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 Post subject: Gekirindan (Arcade - Saturn - PlayStation 2 Taito Legends 2)
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 8:36 am 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 332
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
After the letdown that was Deployment, here's a review of a good shmup from our buddies at Taito.

They don't call this robot "Huge Boss" for nothin' and you'll see why.

Taito isn't just R-Grays, Silver Hawks and mechanical fishes. It is also the developer of a homage to the defunct Toaplan era.
I'm talking the Time travel arcade shooter Gekirindan, which also was released on the Sega Saturn and later on the PlayStation 2 as part of Taito Legends 2.

Isn't that nice when a shooter gives you some nice-looking girls in your team?

You and a friend can pick one of the three different types, also they can use the same ship with a different color scheme and pilot, but with the same weaponry.

Type-A: Piloted by Hokuto Higara (Player 1) and Grother Fedel (Player 2), this is the Truxton-like ship that uses a Spread Shot that splashes upon impact. Picking the "C" item will change the Spread fire with lightning bolts that lock on nearby enemies like in Truxton. It's bomb is also Truxton-inspired since it releases a skull-shaped explosion.
Type-B: Piloted by Anne Kutos (Player 1) and Shario Vissen (Player 2), this ship resembles the Type-B Helicopter from DonPachi, but i'm sure is more of a reference to Twin Cobra. It uses a full-frontal shot supported by small ships on the sides. Picking the "C" item will detach the ships acting as the Options from Gradius. Its bomb is a pink energy blast.
Type-C: Piloted by Dietza Savis (Player 1) and the sisters Orsa and Mayoru (Player 2), this ship looks a lot like the plane from Fire Shark, it uses a spread shot that can be changed for a fast swirling volley of fireballs. Its bomb is a big fiery explosion.

Take off, protect a space colony, go back in time more often than Marty McFly. Good ol' times.

This game is a vertical scroll shooter which resembles the basic Raiden-like stuff, since it shares similarities with it in the weapon changing feature (Change Arm as the game calls it). By picking the "C" item, your default weapon will be changed for a different one which could be useful or not depending on which ship you're using. This Raiden-esque feature can also be compared with the weapon change from OutZone, where a multidirectional laser was swapped with a fixed 3 way. You're also given the option of picking either Homing Lasers or Napalm Bombs. My strategy and suggestion is to pick the Homing Lasers since they're more effective on taking down the enemies, because the Napalm fires on the sides, breaking with the concept of the full frontal standard missile, resulting in a weapon that requires mastery in order to exploit its potential.
Your bombs are not just the special attack, they're also the key player in the after-stage bonus, combined with the eagle emblem bonus items they give you a quite good amount of points. Keep in mind, to get the bonus you have to survive the stage without losing a single life, it's not a mammoth task in most of the stages, as long as you've got a good amount of bombs and a maxed out power level, you'll be fine, just remember to use the bomb only when its necessary.

Speaking of scoring, the game allows you to enter your initials before the continue countdown. This is very helpful since there's nothing more frustrating than losing your score after continuing.

As part of Taito Legends 2 on the PlayStation 2, you have a big advantage over the Sega Saturn version: There's no loading times before picking your character, between levels or even before the boss fight, giving us an arcade perfect port of the game (Too bad we can't say the same of the Taito Legends 2 ports of G-Darius and RayStorm).

High-Tech naval warfare from the year 3195, now in 1999!

When it comes to graphics, Taito always excels in that section. Specially since the game uses CGI-like animations during the opening sequence. We've already saw their first steps in Darius Gaiden: Silver Hawk (Golden Ogre/Storm Causer), but in this game they took a longer leap. The 3D revolution led by Sega's G-LOC Air Battle and Aicom's Pulstar was really at its highest point back then, and obviously Taito wasn't gonna be staying behind. If Seibu Kaihatsu did the same with Raiden II, ┬┐why not Taito?. Along with the CGI cutscenes, they've put in practice what they've learned in Grid Seeker: Project Storm Hammer by using and improving the 3D "walls" that move as you move your ship across the screen, also they've utilized the sprite scaling for a more "deep into the screen" effect, something they've learned before in RayForce / Gunlock.
Although it uses the science-fiction theme, this game relies on the concept of Time Travel as the game sends you from 3195 to 1942, 1999, 2373 and finally to 4580.

While the console ports are virtually the same, the only difference between the Saturn and the Arcade/PS2 port is a minimal detail on the graphics which can be found on the remaining lives "ship icons" which are slightly different, and the name entry when you've finished the game or you're killed as the initials are of the same size and font as the score indicators unlike the arcade big letters.

This is what you call a "DEATH BOMB"!

Like in Truxton, your sub weapons and bombs have skull shaped explosions, at least on the Type-A Ship. So, if your enemies are causing trouble, give them hell and death with a Heavy Metal explosion.

In 3195, a "TP" mark means one thing: All your carriers are belong to Toaplan.

For a Toaplan fan, this game has references to the company on basically everywhere, 1942 resembles Fire Shark, 1999 is basically a nod to Twin Cobra, and the last stages are reminiscent of OutZone.
Even the carrier that appears at the beginning of the game has a TP (ToaPlan) written on it. I think this could be a good moment to call this game Truxton III.

Apparently, the UN Spacy left one of their Valkyries in the hangar.

In a hidden homage to the anime, there's a VF-1 Valkyrie in the launch pad at the bottom right of the screen where Player 2 is launched.

The sound department is unique in this game, because the soundtrack uses arrangements of the 1st stage theme. You'll hear how the upbeat-to-calmed rhythm suddenly turns into a solemn melody in the 1942 World War II-themed stage 2, and once again changes into a fast paced, dance like beat in stage 3, fitting in the 1999's scenario. That's what you can call an exercise of creativity because despite using the same theme, it manages to feel like an entirely different song rather than a remix.
The PS2's Taito Legends 2 port is also better than the Saturn port since the music doesn't restart when the boss appears.

- Gekirindan was created by some Ex-members of Toaplan at Taito after the former company declared bankruptcy in 1994.
- The name "Gekirindan" means "Reverse Scale Bullet".
- While the main antagonist is known as Huge Boss, in Japan is called Giandigus.
- The "Time Tunnel" of the Stage clear screen was reused from Darius Gaiden: Silver Hawk (Neon Night Illusion's fight for example).
- Orsa and Mayoru's name comes from Ursa Major (Great Bear) a constellation commonly known as the Big Dipper.

- Anne Kutos is reminiscent of Anne Shirley, a popular literary character in Japan.
- Shario Vissen looks very similar to Ami Mizuno (Sailor Mercury) from Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon, just like Starna Oval (A.K.A. Zana Keene / Anna Schwinn) from Arrow Flash (specially in the japanese artwork and the ending)
- Dietza Savis looks like Elvis Presley, and he's also a rocker from the 1950's.

Gekirindan is basically Taito's tribute to Toaplan. There's too many references to the company at the point of making you think this game should be called Tatsujin Gekirindan / Truxton III.
If you have a Sega Saturn or a PlayStation 2 with Taito Legends 2, then give this game a try.
Fan of Transformers, Shmups and Anime-styled Girls. You're teamed up with the right pilot!
Bringing you shmup reviews with humorous criticism.

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