Man, talk about your old school inspired shooters! Ikaruga, from Atari and for the Nintendo GameCube, is one of the coolest side-scrolling shooters to date on any of the three platforms. Placing gamers inside a spaceship up against waves of enemy fighters and mother ships, players can use several different cannons and missiles to take down the enemy swarm. Strap in, and get ready to ride!
Originally developed for the arcade and the now ill-fated Sega DreamCast console,…Ikaruga is one fancy looking side-scrolling space shooter. Using detailed 2-D objects on top of 3-D backgrounds, the effect with the title is a seamless, integrated experience like those seen on arcade machines.
Since this is a space-themed shooter, the graphics and vehicles all have a sci-fi look and feel to them. There are some unique looking bosses and enemy fighters to be seen in Ikaruga, and players will undoubtedly find the vehicle models really detailed. One of the coolest features with the game is the ability to switch the monitor–how the game is displayed on your tv–from a vertical viewpoint, to a horizontal view. This adds a nice touch and option to switch things up a little.
Just like with any arcade machine, players can expect just standard stereo sound to greet them with Ikaruga. Music is of the orchestra-inspired fare, and it is sweeping and atmospheric. At the very least, it adds tons of great background music to keep pace with the hurried nature of the shooting going on.
The story behind Ikaruga is that of a young lad named Shinra. Shinra belonged to a group of freedom fighters known as the Tenkaku. After a fierce battle with the enemy fighters of the clan known as the Horai, Shinra was the only one left, and know with his fighter the Ikaruga he is sworn to exact revenge on the Horai.
Game mechanics for Ikaruga are just what you might expect from a side- scrolling shooter. Using the thumb stick to maneuver your spaceship between the copious amounts of fighters, missiles, and bombs, while you fire back with your own on-board arsenal.
Players will see up to 18 different levels and several mini-boss and bosses stages per level. To combat the big time baddies, gamers can use a two types of attacks based on polarity–color of your return fire–and chain attacks. When one gets right down to it though, Ikaruga is all about the dodge-and-weave and the mashing of the fire button.
Players can invite one other player over for some side-by-side action on the screen. In addition to the multiplayer, Ikaruga offers up a play option known as Bullet Eater. In Bullet Eater mode, a player must endeavor to navigate a whole level without firing ONE shot. Indeed, it is a challenging play mode.
Yet, that’s what an arcade style shooter is all about. The challenge to see how far you can get on one quarter, or in this case, how far you can get in one sitting. Anyone who is a fan of the arcade style space shooters of old should visit Ikaruga at least once this summer.