|Title||Raiden IV: Overkill|
|Genre||Vertical scrolling shooter|
|Age Rating||E 10+|
I’m going to put this out there first — I haven’t played any other games in the Raiden series before this one. I have no knowledge of the previous installments of the series, and so I apologize ahead of time if you don’t believe that I’ve done this game justice. With that being said: Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to my review of Raiden IV: Overkill! Raiden IV: Overkill is a remake of the original Raiden IV that was released back in 2008 in Japan, and in 2009 in North America for the Xbox 360. It wasn’t well-received in North America because of its steep price of $40. At this price, it was almost certain that this game would be bought mostly by hardcore fans of the shoot ’em up genre. Now, the game has been re-released for half the price, with a total of three fighters (Fighting Thunder ME-02 Kai, Fighting Thunder Mk-II, and Fairy) that all have special attacks of their own, and a new “Overkill” game mode. Now, let’s dive into this game, shall we?
In Overkill, you are given the option of playing one of four different game modes other than the Gallery that you use to view ships and replays, and the World Rankings Mode that rates you with the top players around the globe. These game modes include Overkill, Additional, Score Attack and Arcade. There’s also a secret mode that you have to unlock, but I’ll leave it to you to find out what it is. Each of these game modes is unique in its own way. In Arcade Mode, you fly around and shoot just as you would by playing this game in the arcade. In Score Attack Mode, you try to get the highest score possible. Additional Mode is a version of the Arcade Mode with two new stages. And finally, there’s Overkill Mode. This mode offers two missions to play through, and a brand new score system. It also offers a new “Overkill” feature. Basically, the more that you shoot an already destroyed ship, the more points that you get.
Along with these modes, there are four different play styles: Solo Player 1, Solo Player 2, Dual and Double. Both of the Solo game modes are your standard single player modes and dual is your standard co-op. What’s interesting about this is the Double Mode. In this mode, players can control both of the ships set to Player One and Player Two. I found this mode one of the more entertaining ones because I love being able to blow up twice as much as I was able to before. What’s better than destruction? Double the destruction!
The controls are simple: move left and right, fire and activate bombs. What makes Overkill different is the mechanics. Usually in these types of games, you get loot drops. One character will drop one or more items that you can use. In this game, however, your power-ups depend on the order in which you pick them up. This adds an extra level of difficulty to the game because you have to sit down and figure out what would work the best for the current situation. The same attacks won’t always work, so you need to strategize your way through the situation you are in.
In my personal opinion, the visuals look magnificent. It reminds me of playing on an old arcade machine. Sure, the visuals may not look up-to-date compared to some of the latest shmups, but they fit the game well. The visual effects are stunning, and the background is usually a bit darker so that it doesn’t draw attention away from the ships and bullets. This is the perfect combination for this type of game because it makes the game easier to concentrate on when you play. You aren’t focusing so much on the backgrounds as you are the enemies trying to kill you.
And what’s a good shooter without amazing music? The music in this game sounds beautiful and fits it perfectly. All of the songs for the game are upbeat and catchy, which is perfect for this very fast-paced game. It does its job of really getting the player pumped up to blow things up. Overkill really delivers in this category. A shmup without good music is like Link without an annoying fairy telling him what to do all the time; it just doesn’t work. There isn’t much to talk about with sound effects, though. The sound effects in this game are pretty much run-of-the-mill. The sound effects, though basic and simple, still give me the nostalgic feeling of putting a quarter in the arcade machines and playing games like this.
Altogether, Raiden IV: Overkill is amazing. From its gameplay to its sounds and visuals, this game really delivered in every aspect. It controls smooth and it’s very addictive. The difficulty isn’t too bad, either. For starters there eight different difficulty settings: Practice, Very Easy, Easy, Normal, Original, Hard, Very Hard and Ultimate. If you are new to shmups, then I wouldn’t recommend even Normal Mode. This game is very unforgiving and takes a bit of practice to get good at. But, even though I was new to the series, it only took me about eight hours to beat the entire game, so it’s not terribly long. Also, the boss battles weren’t too thrilling. As soon as you would find the spot on the screen where the boss couldn’t hit you, you were pretty much set. Even with these minor flaws, I still highly recommend Overkill to anyone who is up for a good challenge.
Game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.