Ikaruga

Ikaruga
Developer: Treasure
Publisher: Atari
Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1-2
Words By:

"Battle fiercely, move swiftly and act rationally in a new crusade...
a war of frighteningly intense firepower and hypnotic beauty.

Experience battle in 18 different stages - Select a display: vertical or horizontal letterbox or full screen - Execute the Bullet Eater technique and other advanced strategies - Post high scores on the Ikaruga website - Mount cooperative attacks in two-player mode"

This is a shmup certainly not for shmups (pun horribly intended), and if you don't know what shmup stands for, then woe betide your sadly unknowledgeable gamer's mind. Shmup stands for 2D shoot-em-up, and Ikaruga is probably the best you're going to get on the Gamecube.

   

This game is the sequel to the famous Sega Saturn game that goes for $150 on Ebay, yes, Radiant Silvergun. It's also probably one of the hardest and craziest I've ever seen, while the game can be completed in under an hour, if you want to manage it on a single credit it will take you weeks of practice. Put simply, Ikaruga is a game you play for score, not for fun, and there are some pretty impressive scores capable if you play it well. Currently (at least until the end of July), the official Ikaruga site is running a high score competition, play the game on Challenge mode and when you either complete the game or die, you'll get a code. Input this code onto the high score table on the website and you might get up on the high-score table. Or not, seeing as how the lowest score on the top 100 of the world is 11.3 Million.

Ikaruga's main theme is not all black and white, or rather it is, because all enemies in the game have a polarity of black or white, and your ship is able to switch between these. When white, you cause double damage to black enemies, while being immune to white bullets, and vice versa. Being hit by black bullets when black means that you "bullet eat" and your Homing Lasers charge, allowing you to release them at any time in a devastating attack. Another, very important aspect, is the idea of chains. Destroy three black enemies in a row, and you'll have a bonus score, destroy another three black enemies and you'll increase your score because of previous chains. Keep chaining the enemies and your score will sky rocket, though this is easier said than done, true masters can chain the entire game while mere novices like me can hardly chain more than a group or two of enemies. The more enemies you kill, the more enemies you get, seems bad? Not so, because these bonus enemies can seriously raise your score if you're in the middle of a massive chain, and they can be key to getting onto that high-score table.

   

Graphics are one of the games real strong points as well, while you'd just expect it to a little bland with just black and white, the actual enemy design is very detailed and takes full advantage of the Gamecube's graphical power. But where the graphics are really shown off is in the bosses - These combine both black and white, and they're incredibly well designed. For example, the first boss is a giant robot with a sword and shield, the sword is white, the shield is black and the boss itself is white. The massive streams of bullets covering the entire screen cause no kind of slowdown whatsoever, even though it seems like the graphics are really being pushed, it always stays at smooth and perfect 60Hz.

Ikaruga is an essential purchase if you like games of this type, but if you're not a fan of the genre then just don't bother. The same applies if you're just a casual gamer, this a is very hardcore game, plenty of late nights can be spent on JUST trying to get to the next stage, or beat your latest high score. It can be a pretty hard game to start playing too, but it can easily suck you in.

Credit to my friend Adam, for letting me play Ikaruga 'round his house XD


Good Points

- Best 2D shooter on the Gamecube.
- Great fun.
- Brilliant Graphics.

Bad Points

- Not for casual gamers.
- Hard to stop playing.
- Can be frustrating at times.


by: RyuKishi