II quickly on the continue screen you can gain 3 extra credits.

Super Raiden (PC Engine CD): The gameplay in Super Raiden is basically the same as in the PC Engine / TurboGrafx version, the major difference between Raiden on TurboGrafx-16 and Super Raiden is the inclusion of two new Extra Stages, kinda like what Micronet did with Raiden Trad on the Sega Genesis, but even better, as they don't feel excessively large like in the Genesis or waaaay too difficult, the start back thing after losing a life already makes the PC Engine ports unnecessarily hard. The "Power Continue" trick was removed in this version, but there's three new codes to give you a hand. The first one is to increase your number of continues, when you're on the countdown screen, press I and II buttons to obtain 6 continues, the second one is pressing I and II and Select to obtain 9 continues. The third one is the Stage Select code, when you're on the Title Screen, press I, II, Select, Up, Right, Down, Left, Left, Down, Right, Select, I, I, Up, Run. The rest of the game is up to you and your luck.








RAIDEN / RAIDEN TRAD - GRAPHICS REVIEW

Raiden Trad (SNES): What it lacks in gameplay, it kinda manage to compensate that on the graphics, because they're pretty accurate to the arcade in several aspects, i don't say "major" due to the butchered things, not just the stages were butchered (I've already mention what Micronics did on stage 6), but also some of the enemy animations were gone, like the rotating cannon tanks in stage 1, as they "barrels" are unanimated, but their bullet pattern changes like if they do rotate. Your ship sprite gets a slight "shrinking", you'll notice this at the moment your ship takes off from the carrier. Other toned down things were the explosions, instead of having small, medium and large explosions, the regular and large explosions are made by placing several small explosions together, and the same goes for the craters left by the destroyed enemies. When your ship reaches its fifth power level, it will transform without its animation. Speaking of power ups, apparently the SNES can't make diagonal bullets, so the game designers change the shape of the spread vulcan, for example level 6 is 4 rows of 2 bullets with a 4 bullet straight shot, the Homing missiles are orange projectiles, the "M" icon for the missile is red instead of yellow, and the bomb icon is orange with a yellow "B" instead of grey with red. So in conclusion about the graphics, they're good and accurate, but they could been better if it wasn't for the tone down in several things, that's my best way to sum up the whole thing.

Raiden Trad (Sega Genesis): The Genesis version while it's color palette is more limited than the SNES version, it makes a better effort on keeping up the arcade accuracy. The "Panels" that appears at the beginning of the game are present, but simplified to equal squares rather than random shaped figures, there's large explosions and when a boss explodes it's covered in a multitude of small and large explosions, compensing the lack of a giant explosion from the original arcade. Something that you'll notice is that your ship is already on it's "Power Up Mode" which you originally got after powering up your ship constantly.

Raiden Trad (FM Towns Marty): If you saw the arcade and then you check the FM Towns version, then you'll be surprised because they're virtually identical to the arcade game. Same color palette, same effects, same animations, just some slightly minor differences such as the "lives" indicator for player 1 are represented with small blue ships instead of red and the fact that the name entry screen takes place on the "Attract Mode" Ranking screen from the original game. It's really something to admire because most of the console ports tones things down, but this version does the opposite in favor a more complete arcade experience for the players delight. The only problem is that part of the bottom of the screen is "Off-screen" example of this can be seen on the bombs, which if it wasn't for the visible small pixels which forms the triangle shaped "B" icon, you wouldn't have an idea of how many bombs are you carrying (UPDATE: Apparently this screen flaw only happens if you play the game on an emulator).

Raiden (Atari Lynx): A problem that we found at the very start is requiring to "flip" the Atari Lynx to simulate the arcade like screen (handling it in an upright position), while this arcade-accuracy can be praised, i can't say the same for the scrolling. Raiden is quite a huge game in screen terms, and the Atari Lynx port has to rely on the multiscreen thing kinda like in Thunder Force IV, but in Raiden it makes a turn for the worse as some enemies can be hidden, resulting in potential cheap deaths. Graphically, it's barely recognizable as Raiden, if it wasn't for the title screen and the weapon system i'd think it's another game, the ship doesn't resemble the Fighting Thunder that we all know. Here you are a generic looking blue ship. On the other side, the scenery truly makes it's best to maintain the arcade accuracy, even with it's very limited 8-bit color palette, the best well made job is in Stage 1 which can be recognized as the 1st stage of the original Raiden, that's the only positive thing i can say about the graphics.

Raiden (Atari Jaguar): The advertising blurb on the package says "Arcade vivid grapics", and in my opinion they're a little bit off from the arcade, while they're better than the Sega Genesis, the Jaguar is still below the arcade accuracy from the Super Nintendo and the FM Towns Marty versions, the color palette of this game is the reason why, the scenery features alternate colors, bosses look "re-drawn", everything in this game feel more like something that you will se on the Amiga computer rather than a 64-bit console (with potential of arcade perfection) like the Jaguar claims to be. Even the PS ports in The Raiden Project are arcade perfect (mostly Raiden II which is a port of the PC version), so if the Jaguar is 64 bit, it could be better by far. Another point is that the status "screen" isn't just a "straight" line, instead is an "Irregular" divided hi-tech panel which it has an uneven lining which slightly blocks the visibility. I think Atari tried to be fancy and futuristic, but it's unnecessary. The color of the second player ship is a darker blue just like in Raiden III and IV, and surely Raiden V.

Raiden (MS-DOS / CD Rom): In terms of graphics, the PC version looks very similar to the Atari Jaguar version, however there's some details that bring the difference between versions. Starting off with the lack of a take off sequence, instead it sends you to the action already, the ship is already on it's "Power Up" mode like in the Genesis version, but in the color palette, the PC version aims to a better arcade accuracy than the Atari Jaguar. One thing to mention is that the bomb effect was changed from the explosion to a flashing screen and the bosses are pretty well detailed, kinda like an enhanced version of the arcade.

Raiden (Commodore Amiga AGA): Like in the Genesis and PC CD-Rom versions, the ship starts already on it's Power Up mode, I don't know the reason of why this change if we compare this ports with the Turbografx / PC Engine CD, FM Towns and SNES versions, which retains the "transformability" of the ship. I wanna think the ship was already transformed because the game was on it's "Alpha Stage" of development, so anything goes since this is an unreleased prototype. The color palette of the game, it's kinda strange, some colors don't match or try to make an arcade-like coloring. If we compare this game with other Amiga games like the Turrican series, then we can conclude the prototype has a lot to be desired, but not as bad as the Atari Lynx. Back to the graphic part, the "Score and Status" are on a smaller screen kinda like the Atari Jaguar and the Genesis version, there's some fancy details like the "RAIDEN" logo with flaming effects on the letters and a diagram of the Raiden ship. The bomb effect replaces the explosion for an earth-shaking effect. All of this are a testimony of a promising and probably the definitive home version, but it died on the middle of its mission.

Raiden (TurboGrafx-16 / PC Engine): Graphically looks better than the Sega Genesis, PC and Jaguar, but not as arcade accurate as the SNES or the FM Towns. The reason of this is the darker tone on the color palette. But who am i to blame this little flaw on the accuracy, it's the very first home conversion of Raiden, and to be fair, it's a well made effort to pull the arcade atmosphere on the graphics.

Super Raiden (PC Engine CD): There's not too much to say on the graphics for Super Raiden, since they're the same as in the original PC Engine version, the only new things is the Stages 9 and 10, which include new enemies like the small robots which replaces the small planes, small jets that flip to attack you, new tank designs, a longer space station stage with spiral wormholes on the background, and the inclusion of new bosses. The walking tanks in Stage 9 look like a preview of Raiden II, due to it's similarity to the Stage 1 boss on the sequel. Stage 10 Boss is a two boss fight: A spaceship with arms, and a small but strong and quick starfighter. There's also a new ending and credits sequence and that's all what i can say about Super Raiden.







RAIDEN / RAIDEN TRAD - SOUND REVIEW

Raiden Trad (SNES): In sound terms, this is where the SNES port is good at, while the music doesn't have the same synthetization of the arcade version, the sound card of the SNES manages to give us an interesting arrangement of the soundtrack which gives more momentum and speed to the music. However the tracklist is way out of the arcade accuracy, "Lightning War" is played in Stage 3, "Fighting Thunder" in Stage 2, and "Rough and Tumble" in Stage 5, also in the Sound Test their names are mixed up, Lightning War is called Rough and Tumble, Rough and Tumble is Fighting Thunder, and Fighting Thunder is Lightning War. At least they kept "Gallantry" as the theme for Stages 1 and 4. Fighting Thunder's (Lightning War) introduction was extended before the rest of instruments hit, which improves the lenght of the theme quite well. There's some arcade digitized sound effects, like the bomb explosion sound, a variation of the bomb sound effect was made for the boss explosion.

Raiden Trad (Sega Genesis): If we compare this game with other coin-op ports like After Burner II, Grind Stormer, Super Hang-On and Out Run, the music of the Genesis version leaves the player with something to be desired, some songs were shortened in some parts (Gallantry for example), probably for the console's limitations. I'm not saying the soundtrack is bad or something. While the sound processor of the Genesis isn't as good as the SNES, the "tracklist" is more arcade accurate than the SNES version, Lightning War is actually Lightning War in stage 2, Rough and Tumble in Stage 3, and Fighting Thunder is Fighting Thunder as the Stage 5 theme. There's also an original new theme for the Post-credits Special Stage.

Raiden Trad (FM Towns Marty): While the gameplay and graphics are completely faithful to the arcade version, the music is the opposite, why?, because it was replaced with a "CD Quality" arranged soundtrack. This new version of the soundtrack add elements from hard rock, electronic keyboards and synthesized trumpets giving the OST more life and intensity ("Gallantry" and "Rough and Tumble" are perfect examples). Although this arrangement sounds beautiful and vibrant, goes off the track on the concept of "Arcade Accuracy". When the CD enhanced games arrived the designers aimed to distance as far as possible from chiptunes. In one way this sounds interesting, but in another way this sacrifies the arcade perfection when it comes to home versions of arcade games, even when CD audio can play arcade perfect soundtracks. The FM Towns version of Raiden wasn't the only one with CD arrangement, Super Raiden on the PC Engine CD had its own CD arrangement. Compare that with Super Darius on the PC Engine CD, the game had the original arcade soundtrack, along with some sound effects from the arcade, so in the FM Towns Raiden could be the same case, or at least had the option of include the original arcade OST and the arrangement as optional, but still is a pretty damn good arrangement.

Raiden (Atari Lynx): Aside from the Title Screen music that doesn't sound like any of the themes that we all recognize, the rest of the game can be resumed as "404: MUSIC NOT FOUND". The game is abscent of music, only the "pew-pews" and item picking sounds are the only thing found on the sound department, trying to justify it with console limitations is absurd if we compare the Lynx with Nintendo's Game Boy (SolarStriker) or the Sega Game Gear (Aerial Assault), and also don't tell me there was a licensing issue with the music, because Atari Corp. and Telegames were able got the Raiden license from Seibu Kaihatsu and Fabtek, so that would be the same for the music. It's inconcievable and unacceptable a Raiden game without without ANY of the themes from the game. No "Gallantry", no "Rough and Tumble", no "Fighting Thunder", no "Go to Blazes", it's like "What happened with this game!?".

Raiden (Atari Jaguar): *Reads the tag "Searing CD quality soundtrack"* UNSUBSTANTIATED FANTASY!, LIES!! LIIIEEES!!! LIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEESSSSS!!!! That statement of CD Quality is one hell of a SICK LIE, because the game's music are just a bunch of MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) like chiptunes which sounds old, like a DOS or Windows 95 thing, not a CD quality where you can expect from arcade accurate to something closer to the FM Towns version, and MIDI tunes in a 64 bit console with capability of bringing a CD-like soundtrack that's pathetic. I don't know you, but what Atari deserved a denouncing (or a whole bunch of them) for False Advertising. The Atari Jaguar version also has the arcade unaccurate tracklist problem of the SNES Raiden Trad, but even worse. In Stage 2 plays "Rough and Tumble" instead of "Lightning War", there's an entirely new theme in Stage 3, "Fighting Thunder" plays in stage 4, and "Lightning War" plays in stage 5 instead of "Fighting Thunder". Like in the SNES version, "Fighting Thunder" has an extended opening. Also, when you defeat a boss, "Go to Blazes" stops only for play the stage theme again a few seconds before the "Intermission" (Stage Clear) theme plays. There's a new Game Over theme, and that's all what i can say about the music of the Atari Jaguar version.

Raiden (MS-DOS / CD Rom): Once again, this is one of those home conversions that uses a CD quality soundtrack, apparently CD-stuff was the novelty back then, but like i said on the FM Towns version, it goes out of the arcade accuracy. However, the PC version has some darn good rearrangements, specially "Rough and Tumble". Seems like this theme always gets the best treatment because in this version it has an extended introduction, kinda like what the Jaguar and the SNES versions did with Fighting Thunder. Speaking of Rough and Tumble, this song plays in Stage 2 instead of 3, another sign of "unaccurate playlist" like in the Jaguar and the SNES. As for the arrangement, the PC version aims to a more "Dance Club Mix" style that gives the original soundtrack a "dancing ambient" proper of the music style of the 90's, i love to call it "The Real Raiden McCoy" due to the reminiscence of The Real McCoy and songs like "Runaway" and "Another Night", as well as Maxx's "Getaway". You can have the option of play both the music and sound effects or only the music, and with such magnificent arrangement, you'll prefer to play the game with the "Music Only" option selected, all of this is about the CD Rom version. While in the DOS version, there's your traditional chiptune-like music rendered by the SoundBlaster sound processor of the MS-DOS computer, which sounds pretty decent, even better than the Genesis version or the crappy Jaguar version.

Raiden (Commodore Amiga AGA): Despite of dying in the middle of the road, there's not too much to say about the music in this version. There's only two songs in this game: Title screen, which sounds very similar to the Title Screen of Raiden Trad on SNES, and "Intermission" for the Level Clear. The rest is dead silence since "Gallantry" is abscent, AWOL (Abscent WithOut Leave), missing. You only have the sound effects to break the silence for a while, if you want to give this game a try, just put "Breaking The Silence" by Firewind and you're all set.

Raiden (TurboGrafx-16 / PC Engine): If the game makes a good work on the graphics, it's not the same on the sound department, the sound processor used on the TurboGrafx / PC Engine sounds like "somewhere between the NES and the Genesis", and in some of the tracks, the "chiptune notes" are off the way, example of this is in "Lightning War", while "Gallantry", "Rough and Tumble" and "Fighting Thunder" are well rendered. "Name Regist", the "Game Over and Ranking" theme is missing due to the lack of a name entry and a Game Over 'cos it skips to the countdown screen.

Super Raiden (PC Engine CD): On the music, Super Raiden is one of those titles which use the "CD Arrangement" thing, which is different from the PC CD Rom and FM Towns version. Apparently, Nec Avenue decided to do the opposite of what they did on Super Darius where they used the original arcade music and sound effects. In Super Raiden's case, the music arrangement aims to a more hard rocking kind of beat, this can be heard on the constant guitar riffs and additional (and original) guitar solo sections during most of the songs, like "Gallantry", "Rough and Tumble" and "Fighting Thunder". There's short introductions in all the themes using rising notes or drum rolls. The new extra stages have new upbeat "Raiden meets Thunder Force and U.N. Squadron" style of music (the trumpets and guitar riffs reminds me of that game) and new boss themes, giving an entirely new musical experience for a home conversion of Raiden, the only song that i think they failed was in "Lightning War", which sounds kinda unrecognizable, curiously, the stage clear theme "Intermission" is the same of the original PC Engine version instead of a CD arrangement. The sound effects are a combination of the original PC Engine and some Non-Raiden ones, like the Bomb explosion, which sounds more like the missile impacts from After Burner II, what was the problem on including at least the sound effects from the original arcade?, that would be well recieved.







RAIDEN / RAIDEN TRAD - OVERALL EVALUATION

IN GAMEPLAY

1ST: Raiden Densetsu / Raiden Trad on FM Towns Marty: The reason of why the FM Towns version of Raiden ranks first is because of it's accuracy to the original arcade, while the "start back after die" thing could be annoying, but is still enjoyable, and the inclusion of the "Competition" option and the "Player 1 can use 2P blue ship" feature gives additional fun factors to the game.

2ND: Raiden on Atari Jaguar: Two decisive factors helped Atari on earn the second place of the "Raiden Gameplay Evaluation"; the removal of the start back thing and the inclusion of the 2-player glowing orb thing, which was missing on the SNES.

3RD: Raiden Trad on Sega Genesis: Micronet and Sega aim on the third place due of the start back thing and lack of a two player mode.

4th: Raiden on MS-DOS/CD Rom: This version gets the not-so bad fourth place, mostly due to it's slightly reduced faithfullness to the original arcade despited some of the butchered things.

5th: Raiden Trad on Super Nintendo: The SNES version is in the fifth place to it's poorly developed gameplay and butchered things, the only thing that favors this port from the other two is the abscence of the start back problem, but to sum it up, the game had potential, really a lot of potential to be a near perfect port but Micronics, Electro Brain and Toei Animation dropped the ball miserably.

6th: Super Raiden on PC Engine CD: Although is virtually the same as it's TurboGrafx counterpart, the inclusion of 2 new and original Extra Stages help this version to reach the 6th place.

7th: Raiden on TurboGrafx: The very first console version of Raiden but the seventh in the Evaluation due to it's difficulty. The introduction of the R-Type-ish start back after die just kills the fun factor of Raiden, along with the faster bullets.

RANK OUT - NICE TRY: Raiden on Atari Lynx: If i had to decide which version of Raiden is the WORST of all is the Atari Lynx version which crashlands on the "Rank Out", as i said before, Raiden is way too much for an 8-bit console (even for a handheld one).

HONORABLE MENTION: Raiden on Commodore Amiga AGA: Despite of being a cancelled prototype, this obscure version of Raiden is still a piece of the Raiden history.




IN GRAPHICS

1ST: Raiden Densetsu / Raiden Trad on FM Towns Marty: Once again the FM Towns Marty version aims high on the 1st place due to it's incredible faithfulness to the arcade, even if we ignore the little off-screen issue that i've mentioned before.

2ND: Raiden Trad on Super Nintendo: The SNES version is the close second, where the game fails on gameplay, it compensates it on the graphics.

3RD: Raiden on Atari Jaguar: The "Jag" version lands on the third position even if it's not too arcade accurate.

4th: Raiden on MS-DOS / CD Rom: The MS-DOS and CD Rom port aims the fourth position as it holds similarities with the Jaguar version but in a slight toned down level.

5th: Super Raiden on PC Engine CD: Although is graphically identical to the TurboGrafx, the Extra Stages do the job and the difference.

6th: Raiden on the TurboGrafx-16: As the first of its kind on Home conversions, it's a well made job. Despite the darker tone of its palette, it's truly faithful to the arcade.

7th: Raiden Trad on Sega Genesis: The Genesis version earns the seventh position, the Genesis had a lot of potential on bringing Arcade-like quality (Super Hang-On, Out Run, Grind Stormer and Alien Soldier), but apparently Micronet worked on "Quantity over quality".

RANK OUT - NICE TRY: Raiden on Atari Lynx: The Atari Lynx is the Rank Out due to it's limitations.

HONORABLE MENTION: Raiden on the Commodore Amiga AGA: Again, the Commodore Amiga version gets the honorable mention.




IN SOUND

1ST: Raiden Densetsu / Raiden Trad on FM Towns Marty: The first place is obviously for the FM Towns due to its CD quality arrangement, which is perhaps the best of the CD Arranged versions of Raiden that you can find.

2ND: Raiden Trad on Super Nintendo: The SNES version gets the second place with its own arrangement which is the best part of this version, Rough and Tumble (AKA Fighting Thunder) is the best of the themes.

3RD: Raiden on the MS-DOS / CD Rom: The PC version aims on the third place in both home computer formats (CD Rom and MS-DOS), while the CD Rom aims high, the DOS sound card makes a very well recieved effort.

4th: Super Raiden on PC Engine CD: With a Hard rocking pace mimicking the style of U.N Squadron and Thunder Force, Super Raiden brings an alternate CD arrangement that's really worthy of listen for a while, specially Stage 9.

5th: Raiden Trad on Sega Genesis: The Genesis version aims the fifth place due to the limitations in the Genesis sound card.

6th: Raiden on Atari Jaguar: The Jaguar port gets the "sixth place" due to it's poor midi-like tunes and adding non-arcade original themes along with the false "CD quality soundtrack" advertising, achieveing the "Unsubstantiated Fantasy Award" for disappoint.

7th: Raiden on TurboGrafx-16: While graphically faithful for the "first try" of a home console port of Raiden, the music doesn't feel like 16-bit, but instead is on the "8-to-16 bit Transition Point".

RANK OUT - NICE TRY: Raiden on Atari Lynx: The Lynx port crashlands on the "Rank Out", due to the injustified lack of music (except for the Non-Raiden title screen theme).

HONORABLE MENTION: Raiden on the Commodore Amiga AGA: With only music on the title screen, it would be mean an unfair to give this unfinished and cancelled port a negative score.



TRIVIA

- While Raiden Densetsu means "Legend of Thunder and Lightning", it is unknown what does "Trad" means, some speculates that is an abreviation for "TRADition" or "TRADitional" due to the similarities between a Legend and a Tradition.

- Raiden constantly changes on the artwork of the game boxes. While the Genesis features a game-accurate design, the PC and Atari Jaguar features a blocky ship, and the TurboGrafx cover depicts it as a red F-14. Apparently someone at NEC saw the powered down form of Raiden and thought "Looks like an F-14, so put it in the artwork", you can call all this ships "Bad Box Art Raiden", but at least thinking of Raiden as a red Tomcat makes more sense (and is more character accurate) than Megaman holding a gun in both Megaman and Megaman II.

- The "Player 1 can use Player 2 ship" feature of the FM Towns Raiden Trad was included in the US version of Raiden IV on XBOX360 as "Solo 2P".

So that's some of the main ports of Raiden in a nutshell.
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