"I don't like scoring stuff, and you should'n't take it too seriously and compare."Publisher:
The rare game of Ikaruga that nobody knows about...and a great one at that. I've wanted Ikargua for a very long time, and I just recently got my hands on a copy, thanks to eBay, and I am not dissapointed. Ikaruga is amazing in every aspect; nice graphics, simple gameplay, too difficult, and just plain jawesome.
If you are like the many people who have no idea what Ikaruga is, then don't worry. I am about to tell you everything about the game. For starters, it's a classic, spaceship shooter, like all those arcade games. For instance, it's like the recently released Nanostray, and other classics like Raiden and so forth.
Simple enough....for now...
You have your score at the top. Not sure what that meter is, but it is either your enemies' health, or how much constant damage you are doing.
The "chain status" meter below that is for your combos. More on that later.
And that meter running vertically on the left is your special attack, which you fill up by absorbing bullets
The graphics are very nice. They are sharp and vibrant and clear. They aren't the best of the best, but the suit their purpose and nobody should have any problems with them.
Also, all the ships and backgrounds are in stunning 3-d. You don't actually move in 3-d, but when you change from stage to stage it goes through a little 3-d manevouring which is cool.
There are a ton of different and cool enemies and bosses. I mean, these guys are tight, and there are really a load of unique ships and obstacles and all kinds of stuff. They range in size and shape and everything. I'll get into it a bit more further on as I talk about the gameplay.
Just one of the first sticky situation you will find yourself in. So much going on....
The major unique thing about Ikaruga, is the dual polarities. This is what makes the game so challenging and strategic. There are two different polarities, and light and a dark one. You can change your ship's polarity at any time by pressing the "A" button, or whichever you change it to, since the controls are customizable. You see, you absorb like polarities.
Your enemies shoot two different polarity missles. Dark and light, obviously, so if you ship is a light ship, and an enemy shoots a light missle at you, you absorb it. When you collect 10 missles, you can one power shot, however it is best to save these up. So you can keep absorbing and gaining these power shots, which you can use at anytime. Basically, they are just seeking missles that are pretty sweet. And don't get me wrong, there are tons of different projectiles your enemies will send your way, it's just that there are two types, polarity wise.
Both polarites. Even the enemies have them. Wait, what's that??? Co-op?!?!?!
That's your power missiles that you got for absorbing all of that energy. Pretty powerful stuff. Oh, yeah, and that's a huggggggeeeee boss. Have fun.
And so if you get hit by an unlike polarity, say you are light and get hit by a dark missle, you explode and lose. Yeah, it's a one hit deal so be careful. However, as your default, you have 3 lives and 3 continues.
That's not all though, no no no. Aside from absorbing like projectiles or getting killed, your shots also change polarity with your ship. And the enemies each have a certain polarity, light or dark, and the opposite of theirs is their weakness. So if it is a dark enemy, then hit them with some light missles to do twice the damage. However you have to be careful doing so, since you will be light and they will be shooting dark missles at you....
Another dynamic of the game is the combo system. You can rake in the points by destorying three similar polarity ships in a row, and then doing it again and again to multiply the bonus. So this goes into the strategy to try and destroy three light ships or three dark ships in a row. However you can switch from three light to three dark, you don't have to shoot three light, three light, three light, and so forth.
Sadly, there are only five chapters, but it wont be easy beating the game by any means. Each chapter is split up into a number of short sections, of which you play straight through, with a boss at the end. So it doesnt' feel like it is split up, however you can play a certain section in another mode. The first section is cool, since you play a little bit, as an "introduction" to the chapter, and then the chapter screen will come up, saying "Chapter 1". It's just a nice little touch.
The chapter screen, which is nicely integrated into the gameplay.
But like I was saying, this is no easy game. I'm serious, it's very, very, very difficult. You have to play and play and play and refine your skills, it's ridiculous. You have light and dark missles flying everywhere, with streams coming from machines and its just an all out blitz of projectiles flying at you. It's crazy, so you gotta be sharp; changing polarites here and there to avoid sure destruction. You definitely have to just play and play this game and get better and better if you want a shot at beating it. It's insanely difficult.
Yeah...that's a lot of stuff. But this part isn't hard, it's all light missiles. Just go to your light polarity and absorb it all.
You just really have to think at moments like these. "What polarity am I? What color missiles do I need to dodge? What polarity should I change to? Awwwwwwwww"
One of the many obstacles and enemies. This baby will just keep moving up and down. As you can see at the top, there is even a stream of dark shots raining down...tricky, tricky, tricky.
But it's awesome at the same time. Especially if you are to get really good at it. Like, if you see videos of the game, it's amazing. The players just flow through the game; it's incredible. Because you will have these streams of missiles just coming from everywhere, and to avoid it all...you just have to see it and play it yourself.
There are three modes of difficulty, of which all are hard. I don't think they actually change how many enemies there are, but they just change one aspect. With easy mode, you just kill ships, no worries. However, with the normal difficulty, if you are at light polarity, and destroy a light ship, it will fire a lot of missiles at you when you destroy it. So, you can't just change into dark polarity right away. It's just one more thing to worry about. However, this will allow you to absorb a ton of these projectiles to use as your power weapon...And with hard difficulty, every ship fires back at you when you destroy it, no matter what polarity you have, so you know that will be CRAZY. I can't imagine playing that, or even beating the first chapter. Easy is difficult enough...I don't need ships shooting back at me when they die...
The modes are really nice. I mean, you are always playing the same levels, but they are cool enough anyways, so you won't mind. Basically, the other modes, aside from the main mission, is to just get you to replay the chapters so you can get better and better at them.
For instance, one mode allows you to go at half the speed as regular play, so you can learn which enemies come from where and you can get better at where you should be on-screen and when to change polarities and things like that.
Another awesome feature is that you can actually watch a demo of a pro playing a section. Any section you choose. So that is pretty sweet to just watch, and to give you hints and strategies on what to do.
However, you can only play chapters and sections once you have beaten them in the main mode, without using a continue. Yes, it's not enough that you make it to a chapter, but you have to do so without continuing...Have fun.
Random pic time. You see...you have rotating beams of energy coming from everywhere, not to mention enemy fire...
There is also a mode where you try to get a high score, although you already get scored on all the other modes, but, this one is for internet rankings. Yes, you can get a high score, get a password, and go online and submit it to see how you stack up against players around the world. This is always a sweet feature...or bad one, because you will see how truly bad you are , or hopefully how truly pwnsome you are.
But like I said, the game keeps your scores and you can get high scores on the game itself, non-online. So that's always fun and a challenge to beat your best scores and see if your buddies can. After each chapter, you also get a ranking; A, B, C, etc. I always get C.... It's cool though...they even have +'s and probably -'s to greater appropriate your ranking.
Another thing you can do with your buddies is just play the game. That's right, there is two player co-op. Always, always a good feature. So you can lose and become frustrated with a friend, but in a good way.
Woo-hoo, co-op ba-by.
Random Pic #2. Uh-oh, the boss is a comin'. Good luck; you'll need it...trust me.
Another cool feature is that you can change the view. You can alter the size of the gameplay, and even the direction. You can change it from vertical, when you are "flying" upwards, to horizontal, when you are going right. I prefer vertical, since it is what all the arcades and regular games do, but it's a very nice option to have.
There is even a little tutorial to teach you the basics of gameplay. However it is just a video, and you cannot do anything. I wish it would let you practice once it shows you something. I like have some interactivity with my tutorials. Oh well, it's still a really good one and simple to understand. I mean, the gameplay mechanics and controls are simple. It's just a very difficult game. Very challenging.
There are also some extras you can unlock through the game, whether it be by completing the game, or playing for a certain amount of time; 5, 10, 15, and 20 hours. I don't know exactly what these unlockables are, but I am sure that one of them is Prototype mode.
This mode allows you to play the game in it's prototype, what the creators were thinking about doing. I think the game is the same, levels wise, however you have a limited amount of ammo. So you start out with a few hundred rounds, but can absorb more from the enemies. Yes, another challenge.
There is also another "mode". It's not an official mode, but I think you get major bonus points if completed. It is called Bullet Eater and is very "simple". All you have to do is NOT shoot. Yes, you can complete the entire game without shooting. So you just change polarities and avoid being killed...And with the bosses, you have a time limit to kill them in. If you destroy them within the time limit, you get a bonus depending on how much time was left. However, you don't have to beat the boss to complete the chapter; you will just lose out on all those points.
Well there you have it. Ikaruga. An amazing game that is so difficult, it will have you coming back for more and more to try and complete it. That's the cool thing. You play it the first couple of times, and you suck. But then you play it more and more, and beat the bosses faster and faster, and you truly get a sense of progression, and feeling that you ARE getting better. It's a good feeling.
So yes, if you are ever in the presence of the game, and have the oppurtunity to buy it, I would do so. It's a really fun game, with loads of challenge. It's also pretty rare these days, so if you are lucky enough to see one, just go for it. 8.4/
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