- Publisher: Sony
- Developer: Seibu Keihatsu
- Release: PlayStation, 9 September 1995
- Genre: 2D Action (Shoot-em-up)
- Players: 1-2
- Save: Memory Card, 1 Block
- Rarity/Cost: Moderate / US$15-25
Say, have you guys heard about that new video game Metal Gear Rising: Revengance? I've heard a number of conflicting opinions on this title, but nearly everyone's been praising its innovations in the area of sword combat. This review... is not about that. But its protagonist shares his name with Raiden, the lightning-powered monk from the Mortal Kombat franchise. This review... is not about Mortal Kombat either. But I am leading up to a series of shoot-em-ups called Raiden and boy was that a convoluted intro.
So anyway, the Raiden I'm talking about began with an eponymous arcade game, launched in 1990 by the little-known development team Seibu Keihatsu. It was followed up in 1993 by Raiden II, and it was those two games that were featured on a compilation called The Raiden Project, itself one of the first titles released for the Sony PlayStation in 1995. Neither game has much in the way of plot; both star two fighter jets facing off against a random army of... wait for it...
|A new use for this meme! ^_^|
|Certain enemy types yield power-ups. (Raiden shown.)|
Raiden II adds a new weapon type, a lightning whip (violet) which homes in on targets and can even connect to multiple targets at once. It rocks against regular enemies, so much so that it feels like a game-breaker, but it's not that strong, so it'll take longer to bring down bosses with it. On the other hand, the other two weapon types fire faster as you move closer to your target (it's one of those shooters, where there's a limit on the number of bullets it can show on screen), so more shots equals more damage. In addition, you can find missiles (yellow) and homing missiles (green), which automatically fire with your main weapon, and bombs which are triggered separately. Unlike bullets, bombs can also block enemy shots, so use them strategically. Raiden II also adds cluster bombs to your arsenal, but in practice they work the same as the regular kind.
|The lightning weapon in action. (Raiden II shown.)|
Both Raiden games are good enough on their own, but together as part of The Raiden Project, they become something more. The controls can be freely mapped among the face buttons, L1, and R1 buttons, including an auto-fire function, which I for one will go out to say is a life-saver -- or at least a finger-saver -- and given that, the only complaint I have about the controls is that since this game pre-dates the DualShock controller, you can't use the analog sticks, and must thus rely on light taps of the directonal buttons for precise maneuvering. But far be it from me to dock a game based on technology that wasn't around at the time! You can also set the difficulty and credit limit, which tops out at nine continues. Between that limitation and the overall difficulty, I still have yet to actually finish either game even on the easiest settings. But fortunately... there is an infinite continues cheat! You want it? It's yours, my friend: Go to the Credit Limit setting in options, and press X, Circle, Square, and Triangle together Keep trying until the setting reads "Free Play". Okay, that just bumped up the rating a notch. ^_^
In all seriousness, having two well-polished shoot-em-ups for one purchase price is a fantastic deal, and one no flight-shooter fanatic should be without. Would I recommend it for everyone else? ...Maybe not; because of the difficulty associated with this particular genre, it's more of an acquired taste for the 99% of gamers who don't find the fun in navigating intricate bullet patterns. But what better way to acquire that taste than to give The Raiden Project a spin?
+ Two fine games in one package.
+ Polished 2D graphics with a few neat effects.
+ Extras such as alternate music and auto-fire buttons.
- Losing all your power-ups whe you get hit.
- Not all the changes from one game are applied to the other.
Control: 5 aliens out of 5
Design: 4 aliens out of 5
Graphics: 4 aliens out of 5
Audio: 4 aliens out of 5
The Call: 90% (A-)