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 Post subject: Raiden II (Arcade)
PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 5:50 am 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
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Location: Autobot City
1993, Seibu Kaihatsu (and licensees such as Fabtek, Metrotainment and Tuning) bring a new chapter on the Fighting Thunder's history, Raiden II. Now what can we say about Raiden II?, like its predecessor it was a "Classic" on the making, and on the best part it succeeded.

The gameplay may look the same as the first game in the main weapons (Red = Vulcan, Blue = Laser), but that's just the beginning, because there's a new third weapon in the Raiden's arsenal: the Proton Laser (Purple), this weapon is the "Homing Laser" type of weapon, but to unleash this whip you have to keep shooting the lasers until they merge into this whip. Curiously the "non-merged" lasers are much effective than the whip itself, but not as strong as the blue laser. If you can use the non merged laser's "weakest" form (thickest beams), you can get a lot of points (around of 100,000) in stage 1, to achieve this, you have to practice and use the "Proton Laser - Homing Missile" combination. Along with the new Laser, a second Bomb appears, the "Impact Missile", marked as a yellow "B", this bomb shoots missiles in all directions, this can be considered as the "Defensive" type of bomb, since is weaker than the Nuclear Bomb (Red). This new bomb also plays a new factor on the bonus points for having 7 bombs, If you have 7 bombs but all of a different type (example: Red-Red-Yellow-Red-Yellow-Yellow-Red), you'll get 5,000 points like normal, but if you have 7 of the same bombs in a row, the bonus will be 10 times bigger, that's right, 50,000 points for having either 7 Reds or 7 Yellows. The Medal system was also improved, the normal medal is now the "Small Medal" which gives you 500 points, while the new "Large Medal" gives you 3,000 points. The boss battles are even better, most of the bosses have more "vulnerable parts", instances of that are the bosses from Stages 3 and 4, destroying the cannons and any other part of the boss before hitting its main weakpoint adds more challenge along with the extra points (depending on which weapon you're using), in Stage 4, you can decide to wait and attack until the whole boss appears, because one of the "platforms" can give you bonus medals. How?, as the "platform" shoots its lightning bolts, it will make a stone pilar to emerge, making it destroyable for the player and giving a medal. Same for the "Main" part of the boss, to do this it requires practice and bullet pattern memorization, along with patience. Like in the first game, once you complete all the 8 stages, the game will repeat in an endless loop until the player is finally defeated. So how many loops you can stand? it's all up to you.

Now let's talk about the graphics. The first thing we will notice is the Attract Mode, which now features a short opening with the ship taking off, but it wasn't a 2D sprite, it was a 3D-like digitized model, something very ahead for the time, since we are talking about 1993, a year where 3D ships were simple detailed polygons which can only be seen on PC games, not a well detailed and animated model, something that was later perfected by Aicom in 1995 with Pulstar, so in 3D CG-like models in shmups we can say "Before Pulstar, there was Raiden II". But the 3D thing wasn't the only new feature in this game, the 2D included some new visual effects like the flexibility of the Proton Laser, enemies leaving debris when they are destroyed or crash, yeah, i said crash. The airborne enemies not just explode in mid-air all the time like in the first Raiden, most of the times, they explode, fall to the ground and blow in small pieces that also hit the ground, leaving an impact zone. But if they impact a building or a tree, they'll "leave a mark" of their crash (burning trees, damages on buildings), your bombs can also damage the buildings and trees, this damages also counts when the stage 1 bosses (the Walkers) crushes something on their path. In stage 4 there's a nice visual effect of the sun and the clouds reflected on the water, stage 5 has see-through clouds and engine smoke on the Shuttle boss. The asteroids in stages 6 and 7 are no longer simple sprites, now they're 3D-like rotating asteroids of green crystals and stones, a perfect testimony of where was the future of graphics in gaming: on the three dimensional visuals. Pretty awesome in my opinion.

The sound took a turn for the better with a new sound card. With the inclusion of better "Drums", keyboards and new beats, Raiden II give us a new atmosphere for the game. While the first Raiden had an "fast" pace, Raiden II aims for a quiet-over-agressive rhythm, an example of this is "Repeated Tragedy" (Stage 1) which is more slow-paced than "Gallantry", however it still fits on the "prelude to a conflict" atmosphere that envolves the game. But don't be fooled, there was place for the intense paced moments, "Burnt Field" (Stage 4), is the perfect example of the intensity in the middle of the action, as if you're being witness of the ultimate air showdown where only one will emerge victorious.

- Did you know that the heavy encryption of this game was considered by fans as one of the main reasons of why this game (and Raiden DX) wasn't part of Raiden Legacy?

- "Repeated Tragedy", "Tragedy Flame", "Flap toward the hope" and "Metal storm" were arranged in Raiden IV.

- "All or nothing" and "Depression" were used on the XBOX360 version of Raiden IV on the extra levels in "XBOX 360 Mode".

- There is an "Official Licensed Bootleg" (of sorts) of Raiden II (called Raiden II NEW) and Raiden DX released in 1996. Both "Re-Releases" replace the original soundtrack with horrible quality loops. In Raiden II NEW's case, the changes are even worse at the point of removing the introduction, and swapping stages 1 and 5.

- Raiden II was ported on the PC and the PlayStation (as part of The Raiden Project), however the PS version was a direct port of the PC version, probably because of the inavailability of the original arcade due to Seibu's encryption.

If there's something better than a good Raiden game, is another (and better) Raiden game, a must play for old and new gamers. 10/10
Ready to Shmuppin' again... No Guts No Glory!
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